‘My 600-lb Life’ is a TLC reality docu-series that follows the journey of obese people as they try to lose weight so as to resume living a normal and healthy life. Each episode of the series follows a different individual under the care of the renowned Iranian American surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan (Dr. Now), and his weight-loss program in Houston, Texas. While many of Dr. Now’s patients are able to ascertain a bright future for themselves after losing weight, getting the weight-loss assist surgery and regaining their mobility, some have trouble adjusting to their new life and find themselves going down the darkest possible road.
James “L.B.” Bonner’s My 600 Life Journey
Season 6, Episode 6 introduced us to the 29-year-old James “L.B.” Bonner from Lexington, South Carolina and told us his story and his weight loss journey. The 642 lb man was one of the fan-favorites on the series because of his cheerful charm and good nature despite everything that he had been through.
James grew up in a very loving home and was also especially close to his aunt and uncle, whom he considered his second parents. His aunt was always kind to and spoiled him with treats whenever he went for a visit. So, naturally, when she passed away when he was around nine years old, grief overtook him, and he started turning to food for comfort and consolement. His weight was on the rise, and in high school, when he developed a taste for partying that ultimately led to alcohol addiction as well, he dropped out.
Struggling with food and alcohol addiction for most of his life, by the time James was 25, he weighed over 400 lbs. His frame and habits only got worse when he lost a foot in an ATV accident in 2013. Living with his parents and unable to take care of himself, in 2017, James decided that he needed professional help to get better and turn his life around, so he sought Dr. Now and moved to Texas.
In his year in Dr. Now’s weight loss program, James was able to keep a positive mindset, which helped him lose a total of 316 lbs. Thanks to his determination to follow the strict diet plans and getting weight-loss assist surgery, he lost almost half of his peak weight and ended his episode weighing just 326 lbs.
James Bonner Death
Even after he had left the program, James was sticking to a healthy diet and an exercise regimen to shed further weight and maintain his health. But, in a shocking turn of events, in early August 2018, James took his own life. He was known to make positive posts on his social media accounts, so when he posted the following on his since removed Facebook profile, nobody really knew what was going on.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has shown me love and support throughout my journey. I’ve realized a few things over the last few days and its time that I face my demons head-on. No matter what you change or the efforts you put forth in life, sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and deal with things your own way… Please don’t ever let people you care about not know how you feel.”
It turned out to be a suicide note, as after writing this post, James had fatally shot himself in the head. All the emotional distress and troubles that he was facing, he had kept hidden from everyone.
Following his death, his family has sued the production company behind ‘My 600-lb Life,’ Megalomedia, stating that they do not provide help for the mental strain that one goes through when they are changing their lifestyle in such a drastic way. Along with this, they also said that while the series showed James’ success, they purposely hid all his troubles.
They even gave the example of one particular text exchange between James and a production staff member. When the former was having a breakdown and was texting things like “I am a f–ed up wreck right now” and “I’m not in a good place right now it’s dark,” the only thing the staff member said was “Fake it till you make it.”
We do hope that the family gets the justice they need from the people responsible for James’ end condition and hope that they can all find peace. We also urge you to talk about your feelings, at least to those closest to you, so that you can avoid going down the same dark path as James.