Ever since its premiere in 2012, ‘My 600-lb Life’ has been sharing the stories of morbidly obese people as they try to turn over a new leaf and reduce weight to lead a healthier life. They do this with the help of Iranian-American surgeon Younan Nowzaradan, or simply “Dr. Now,” who equips them with a strict diet plan and even weight-loss assist surgery, if all goes to plan. As we see it, their journey is arduous and complex, yet it’s also transformative and inspiring. So now, if you’re wondering exactly how much of it is authentic, we’ve got the details for you.
Is My 600-Life Real or Scripted?
‘My 600-lb Life’ has always been touted as a series that follows real people going through real struggles that have stemmed from pain and trauma that often dates back to their childhood. And to be honest, it’s truly as genuine as possible. Despite it being a TLC original, almost everything that comes on our screens during this production is authentic. In other words, producers do not design, plan, or pre-compose any of the situations or remarks made by the cast members.
If you’re a dedicated fan of this show, you might have noticed a lot of similar-sounding dialogues over the seasons, but the truth is, it’s still not scripted. Of course, since the patients all essentially have the same problem, Dr. Now’s 1,200-calorie low-carb, low-fat, and high-protein diet mostly remains the same. He only makes changes in this if an individual requires it, and accordingly, he also orders them to follow an exercise routine and attend therapy sessions. However, when different patients repeat the same sentiments in the same tone, it’s usually because a producer probably coached them through their emotions, which run high during such a process.
There are re-shoots as well, where producers might ask the doctor or the participants to repeat something that just transpired to ensure that everything is captured on camera, but again, this doesn’t make ‘My 600-lb Life’ fake. The aim is to give us the best of the true story, meaning that re-creations and editing are significant factors in the process. Because bathroom scenes and actual surgeries are also filmed, that’s not surprising. Though the one aspect that many people still question is the depiction of the cast members’ personalities, and we can confidently reveal that that’s also real. The patients, or their relatives, have confirmed that much.
As for Dr. Now’s calmness, care, and honesty, that’s genuine too. Apart from bariatric surgery, he even has experience in cardiology, so he knows what he’s talking about when telling clients if and when it’s safe for them to undergo any kind of procedure. Moreover, in 2017, he told People, “It’s a daily challenge to work with some patients that can be self-destructive. My job is not to get aggravated, but to find a way to motivate them to work hard to get to their goals.”
Dr. Now further added, “There are times where I think it’s necessary for some tough love and I have to be stern with them, so I show some of my concern and frustration. Even during those times, my job is to find a way to work with them to get their weight to a healthy place…it’s my job to help them no matter what.” In short, everyone stays true to themselves while working towards their mutual goal; fitness.