You might find the TLCreality show "My 600-lb Life" absolutely appalling. The stories behind the morbidly obese patients are shocking, to be sure. But thanks to bariatric surgery, these folks have hope. And there's more positive in the lessons learned about weight loss, diet and health. Take the formerly 792-lb Joe Wexler, for example. His exciting 420-lb weight loss teaches how delusional eating and denial feed obesity. It also proves that reversing the stinkin' thinking of food addiction transforms lives.

What Joe Wexler said he ate

Joe Wexler was completely mystified by his obesity.

The Tennessee man had no idea how he had come to weigh nearly 800 pounds at only 31 years of age. Wexler knew he liked to eat and that comfort food had been his best friend since his parents' divorce. Joe had been allowed to eat pretty much whatever he wanted since he was a kid. But he also believed that he made healthy food choices. Joe says he ate vegetables and salads and only two meals a day plus snacks.With such good eating habits, there was just no way he could be so morbidly obese.

What bariatric surgeon said Joe ate

Clearly with this supposedly healthy diet, there was a problem. Then Dr. Nowzaradan looked a little closer at Joe's eating habits and found, as he always does,horrifying self-delusion and denial.

Wexler was eating some 10,000 calories a day--at least five times what he should be consuming. He was eating healthy foods but only as part of a massive amount of unhealthy foods. The only way to rack up that amount of calories is in sugary, salty, starchy and fatty foods--the body probably couldn't even hold the amount veggies it would take to hit 10,000.

"Joe's Story" reveals basic food ignorance

So Wexler wasn't counting all that he was eating. But he was also not doing the math correctly and that demonstrates an ignorance of calories. Joe wasn't ignorant as in foolish, but he was ignoring simple food facts. He didn't know that ranch dressing contains tons of saturated fat and calories, which makes those healthy salads calorie traps when bathed in dressing.

A lot of people don't know how calorie-dense even "healthy" foods are. One bagel has over 300 calories. But the information is there for them if they will read it. By law, manufacturers must print ingredients, nutrition data and recommended daily allowance for nutrientson labels. There's no excuse not to know what your food contains and how much you are consuming. After working with a nutritionist and having gastric bypass and skin removal surgery, Joe is less than half the man he was and twice as wise about food. Now Wexler pays his newfound health and happiness forward, helping others. And he's found love!