Update: The Reality of Food Addiction

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Playing Update: The Reality of Food Addiction

When Carol, who weighed 500 pounds, reached out to The Doctors for help with her food addiction last spring, ER physician Dr. Travis Stork warned her that her health problems were nearing the point where they'd be irreversible. The Doctors offered her the opportunity to go to Breathe Life Healing Centers. Carol said she didn't want to die and was "1,000 percent ready."

In the treatment center, Carol lost 100  pounds, about half of her weight loss goal. But, then, she left the center early, against the recommendation of the staff.

"I felt like I didn't want to be there anymore," she says. "I felt like I could do this on my own." 

Back at home, Carol says she's been working out for an hour each day and keeps a bowl of fruit in her refrigerator, but she also admits to cheating on her diet.

"Out here in the world, it is a lot harder than I thought, and everything is full of sugar," Carol says. "I still think about all of that food, but I am more motivated to do this. I'm 46  years old, and I have to run my own life. Nobody can control me but me."

Dr. Travis says Carol's story proves the power of food addiction.

Breathe Life Healing Centers founder Brad Lamm says, "We heard Carol say, 'Nobody runs me but me, nobody rules me but me,' but actually this eating addiction is ruling her."

The Doctors question whether Carol will be successful at overcoming her addiction on her own. They say that she needs to address the experiences or feelings that are leading her to overeat, and encourage her to return to a treatment center or to attend Overeaters Anonymous meetings.

"Carol, remember back to that day when I visited you in your home and you had all that hope in your eyes," Dr. Travis says. "It's never too late. People relapse all the time, but just don't give up hope."

When The Doctors first visited Carol more than six months ago, she admitted she was slowly killing herself with food. She had sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes and was on disability. She couldn't walk or stand for very long and rarely left her room, which was equipped with a portable toilet.

"I'm just like a drug addict, except you can't quit eating," she said. "You have to eat."

“If you still think this story is just about overeating, a lack of willpower and self control, you are wrong,” Dr. Travis said then.

Watch Carol's first appearance on The Doctors:

Carol explains how her weight spiraled out of control. “I was born fat, and I’m going to die fat,” she says

Dr. Travis explains how food can be just as addictive as any drug.

Dr. Travis surprises Carol at her home. “You’re getting to a point where your health problems are going to be irreversible,” he tells her.

Carol’s mom, Marilyn, joins The Doctors to give an update on Carol’s journey.

Update: Nov. 17, 2014
After The Doctors aired the update featuring the news of Carol's relapse on Nov. 3, 2014, her family, friends and online supporters expressed sadness and disappointment. Carol contacted The Doctors' producers and Brad, the founder of Breathe Life Healing Centers, asking for a second chance. Find out whether Brad is willing to accept Carol back in treatment .