“My 600-Lb Life” is an American reality television series centred on documenting the weight loss journeys of numerous morbidly obese patients, following them as they prepare and undergo bariatric surgery under the supervision of the host, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan.
Originally intended as a four-part documentary mini-series that aired on the TLC network in 2012, “My 600-Lb Life”s popular reception with the audience eventually led to the filming of additional episodes that flourished into the popular show so many have come to love.
Currently in its eleventh season, “My 600-Lb Life” have invited countless patients onto the show, documenting Dr. Nowzaradan’s – mononymously known as Dr. Now – mission to end the obesity epidemic raging in the USA.
Over the course of the show’s decade-long progress on air, many patients have entered Dr. Now’s office, some sharing their success stories with the cameras, while others fail to show positive results. As many might know, Dr. Now has crossed paths with many difficult patients, and despite his efforts, has sometimes fail to motivate them to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Among the many patients who Dr. Now tried to help over the years, viewers might remember Mercedes Cephas, whose journey on the show was both a morbid and sad account, and who unfortunately was unable to achieve success.
Because of her failure to qualify for bariatric surgery, Mercedes didn’t earn a place in the series off-spin show, ”My 600-Lb Life: Where Are They Now”, which takes a look at patients who previously appeared in the original series, and which checks in on how they have been doing since. As such, many fans and viewers have been wondering what happened to Mercedes, questioning whether or not she might have shown improvement on her own, and if she might be doing much better than before.
For those hoping to catch up on how Mercedes is doing, we took the liberty of checking up on the Cincinnati native to provide fans and viewers of “My 600-Lb Life” a much-needed update on her journey.
What To Expect
As we dive into this update on Mercedes’ well-being, we will take a look at the general premise of “My 600-Lb Life”, and discuss some of the show’s darker secrets that neither Dr. Now nor the producers would want viewers to know.
We will also relive Mercedes’ journey on the show, discussing her sad history and reasons why she became morbidly obese, as well as dive into her unsuccessful progress under Dr. Now’s supervision, before finally looking in on her and how she’s been doing since appearing on the show.
Hidden From The Lens
With nearly half the adult population of America suffering from some form of obesity, ranging from moderate to morbid, it’s clear that America is facing a widespread epidemic, and one certainly threatening the health of the country’s people. Considering this, Dr. Now made it his duty to spread awareness about the epidemic, by reaching out and providing assistance with the most extreme cases, assisted by the TV series
On his journey to bring an end to the obesity epidemic, and spread awareness by documenting his patient’s journey to improvement, Dr. Now invites morbidly obese patients onto “My 600-Lb Life”. If they accept his assistance, Dr. Now then places the patients on a strict, personalised diet and exercise routine.
Following this, once they have shown positive results, Dr. Now then recommends bariatric surgery to further enhance their weight loss and improve their health.
Since the majority of Dr. Now’s patients who feature on the show weigh 600 lbs or more, Dr. Now requires them to lose anything between 50 to 100 lbs before qualifying for any of the choice surgeries on offer, which includes gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.
However, while the show’s premise seems all friendly and inviting, often sharing the most heart-breaking stories about the lives of some of the patients who appear on the show, not everything is quite as rosy as it seems in front of the camera. In truth, there are details about the series that never make it onto the screen, often the kind of scandalous material the camera lenses shy away from showing the viewers.
As many might know, Dr.. Now is not quite the heroic crusader he is often portrayed as in “My 600-Lb Life”, and while what he does is still beneficial to most of those who feature in the show, there is a dark side to his practice. Often Dr. Now is known to operate on at-risk patients, who might face severe complications during and after surgery, although admittedly usually as a last resort.
To clarify this, most patients who qualify for bariatric surgery are required to weigh anything from 450 lbs or less, and since most of the patients on the show weigh more than that, even after showing positive weight loss during their preparatory journey, they still weigh more, leaving them at risk of complications and a difficult recovery.
In fact, numerous patients who appeared on the show, including Kandi Dreier, whose heart stopped during surgery, and another patient, Lupe Samano who suffered complications with her hips which caused difficulties in her further weight loss. Quite often these complications exist because of Dr. Now’s willingness to operate on untreatable patients, and the show hid the fact that Dr. Now previously faced malpractice lawsuits.
Sadly, these are not the only truths that the camera hides from viewers, and there seem to be hints that some parts of the show are scripted. Aside from not showing viewers the full transformation of successful patients, the producers seem to be deliberately hiding certain details.
One of the hidden details is the salary earned by some of the stars who appear in the show, of whom some have claimed that they received payment for making the move to Houston, Texas, where the series is filmed. Other stars have even claimed that they might get paid more if they opt-in on filming the controversial, famous shower scenes synonymous with “My 600-Lb Life”.
However, one of the show’s stars, Nicole Lewis, claimed that the producers didn’t extend to her a choice, stating during a tell-all interview that it left her feeling embarrassed, especially because she couldn’t fit into a regular, standard-sized shower, and had to be hosed down by her husband in their backyard.
Dottie Perkins, who was featured on the show’s fourth season, filed a lawsuit against the production company, Megalomedia, claiming that the majority of her story was fabricated. According to Dottie, some of the scenes were staged and suggestive that she didn’t keep up with the prescribed diet, making it seem as if she was gaining weight when in reality she showed positive results. Perkins also stated in court that the producers forced her to eat excessive amounts of unhealthy food, which would lead to conflict with Dr. Now.
While the show might seem to be attempting to do good work, it seems clear that the producers behind “My 600-Lb Life” are only interested in building viewer ratings, seemingly even willing to go to extreme lengths to create drama. Naturally, the truth behind the countless lawsuits filed against Megalomedia was never publicised, and the producers remain quiet about the truth.
— Monsters and Critics (@monstersandcrit) April 6, 2020
Mercedes’ Sad Journey On “My 600-Lb Life”
Mercedes Cephas is a patient and star who appeared in “My 600-Lb Life”s seventh season in 2019, but unlike many other patients, didn’t have quite as successful a journey, and by the end of her featured episode, didn’t qualify for bariatric surgery.
Like many of the other stars from the series, Mercedes had a really heart-breaking story that she shared with “My 600-Lb Life”s viewers, and as would become evident, the 39-year-old mother of two had a long history of struggling with obesity.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mercedes lived her early childhood sharing a home with her sisters and parents, but unfortunately, her young life would be upset by the bad behaviour of her abusive father. Initially, as Mercedes would recount on the show, her father became abusive towards her mother, who one day decided she could bear it no longer, and abandoned her family.
Sadly, Mercedes never learned what had happened to her mother since, and for the remainder of her childhood was placed in the negligent care of her dad, who at a later stage in Mercedes’ life, became sexually abusive towards her, and her sisters. Speaking about her childhood trauma, which lasted well into her teenage years, Mercedes stated that it left her feeling robbed of her innocence, and always feeling filthy.
With no one to take care of her needs and the trauma mounting, Mercedes turned to food as her only comfort in life. Things got so bad and out of hand that by the time she turned 15, Mercedes weighed 300 lbs. Sadly, her obesity affected her education, and Mercedes started missing school, eventually, eventually dropping out of high school at the age of 16.
However, when she turned 19, Mercedes earned her Nursing Assistant certification, and accepted a live-in job at a local nursing home, but eventually, due to her constant weight gain, she stopped working, and became confined to her bed. She later had two children, both of whom had to be delivered through c-section surgery, but her surgical wounds became infected, and by the time she sought Dr.. Now’s help, she was diagnosed with lymphedema.
In 2019, when Mercedes appeared on “My 600-Lb Life”, the then 37-year-old Cincinnati native weighed more than 700 lbs and was completely dependent on other people in her life, which included her children, a nursing assistant, and her sister, for basic functions and survival. Considering the state of her life, Mercedes admitted during an interview on the show that she couldn’t believe what her life had come to, and when she realised that her condition was negatively impacting the lives of her children, she decided to seek Dr. Now’s assistance.
Of course, Dr. Now accepted her onto the show, prescribing a personalised diet and exercise routine for Mercedes, but which sadly she was unable to keep to Dr. Now’s strict orders. As the show would depict her journey, Mercedes constantly complained about the conditions of her diet, and would provide too many excuses for not keeping to her laid-out plan.
The show also showed viewers how she lied about not keeping to the diet, and this naturally caused confrontations with Dr. Now, who informed her that if her condition worsened, it would place her vital organs at serious risk.
Regardless, Mercedes didn’t listen, and by the time she had to be evaluated for bariatric surgery, had only lost 80lbs. While this was a positive improvement, it wasn’t good enough for Dr. Now, who unfortunately showed her the door.
What Happened To Mercedes?
Following her appearance on “My 600-Lb Life”, Mercedes moved back to Ohio, and according to most reports on her current well-being, she seems to still live in Cincinnati. Although Mercedes is not too active on social media, she has posted several updates for her followers and fans, though most of her posts are more concerned with her adorable children.
However, despite Mercedes’ failed progress on “My 600-Lb Life”, she seemed to have been making positive changes in her life. According to the posts on her social media, she looks like she’s been losing weight, mostly credited to the vital support she receives from her family.
One of the updates about her current affairs suggests that Mercedes started a Go Fund Me charity with the hopes of gaining $10,000 to undergo bariatric surgery on her own, but, unfortunately, it seems the fund secured less than $200 and has since been taken down.
While there is nothing significant to report on Mercedes’ life as it is now, it does seem that appearing on “My 600-Lb Life” had a positive effect on Cephas, possibly motivating her to continue progressing towards a better, healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Now’s medical etiquette, and the fact that he operates on at-risk patients, is certainly questionable, and because of this, the good doctor has often faced malpractice lawsuits.
Because Mercedes did not qualify for bariatric surgery, Dr. Now send her packing. However, most reports and updates concerning Cephas’s current well-being, she continued to show positive weight loss
Obesity is a major problem in the US, and while Dr. Now is trying to fight the ongoing epidemic, not everything is as rosy as it seems on “My 600-Lb Life”, but if the darker side to medicine does not bother you, you could feel free to catch the latest episodes of “My 600-Lb Life”.