Leneatha Reed, the subject of tonight’s April 15 episode of My 600-lb Life, became a viral sensation last year and spoke with Good Morning America after vowing to lose 451 pounds. Although her initial weight loss journey was unsuccessful, she was cast on My 600-lb Life shortly after and continued her weight loss journey with Dr. Now in 2019.
The TLC description of Season 8 Episode 16, titled “Leneatha’s Story,” reads, “For 23 years, Leneatha has worked as a pharmacy tech at a local hospital. Now, she has a young daughter to support, but she’s so big that it’s hard to move. If Dr. Now can’t help her stop eating, losing her job could be the least of her worries.”
Here’s what we know about the reality star and her journey ahead of the new episode. (Warning: Spoilers on Leneatha’s story ahead! Turn back now if you don’t want anything ruined for you before the episode airs!)
Her Story Went Viral When She Vowed to Lose 451 Pounds
Leneatha’s story began online, before the reality star ever featured on My 600-lb Life. She received widespread support on the internet after her weight loss journey to lose 451 pounds went viral; the pharmacy tech decided to regain control of her life when she realized she couldn’t provide the sort of care her energetic 2-year-old needed.
“I couldn’t get down on the floor and play with her… even giving her a bath was a challenge,” Leneatha told “Good Morning America.” “I said, ‘You want to be here for your daughter? It’s time to get up and do something about it.'”
She told the publication that she started struggling with her weight after complications with a breast reduction surgery led to Leneatha being put on life support. She claims the steroids she was prescribed to after her lung collapsed was the start of her steadily increasing weight.
“Even right now, I can’t go to the movies because I can’t sit in the chair,” Reed explained. “I went to see ‘Black Panther’ when it came out and I was so embarrassed and ashamed because I had to place a chair in the handicapped section.” She added, “I said [to myself], ‘There has to be something better than this.'”
She Started Working With Dr. Now to Shed Some Weight
In the clip above, Leneatha can be seen working with a trainer at a gym after she started Dr. Now’s weight loss program. “He’s been talking about having me in here for a while and today it’s finally happening,” Leneatha says in a voiceover. “So it feels really good to be checking something off the list that we’ve been saying we were gonna do for a long time.”
She notes that her stamina has been improving, so she plans to push herself to keep returning to the gym. She tells the cameras, “If I do good today, I can build on that by coming back soon,” before adding, “I really think I need something like this to take my journey to the next level. I’ve been thinking it was gonna be the weight loss surgery, but it turns out it’s a journey just to get to that part.”
Leneatha is hopeful about her future, and can be seen working hard with her trainer in the clip. She adds, “I’m really hopeful that this, plus all the cutting back I’ve been doing is going to be the change I’ve been waiting for, and been needing for so long now … I’m wiped out and I’m in pain now, but it’s a good thing. I’m really proud of myself.”
Leneatha Misses Several Appointments With Dr. Now
Unfortunately, despite Leneatha’s hard work with her trainer and her determination to lead a healthier lifestyle, she misses several appointments with Dr. Now during her nine-month journey. During a video conference with the celebrity bariatric surgeon, she claims she’s too busy raising her daughter as a single parent to focus on his weight loss program full-time.
“It’s unfortunate that Len has decided not to make her health a priority,” Dr. Now tells the cameras. “I don’t think she fully realizes how fast her time is gonna run out if she keeps going down the path she’s on. But she hasn’t been able to get past the hurdle in her mind where she justifies her responsibilities being her excuse to overeat and continue like this.”
Leneatha gives periodic updates to her fans on Facebook, although it doesn’t look like she’s made much progress in the last few months. Her most recent post regarding her journey was in December, when she mentioned she was still working on losing weight. “Thank you all for the inboxes checking in on me! Y’all truly have made my heart smile!” Leneatha wrote. “Yes, I’m still on my journey but I am currently working on something that I unfortunately cannot share at the moment! I love y’all and hope to be back sharing my journey with you all soon!”
It’s unclear at this time if the reality star has lost any more weight or if she was finally approved for her weight loss surgery, although we don’t believe she was, based on her social media. Leneatha’s Facebook page is filled with posts about her family, her late mother, and religion. The reality star frequently posts about her church and thanks God for helping her through tough times.