Season 11, Episode 2 of TLC’s My 600 Lb. Life follows the journey of 37-year-old Latonya, (Shreveport, LA) who has been to see Dr. Now before and faces losing her mobility completely at 632 lbs. Can she make the changes she needs to make to save her life?
Latonya suffers from unbearable pain from the lymphedema in both of her legs and struggles to get out of her bed in the morning. Her mobility is approaching a tipping point at the beginning at her My 600 LB Life journey. She’s made a promise to herself to not be wheelchair bound, but finds herself barely able to walk.
She lives with her fiancé Daune and also has a caretaker who helps her shower and makes her food. Showering takes a lot out of Latonya, so she often goes back to bed while her caretaker, who spends about five hours a day with her, cooks her breakfast.
The caretaker says that Latonya has deteriorated since she first started working with her.
Latonya also gets help from her nephew Aiden, who helps her grocery shop once a month.
Latonya really enjoys these grocery store trips because she loves food so much and she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to go back to the grocery store. She considered food to be her hobby.
Latonya eats about six times a day. She loves all kinds of food, especially sweets, chips, cereal and other snacks. Sometimes all she eats all day is snack food.
Latonya grew up with three siblings, including a deceased brother. She was the youngest child. Her dad worked and her mother stayed at home.
She says her family was always positive with positive attitudes. She says she loved food and for her food meant love.
She says her life was peaceful until she was 12, which is when her mother died suddenly from a heart attack. Latyona was so shocked and devastated she turned to food to cope with the trauma.
“Food took my painful thoughts away, and it made me happy in the moment,” Latonya says.
Just three months after her mom’s untimely death, Latonya’s father moved in with a new girlfriend who Latonya didn’t get along with. Latonya later revealed during therapy that this woman was one of her mom’s friends.
Latonya didn’t want to live with them and decided to move in with her older sister. When she was only fifteen years old she got her own place because her dad signed the lease for her.
Although Latonya’s dad provided for her financially, he wasn’t there for her emotionally. While she lived alone her weight continued to skyrocket. By age 17 she was 300 pounds.
Five years ago Latonya broke her knee, and she has had mobility problems ever since.
How Latonya met her fiancé
While she was recovering from her knee injury and facing dark times, she met her current fiancé Daune through her cousin.
Latonya’s cousin recommended Latonya to Daune while they were both incarcerated because he knew Daune liked “big-boned women.”
“I look past what other people see, her weight and this or that,” Daune says. “I know she a good person. She teach me some things.”
Latonya thinks God has put Daune in her life and now wants to lose weight and work on her health so she can live long enough to grow old together.
Daune says he’s going to stay with Latonya forever and feels like she’s going to succeed in her weight loss journey. He lives by a family motto: “If you’re gonna worry, don’t pray. If you’re going to pray, don’t worry.”
Unlike may My 600 lb. Life participants, Latonya was able to drive herself to Houston, TX.
Latonya has seen Dr. Now before
Latonya has sought help from Dr. Now five years ago, but says he didn’t take her seriously because she refused to commit to the program. She never came back for her second appointment, but now she’s ready for a second chance.
When she first visited Dr. Now Latonya weight 482 lbs. Since then she’s gained 150 lbs.
Dr. Now asked Latonya what has changed in five years that will allow her to lose weight now, and Latonya said that she’s sought more help from her family and also has Daune now.
Dr. Now let Latonya know that time was of the essence for her to lose weight and reclaim her health. He also said that it was very important for her to work on her mobility and stop relying on her motorized wheelchair.
Latonya tells Dr. Now that she eats a large breakfast every morning even though she’s not hungry. When he asks her why she eats when she’s not hungry, she replies that a doctor tells her that she has to eat in the morning because if she doesn’t, her metabolism is “high or low or something like that.”
“Let me tell you one thing,” Dr. Now says. “But you should never get confused about the one thing, eat less. There’s no confusion with that.”
Dr. Now gives her a plan to lose 40-60 pounds in one month. Along with a diet plan, Dr. Now is setting Latonya up with a physical therapist.
Her physical therapist says that Latonya has improved, but she’s worried because she’s not doing much physical activity. She suspects that Latonya doesn’t exercise when she’s not there.
At Latonya’s 2 month check-in she showed no progress in her weight loss. In fact, she’d gained 4 pounds.
When she meets with Dr. Now Latonya immediately tells him that she’s worried that she has a blood clot because the swelling in her leg is really bad.
Dr. Now simply chuckles softly and asks her why she gained weight.
Latonya apologized and said that she was in a lot of pain. Dr. Now tells her that she’s in pain because she’s over 600 lbs.
“You keep eating too much, but you won’t admit it,” Dr. Now says. “. . . You keep repeating the same lie it doesn’t come true.”
Dr. Now’s harsh truth brought Latonya to tears. She told him that she wasn’t mad, but that she didn’t want to travel four hours to be chewed out. “I could have stayed at home for that,” she says.
Latonya says she wants people to understand that losing weight isn’t easy and it’s going to take time for her to make changes because she’s not a robot.
Dr. Now begs to differ that changing her life will take time. “It takes one minute to change your life,” he says.
He decides to get Latonya some psychotherapy and gives her two months to lose 60 pounds. If she doesn’t meet this goal, he doesn’t think he can help her.
Latonya meets with Dr. Matthew Paradise for therapy. She lets him know that her eating problems started when she was 12 years old and her mom suddenly died, and then shortly after that her dad moved in with one of her mom’s friends.
Dr. Paradise tells her that it sounds like she still has unresolved issues with her dad and advises her to journal about her feelings to help her stop relying on food to cope.
After her session, Latonya thinks that it might have been a waste of her time and energy.
During her next trip to Houston Latonya experiences severe leg pain so Dr. Now admits her to the hospital to get her checked out.
Again, Dr. Now thinks that Latonya is using her leg pain to deflect from facing the fact that she’s not losing weight. Still, he ran some tests and found that while she didn’t have a blood clot, she had some problems with her heart.
Because of the heart issues, Dr. Now kept her in the hospital for a little while longer to run more tests.
While in the hospital, Latonya was still noncompliant and argued about the food. Still, she was able to get her weight down to 594, which was 48 pounds in 2 weeks.
The weight loss, along with medication, helped improve the dire situation with her heart.
Latonya was deeply unhappy with the food, calling it “dog food.” Dr. Now argues that the high protein food the hospital provided for her like beans and meat was the nutrition she needs. He also pointed out that she had enough extra food stored in her body to last her four years and that she could technically not eat anything for a week or two.
He says that her lung capacity is restricted and that the fourth chamber of her heart is overextended.
Back home for month Seven
At the 7th month mark Latonya is back home in Shreveport and is still using her motorized wheelchair. She says she’s made a lot of sacrifices so far like not ordering food deliver and not eating snacks.
She’s filmed doing some arm exercises outdoor while watching her one-year-old goddaughter. She struggled to walk a few steps with her walker.
Although Latonya claims that she works out all the time from morning until night, she still seems to be struggling to do very little.
When Daune comes home he confirms that she hasn’t been moving very much.
Latonya is shocked to learn that she has gained five pounds when she returns to Dr. Now for the final appointment filmed for her episode. Her current weight was 599 lbs. and she feels like the scale isn’t right.
Of course, Dr. Now has little patience for Latonya’s lack of progress. Again, Latonya blames her lymphedema for the lack of progress. She says that the pain is preventing her from exercising.
Dr. Now says that there’s no point in Latonya traveling to Houston anymore because she’s not making any progress. He says she can get her weight checked in Shreveport and can only come back if she makes big changes.
She ends her episode saying that she’s not surprised by Dr. Now’s decision because she is guilty, but cites a number of factors that have hindered her weight loss including depression, stress, and financial issues.
She says that things only get harder but she’s going to figure things out on her own.
Has Latonya made progress since her episode?
As of January 2023, Latonya still has not reached her goal.
She wrote on her Facebook page the following update asking or understanding and positivity.
“My story will help other people. No, I have not reached my goal, but I’m working on me. Please keep all negative comments to yourself. If you know me, then you know I come with that [fire] that will blow back. So if you wanna do anything for me, say a positive prayer and thank you in advance.”