“My 600 Pound Life”: Ryan Barkdoll reveals how his father’s death spurred his food addiction
For My 600-lb Life patients, even simple daily chores seem like gigantic jobs. With their weight holding them back, these people have to rely on those around them to survive. And while the show aims to chronicle their journey, there’s no sure way whether there will be a happy ending to every story.
For Ryan Barkdoll, 31, his weight problems started at a relatively young age due to a series of emotional issues. However, the older he got, the more his substance addiction began to rival his food addiction. And then it was a downward spiral for him.
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At 740 pounds, Ryan explained that he hadn’t slept in a bed in eight years due to his massive size. Most of her time is limited to a lounge chair in the living room. He even cleans himself in the living room due to his inability to move around. Ryan is helped by his mother, Tammy and her boyfriend, Leroy. For Ryan, his problematic relationship with food started very early on. Her stepfather, Jeff, never showed her affection.
Unable to get the attention he craved as a child, Ryan turned to food. At 10, he hit the 100-pound mark. Her weight only got worse until her mother sent her to live with her grandparents. Here, Ryan received the positive reinforcement he was looking for from his grandfather. His grandfather spent time with him, and for a brief period Ryan was doing much better. However, when he realized that his biological father had passed away, and then later, his grandfather became terminally ill, the cycle of food abuse began again. At school, Ryan found solace in football. He was stuck as a lineman, unable to play the position he wanted due to his size.
By the age of 17, he had reached 300 pounds due to his constant partying and drug abuse. When caught with marijuana, he was kicked from the football team. Determined to get his life back on track, he enrolled in work school, where he excelled in welding.
But he couldn’t find a job, which forced him to continue his problematic relationship with food. A friend noticed her growing problems and offered to help her find a job. Ryan started working in a call center and while he supported himself, his eating habits continued. He hit another breaking point when his boss fired him because of his weight, saying he needed to lose weight. At 28, he weighed 700 pounds, was living back with his mother, and was receiving disability assistance. Ryan noted that he wanted his life back.
‘My 600-lb Life’ airs every Wednesday at 8 / 7c on TLC.