MY 600 LB LIFE Syreeta Covington turned to food to cope with childhood abuse

Syreeta Covington (TLC)

Many My 600 lb. Life stories deal with ups and downs when it comes to the amount of weight loss Dr. Now requires to continue the surgery. Some participants are almost completely noncompliant and defensive. Syreeta Covington’s approach to Dr. Now’s program was a slow and steady progression that ultimately didn’t result in a surgery at the end of the episode. But, Syreeta lost a total of 79 lbs. after reaching a high weight of 603 lb.

Syreeta’s personal struggle

31-year-old Syreeta Covington lives in Columbus, OH and is afraid to sleep because she fears not waking up.

Her floor at home uneven and weak and she has fallen through it before. Of course, she fears she may do so again.

She lives in constant pain and doesn’t shower every day because she often finds the pain to be unbearable. She often gets by with spot cleaning.

Syreeta acknowledges that her family enables her a lot, and her husband Lawrence says that he often faces a choice between peace and war when it comes to Syreeta and her food.

Food helps her cope with childhood trauma

Syreeta is very open about having a very traumatic childhood. “There was nothing sweet about it,” Syreeta says.

She was raised in alot of foster homes, and had been abused physically, sexually, and emotinally in most of the homes. She also spent time in girls’ homes and juvenile detention.

When she was 11, Syreeta reunited with her birth mom to try to escape this system. At first, it was good, but soon she experienced deep conflict with her birth mother.

After not getting along with her mother, Syreeta found a peace in food that she had never found in people. She had the sensation that food “loved her back” because it always made her feel good. She reached 250 lbs around ages 11-12.

She went back to the foster care system. After high school she was 450 lbs. she had to leave the foster care system and started staying with friends and relatives.

Early dreams dashed

Syreeta’s dream was to be a cosmetologist, but she had limited options for studying and working in this field because of her size.

Right after high school, Syreeta got on Social Security benefits and lived with her grandmother for a while. She was able to get her own apartment soon afterwards because she earned extra money doing hair at home and babysitting.

Once she was on her own, she felt free of abuse for the first time. This freedom also came with the ability to order as much food as she wanted.

Syreeta studied online to get a nurse’s aid certificate so she could have more career options.

Finding lasting love

Syreeta met her husband Lawrence on a dating website. They dated long distance for two years, and eventually moved to be with him. One concern is that Lawrence likes bigger women, which may hinder her weight loss progress.

She fears losing Lawrence to another woman, but a bigger fear for her is that she may die and Lawrence will have to bury her.

Looking for hope

It’s getting harder for Syreeta to move around, and like many My 600 LB Life participants she’s scared that things have progressed too far and that her life is in danger.

On the drive to Houston, Syreeta asks Lawrence how he feels about the potentially of her losing a lot of weight.

Lawrence says that he’s not excited about the possibility because he’s worried she’s going to change in general.

On the way to Dr. Now’s office, Syreeta, though she has a positive outlook and says she’s now ready to face her feelings without eating. “I’ll have an attitude, but I’m just going to keep in mind it’s either the grave of the snacks. I choose to live,” she says.

Syreeta is very self-aware that she using food as an unhealthy coping mechanism, an unsustainable means of self-perservation. The true difficulty is found in finding a way to break her emotional reliance on food.

Syreeta’s highest weight so far

Her weight was unknown before her visit, but when Syreeta arrives at Dr. Now’s office, she weighed in at 603 lb. Syreeta was deeply upset by her weigh-in because she had never been over 600 lbs. before. At her height, her BMI is over 100.

Trying a new approach

After Syreeta discusses her connection of feelings and food and all the diets she has tried in the past, she goes home with Dr. Now’s diet plan and goal of losing 60 lb. in 2 months.

The next scene shows Syreeta and Lawrence having Chipotle tacos at a park a few weeks later. 
After their meal, Syreeta exercised a bit with a volleyball. She used to be on a volleyball team, so she’s trying to recreate things she’s familiar with. She’s anxious about kids looking at her, but getting healthy was more important to her than the opinions of others.

Syreeta starting feeling pain after throwing the ball a few times, but decided to challenge herself by walking up a hill. With the encouragement of Lawrence, she was able to do it. Instead of walking down, though, Syreeta rolled down the hill.

The next scene from month 2 starts with Syreeta at the pool working out with the help of a trainer.

A slow start

At her next weigh-in Syreeta had lost 12 lbs., putting her at 591 lbs., which was below the 60 lb. goal Dr. Now set for her. She feels good about being back in the 500s despite not meeting the goal.

Dr. Now pointed out that if she only lost 6 pounds a month going forward, it would take her 6 or 7 years to meet her weight goal.

Lawrence admitted that he was the one getting her the chips and candy that were impeding her diet.

“If you want her to live yo having to do everything you can to help her avoid temptation,” Dr. Now says. But he also put responsibility on Syreeta for her own decisions and behaviors.

Dr. Now gave her another 2 months to attempt the 60 lbs. goal and Syreeeta left in tears.

Promising progress

Lawrence cashed in his 401k so they could have enough money to move from Columbus to Houston, but unfortunately the check didn’t arrive in time. Not only that, it got lost in the mail.

Because they were unable to secure housing in Houston, they stayed in Columbus paying on a month-to-month basis for their current house.

Syreeta says traveling back and forth from Columbus to Houston has been really hard on her body.

At her next check-in with Dr. Now Syreeta weighed 544, losing 47lb. in two months. While it was below her goal of 60 lbs., it was much better than her first two months of weight loss.

Her total weight loss at this point was 59 lb.

Dr. Now was much happier with Syreeta this time and approved her for weight loss surgery if she lost another 25 lb. and moved to Houston.

Syreeta was jovial with him as well and even joked that she wanted to take home his jewel-encrusted stethoscope.

Dr. Now's golden jewel-encrusted stethoscope

Dr. Now’s bling (TLC)

A setback

Syreeta and Lawrence were able to find housing in Houston, but unfortunately she gained 9 lb. at her next check-in four months later.

Dr. Now asks her to lose 40 lb. over the next 2 months and sets her up with a therapist so she can stop relying on food for comfort.

When Syreeta meets with My 600 lb Life regular therapist Dr. Paradise, he suggests that maybe she gained some weight before the surgery because she didn’t trust it.

Syreeta cries as she explains that she’s scared of not just the surgery, but everything associated with the weight loss.

Dr. Paradise asks her to accurately keep track of everything she eats, and he also asks her to write a trauma journal. 
Syreeta says she wants to write in the trauma journal her feelings towards her mom, who is now deceased, so she can let them go.

After her filmed therapy session, Syreeta’s food journaling goes well and she says it really helps her be aware and hold herself accountable. It also helps her understand how each meal makes her feel.

Skyreeta also filmed herself writing the letter to her mother, who had died a year and one month ago at the time. She shared that she often felt like her mother loved her siblings more than she loved her and didn’t even consider her to be her daughter.

An ambiguous ending

At the end of the episode, Syreeta lost 29 lb. which didn’t meet Dr. Now’s requirements, so he gives her two more months to continue losing at the same rate of about 14 lb. or more.

One month after this meeting, Syreeta says she is on track to lose more weight than Dr. Now asked of her and is working hard at weight loss because she wants a good life and wants to have kids with Lawrence. She’s hopeful for the future, but there’s no update about whether or not she got surgery.

Are Syreeta and Lawrence still together?

As of two weeks ago Lawrence posted a photo of himself with his wife Syreeta with the caption “Together again,” so it looks like they are still going strong. There is no update, however on how much weight Syreeta has lost since filming or if she was able to go through with weight loss surgery.

Web Analytics