Sean Miliken of "My 600-lb Life" may not seem like a weight loss hero at over 500 pounds. But you can't judge weight loss by the remaining obesity. You have to look at where folks started and Sean at 26 weighed nearly one half-ton. Dr. Younan Nowzaradan couldn't accurately weight Sean because he was so big, but the bariatric surgeon estimated that he weighed 1,000 pounds. How did Miliken get so big you ask? The answer he gave is one of the most heart-breaking stories ever on the sad TLC series. But a question with a happier answer is--how did Miliken lose nearly half his body weight?

Dangerous people and food relationships

Weight gain was all about dangerous relationships in Sean's story. An angry, emotionally abusive father, an enabling, too-giving caregiver mom and food. Miliken learned to interact inappropriately with all of them. When dad would yell at Sean, he would feel bad. Lacking adequate coping skills, mom Renee would comfort him with junk food. Renee herself admits to eating disorders in the form of food addiction. Yes, obesity is an eating disorder as much as anorexia or bulimia.

Growing up scared and finding comfort in eating

By 10, Sean's weight was 150 pounds and in high school, he ballooned to 400 pounds. Food was not only a reward but a friend and that food relationship grew into a toxic food addiction.

There's nothing wrong with enjoying eating. As society has moved past survival eating, people find joy, peace and bonding in food. Shared family meals become special occasions to treasure. All nourishment is comfort food in that it elevates blood sugar, releases good mood endorphins, neutralizes anxiety and quells hunger pains.

The problem is when people like Sean make eating their world.

Sean Miliken teaches good lessons on rewards

Miliken did the weight loss homework necessary to have gastric bypass surgery, even though he was terrified of going to Houston. He was afraid he would fall and no one would be able to pick him up.

So he learned to pick himself up. Sean hadn't moved from his bed after a fall in high school, for eight years. But a death sentence from doctors motivated him. So do his new non-food rewards. Renee and Sean have made a list of things he'll earn as he hits weight loss goals. Sean looks forward to these treats which are so much healthier for him than the junk food that was his friend. Some comments on "Sean's Story" call him childish and maybe he is. He's never out-lived the hurt from daddy issues. But regardless, you can learn a lot of common sense from a kid.

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