Tonight TLC is airing a rerun of Season 8’s episode of My 600 lb. Life featuring Julius “J.T.” Clark. At the time of filming J.T. was 32 years old and was one of the heaviest patients to be featured on the show. He’s also one of the ones with the least amount of support in his recovery.
Not only was J.T. almost 900 pounds, but he had a huge lymphedema mass on his left leg that impeded his ability to walk. J.T. started the show with his girlfriend Jessica who enabled his condition by bringing him the food he wanted. However, Jessica eventually left J.T. while he was hospitalized in Houston, leaving him with no one to help him in his deteriorated condition.
Like many people featured on this show, J.T. had a rough childhood. He associated food, especially sweets that have peanut butter, with the happier times of his childhood before things got really bad. “I just want to feel the way they make me feel forever,” he says.
When he was really young his father worked at a hot dog restaurant, and he fondly remembers the whole family enjoying meals there because they got free food. Those happy times evaporated for J.T. when his parents put their drug addictions over meeting the needs of there children.
J.T. was the oldest of four kids, and took on a huge amount of responsibility at a early age. By age 13, he was 300 pounds. He soon put on another 150 lbs. As a teenager, he had to get a job at a fast food place while he was still in school.
By the the was 18, he was 500 pounds. After he graduated he got a job at a pizza place, where he would eat about 4 or 5 pizzas a day and his weight continued to climb.
He started developing the lymphedema in his twenties and doctors told him he probably wouldn’t live to age 31. By age 25, J.T. went on disability because he physically couldn’t work anymore. When he starts filming for the show, he doesn’t know how much he weighs.
J.T had an arduous journey in the back of a van to Dr. Now from Oklahoma. His girlfriend Jessica was driving him, and they seem to have a tense relationship. When J.T. gets to Houston he finds out he weighs 892 lbs, which was more than he imagined.
J.T. has dreams to travel, see the world, and live in Japan, but Dr. Now tells him that there’s no way he can achieve these goals if he doesn’t make drastic changes. Earlier in the episode he also shares that he has dreams of having a family someday.
At one point soon after his trip to see Dr. Now, J.T. felt really sick and feared he was dying. He went to the hospital where they discovered he had contracted food poisoning and his lymphedema had gotten irritated from traveling.
At month thee, J.T. and Jessica’s van broke down on the way to Houston, so Dr. Now sent a medical transport vehicle. J.T.’s condition deteriorated while he waited on the side of the road for assistance.
At the hospital, they find that J.T. has only lost about 8 pounds in two months, which is a very small percentage of his body weight.
Because of J.T.’s condition Dr. Now didn’t recommend that he make the trip back to Oklahoma. His girlfriend Jessica doesn’t want to move to Houston, so J.T. feels like she’s breaking up with him.
However, when Jessica and J.T. have a conversation before she goes home, J.T. makes it sound like he doesn’t want her to come back. Jessica tells the cameras that he makes her feel like he just needs her to help him with life, and not because he wants to be in a relationship with him. She really loves J.T., but he makes it feel like she needs to bottle up her emotions around him, and it hurts her.
After a month of living at the hospital, J.T. feels depressed and lonely. He’s being transferred to a rehab facility and his cousin Blair came to help him find an apartment so he can have a place to live after he’s discharged from rehab.
Dr. Now says they treated J.T. for an infection in his lymphedema and that he has lost 126 pounds while spending only one month in the hospital on a 1,200 calorie diet. His lymphedema has also gotten smaller during this time. This still brings his weight to 758 pounds.
Dr. Now is concerned about Julius’ attitude since the breakup with Jessica. Still, J.T.’s life in on the line, so he needs to fight for weight loss.
A month in the rehab experience, J.T. thinks it’s just as miserable as the hospital. The only positive is that he has more freedom. His cousin Blair left town after only a few days, so he is still alone.
Dr. Now reports that J.T. has been non-compliant with physical therapy and has been ordering out food, both of which activities are hindering his progress.
When he weighs-in after a month Dr. Now expects him to have lost 100 pounds, but he has only lost 10 pounds.
J.T. is surprised that he lost weight at all since he wasn’t following the plan. While talking with Dr. Now, J.T. is audibly annoyed when he argues that his poor mental state has made him want to eat.
Dr. Now points out that this is J.T.’s life, and his health, and Dr. Now and the medical staff have given him tools and resources to help him. “There’s no hope for you,” Dr. Now. “You’re going to kill yourself young.”
Dr. Now then launches into an impassioned speech in an attempt to save J.T.’s life and get through to him.
“No matter where you are, you are responsible for your eating habits,” he goes on. “You are responsible for improving your life and your health. Don’t make those excuses that are acceptable to you to not follow the diet because the floor was crooked, the light was not good, the bed was not good, I was not planning to be here so I’m going to kill myself with food.”
Later in J.T.’s bed, Dr. Now asks him if he truly wants to change his life.
J.T. tells him that he does want to change and choose to live. With this new commitment, Dr. Now tells him that he’s giving him a new goal to lose 80 pounds in one month even though he would prefer to give him a goal of 100 lb.
After J.T.’s difficult confrontation with Dr. Now, J.T. called his cousin Blair to vent and Blair agreed to come down and be with him for a while. Dr. Now’s speech seems to have gotten through to him, and J.T. is now trying very hard to lose weight.
While in Houston, Blair found a half-way house for men who are recovering from drug addiction and medical procedures, so at least now J.T. has a place to go.
For the first time since he came back to Houston and got hospitalized, J.T. has hope for her future and motivation to make changes.
J.T. hit his goal of an 80 lb. Weight loss at the rehab, so Dr. Now discharged him. His new goal in a month is 75 lb.
At the halfway house J.T. feels lonely because most of the people leave during the day. He also can’t drive, but he still feels determined to meet his goals.
At Dr. Now’s office, J.T. has fallen short of his goal a little bit. He’s lost 52 lb. and now weighs 619. He’s lost a total of 270 pounds and has increased mobility.
Even though J.T. didn’t hit the goal, he’s still showed Dr. Now that he’s put in effort, so he schedules him for weight loss and asks him lose another 40 lb. J.T. was able to beat that goal by 48 lbs.
After surgery because J.T. doesn’t have anyone at home to take care of him, Dr. Now keeps him in the hospital until he’s fully recovered.
Dr. Now eventually sends J.T. home after surgery and promises him that he can get his lymphedema removed when he gets under 450 lbs. The episode ends on a positive note with J.T. appreciating being able to walk to a park and hopeful for her future.
Did J.T. get his lymphedema removed?
The episode doesn’t follow J.T. past right after surgery and doesn’t update the audience on whether or not he got to get lymphedema surgery. There is also no information online with any updates about J.T.’s progress or condition, but fans of the show are eager to find out if he was able to get his lymphedema removed.
He was incredibly close to his goal at the end of the episode, so hopefully he was able to reach this goal. This, combined with weight loss, would give him a huge change to live a different, mobile life.