My wife Jean and I were watching Oprah last night (okay I admit it, I do watch O once in a while) and one of the stories she was featuring was about the world’s most extreme yo-yo dieter. The morbidly obese Michael Hebranko was a guest by Skype yesterday with Oprah and he has lost and gained more than 3,000 pounds in his lifetime. He once tipped the scales at 1,100 pounds, lost 902 pounds and then, amazingly, gained it all back.
Hebranko claims that at one sitting he ate 24 pork chops, 2 pounds of bacon and 3 dozen eggs and I assume that he has to eat somewhere near that amount on a regular basis to get to the kind of weight he was carrying and keep it on. That’s a huge amount of food and it also must have cost a good chunk of change to buy that amount of groceries. A quick calculation tells you that meal just for the food alone, not counting cooking an storage costs, would set you back somewhere between $45 and $50.
At one point in Hebranko’s life he was bed ridden for 3 years. Yes, that means he never got out of bed for a period of 3 entire years. Besides the obvious problems of cleaning and toileting himself there’s another problem no one ever seems to discuss in these cases. It’s incredibly obvious, but still, no one ever talks about it.
What I’m referring to is how was Hebranko able to buy, prepare and eventually consume that much food without someone helping him? He had to have an enabler to allow him to get to the weight that he did. He was bedridden for 3 entire years. He had to have someone go to the grocery store for him and buy enormous amounts of food, more food than any large family would eat. Someone had to cook the food, bring it to him and then clean up after him. And that someone is equally responsible for his huge weight gain.
Hebranko’s enabler or enablers also had to make enough money to feed him as well. Even if you spent $50 a day to feed that kind of food addiction we’re talking about spending $350 a week or more than $18,000 a year for food for a single person. Those that weigh that much and are bedridden obviously can’t work so someone else has to foot the bill for food and everything else for them. Imagine taking $1,500 every month out of your paycheck to feed your overweight relative. Would you do that?
And that’s the point of this whole post, who in their right mind would allow someone they love to eat that much food, especially when they are the one that has control over the situation because they are the one that has to prepare the food for them? We eat a mostly raw diet, but If I told my wife I wanted to eat a salad that took 3 heads of lettuce, a pound of tomatoes and a pound of carrots to prepare just for myself, she would think I was mad.
An enabler that allows their relative to gain that much weight is like the enabler who goes to the liquor store and buys a case of booze when their passed out husband, father, brother or mother can’t get to the car to drive themselves to get their own poison.
An enabler doesn’t have to necessarily be the one that goes to the store because their relative is to fat to go themselves. Maybe they’re the one that insists those at the table take another helping of mashed potatoes when someone says they are full, or insists someone eats a piece of grandma’s special apple pie when someone says no thanks, or makes 10 servings of spaghetti when their family only needs 5 helpings. Enablers are at every level of the overeating process, not just assisting those that are morbidly obese.
Please Oprah, let’s get to the heart of these matters and do a show that examines the issue about those that enable their relatives to almost kill themselves. Maybe we could save a few people from going down this path of morbid obesity.