My 60 Lb Life chronicles the experiences of overweight individuals as they embark on a journey to shed pounds and gain confidence. This week, for the 11th episode of Season 9, we will be delving into the life of Irene Walker, who openly admits that her weight has gotten out of hand.
“I know my food addiction has led me to this point. But… in my past, it was the only source of happiness that I had.”
Here’s what you need to know about Irene and her journey.
On Wednesday’s episode of My 600 lb Life, Irene admits that the root of her addiction to food is her parent’s separation when she was five years old.
“When I have any of my favorite foods,” she explains, “all the hurt in me is taken away.” Irene believes that when her dad left her mom, she became depressed– around that time is when she started eating.
Irene says food is how she survives; the irony is that she realizes that it is killing her in a lot of ways, too.
Even when she was younger, Irene was the “big girl”– she acknowledges that her love of food started when she was very young.
She spent a lot of time at church and church functions. “I just ate as much as I could,” she said. She says she ate until she was nauseous and wanted to throw up.
And while her parents spoke about her weight to her when she started putting on pounds, they also enabled her. “Because (my mother) always had to work, she gave me food to feed to my sister.”
By the time she started high school, Irene was over 250 pounds.
An Abusive Relationship
Irene explains that she started to date someone when she was 16 who was abusive- physically and emotionally. “My self-esteem was already low… I stayed with him and got pregnant when I was 16.”
Irene was a single mother at age 17, and during her pregnancy, she gained more weight and was over 350 lb.
It took going to a shelter for women and children for Irene to get back on her feet again. However, while there, she became pregnant again and she wasn’t allowed to stay at the shelter. “They kicked me out because I got pregnant.”
At the time, she was 24 and around 500 pounds.
In her early 30s, Irene started to inch closer to 600 lb– that was when she turned to alcohol. “When I was 34… I turned to drugs because I was depressed and hanging around with the wrong people.”
She says that because of her addictions, she lost her children. “Someone reported me because of my addictions… CPS came and took my three youngest. I was devastated… I lost my mind.”
She said the silver lining was that she got sober… however, sobriety soon gave way to her food addiction once again.
Will Dr. Now be able to help Irene on her quest to find happiness without the help of food? Will she succeed?
My 600 lb Life airs Wednesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on TLC.