There are a lot of misunderstandings about obesity and viewers are fortunate that the obese people on TLC "My 600-lb Life" are willing to share their weight loss journeys. Some patients like Henry Foots, Melissa Morris, Ashley, Ashley D. and Olivia Cruz were able to shed massive weight. Others, like Penny, transgender Chay (Lola) and Pauline, have not, even after bariatric surgeon Dr. Nowzaradan performed gastric bypass. "Pauline's story" shows how self-pity, wrongly treated pain and lack of exercise derail weight loss. But there's hope that all these stories can end with success if folks will change some basic habits and listen to the good doctor. 

The girl in the iron chair

Pauline began her weight loss journey at 678 pounds.

Months after gastric bypass surgery, Pauline had only managed to lose a little over 100 pounds. Her diet was part of the problem but not the biggest--that was Pauline's immobility. Her wheelchair had become so much a part of herself that giving it up was like giving up an arm. Like Dumas's "Man in the Iron Mask" Pauline felt unable to face life without her chair, even though she professed to hate that her son Dillon had to do everything for her (like push around her nearly 600 pounds). Then there were the painkillers

Knowing what's pain and what's healing

Dr. Nowzaradan reminded Pauline that she was fully capable of walking alone and that if she didn't she wouldn't lose weight. She made tons of excuses, the bulk of which dealt with pain she felt. What Pauline wasn't grasping was that obesity causes pain by the added strain.

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And the only way to make it stop hurting when you move is to move. Pauline chose to go against Dr. Now's advice and beg for painkillers.  

Pain meds cause pain and infection

When Pauline began abusing prescription painkillers she found out what real pain was. The 500-lb woman gave herself a nasty bleeding stomach ulcer from overuse of pain meds. She ended up in the hospital with an infection which almost killed her. Dr. Now refused her more drugs and she was forced to face her substance abuse problems. Breaking the drug addiction was one thing but there was still the wheelchair addiction. 

Pauline finds a solution

Many people confuse won't and can't, especially on this anti-obesity show. They tell docs that they can't exercise because it hurts. They talk about hurting all the time. What they don't realize is that many people are in pain every day and they aren't grossly overweight nor do they take pain meds. Pain is to some extent part of life. But Pauline was sure she couldn't do what Doc Now asked, even the physical therapy. Until she found aquatherapy--that is. It was so touching to see her pretty face happily swimming in the pool, as she discovered that here at last was exercise she could do. So the audience learns from "My 600-lb Life" fails and successes.