Life after Food Addiction Relapse
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Carol has been struggling with a powerful food addiction for as long as she can remember. “I was born fat, and I’m going to die fat,” she said in April 2014, when The Doctors responded to her tearful videotaped plea to save her life.
At the time, Carol weighed 500 pounds and had developed Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea as a result of being obese. Her excessive weight had limited her mobility, so she spent most of her time confined in a bedroom equipped with a portable toilet.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork visited Carol in her home and helped her come to terms with the harsh reality of her condition: She needed to make major lifestyle changes immediately or she was going to die.
To help Carol overcome her food addiction, The Doctors offered her the opportunity to enter a treatment program at Breathe Life Healing Centers. Carol graciously accepted, and she spent the next six months in rehab, during which time she lost 100 pounds and was able to stop taking her medication for diabetes.
Despite her progress, however, Carol suddenly decided to leave the treatment center, against the strong recommendation of the staff. Unbeknownst to her, she walked out on the same day that Dr. Travis was planning to pay her a surprise visit.
“It broke my heart, because when I came to visit you, I believed in you,” Dr. Travis tells her. “Every ounce of my being believed in you and the journey that you were on … but the hardest part was hearing how difficult you were being with the staff at treatment and how you were being dishonest with them, because I knew that meant you were being dishonest with yourself.”
Upon returning home, Carol quickly reverted to the same unhealthy eating habits that caused her weight to spiral out of control. She stopped exercising, gained back 10 pounds and had to start taking her diabetes medication again.
Carol says she realizes it was a mistake to leave rehab. “I just have to surrender and let go,” she explains. “I thought I had it under control, but I don’t. This addiction is really killing me, and I’ve got to get a hold of it.”
After The Doctors aired an update featuring news of Carol’s relapse, her family, friends and online supporters expressed their criticism, sadness and disappointment. Since that time, Carol has been constantly contacting The Doctors’ producers and Brad Lamm, founder of Breathe Life Healing Centers, asking for a second chance. Brad tells Carol he is willing to accept her back under the provisions that she set excuses aside and truly commit to change.
“Look at these as deliverables,” Brad explains. “First, get back on your food plan. I want to see you lose 50 pounds. I want to see you lose the weight you’ve gained since you left Breathe and a little more. Then, [attend] Overeaters Anonymous’ Twelve-Step fellowship every day, by hook or by crook — no excuses, no complaints. And No.3, participate in the alumni group at Breathe every week.”
Carol agrees to the stipulations that Brad set forth in order to be accepted back into the treatment program.
Dr. Travis adds that the next time Carol appears on The Doctors, the only topic he wants to discuss is commitment. “That’s your commitment to yourself, to your health, to your weight loss,” he says. “Hopefully, we can look back to this day and say, ‘That was the last day you made excuses.’ ”