James is part of the shocking statistic that 4 in 10 American adults are obese. At nearly 600 pounds, he fears his addiction to food, especially sugar, will kill him.
He explains that he has struggled with unhealthy eating his entire life. He describes first bite as "almost nirvana." "Without sweets, I'll get angry and almost relate to a crack addict," he admits. He says he will do "almost anything" to make sure he gets his sweets, including, stealing money from family, panhandling, selling items which are not his and he has used his rent money to buy unhealthy food.
His mom Connie tells us she feels bad for what has happened to James and worries she has possibly enabled him through the years.
James fears the worst for himself, saying, "I'm going to end up dead... it could be any day."
We sent James to see bariatric surgeon Dr. Mike Russo for a health assessment and series of tests.
The Doctors are also joined by psychotherapist Dr. Mike Dow, as James faces the results of his medical tests and comes clean about the amount of food he eats on a given day. He says on an average day he eats:
- 20-35 pizza bites
- A family-sized pack of cookies
- 8-12 frozen burritos
- 1 quart of ice cream
- A family-sized bag of candy bars
- 25-35 chicken nuggets
- 13 chili dogs
- Up to 4 containers of frosting
- 8 44-ounce glasses of sweet tea
An average day of eating for James totals approximately 886 grams of fat, 1,252 grams of sugar, and 20,052 calories.
Dr. Russo reveals that James is dealing with elevated blood pressure and he has stage 2 hypertension, low good cholesterol, and fatty infiltration of his liver. Dr. Russo was surprised to see that James does not have diabetes, but warns that if he continues down his current path he is likely to develop the disease. Dr. Russo is also concerned about his 1-pack per day smoking habit.
"You are essentially a ticking time bomb and you are gambling with your life," Dr. Russo warns, but adds, "Everything here is reversible with weight loss."
In order to help James change his life, we arrange for him to get in-patient treatment for 6 months at Hilton Head Health. We also arrange for James and his family to get vegan meals from 22 Days Nutrition, a gym membership with FITWORKS, and therapy with psychologist Dr. Trei Role-Warren.
An emotional James adds, "Whoever is watching this... you're not alone. You can do this. You just have to stand up... and you have to tell yourself, it's not my time."