by Tiffany White
You’d think after the participants on My 600-lb Life miraculously shed hundreds of pounds that their married lives would improve. But judging by their updates, most end up getting a divorce.
In fact, it’s so common, some weight loss patients call it “Bariatric Divorce,” and one study even said most couples separate within two years after the severe weight loss surgery takes place.
“In general, we know, after bariatric surgery, that people tend to feel much better about themselves,” David Sarwer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Seattle Times.
“Intuitively, we would think if one partner is feeling better that would only help the marriage. But what we have found is that weight and weight loss can actually play a more complicated role in a marriage or romantic relationship.”
That was made clear by many past participants on the show that, after slimming down, they started to see strains on their marriages, with many eventually leading to divorce.
Many of the women cite several reasons, from their husbands being “jealous” of their weight loss to codependent boyfriends feeling no longer needed.
For Zsalynn Whitworth, her husband actually enabled her bad eating habits because he liked “bigger women.” When they eventually separated, Zsalynn said it was because her husband no longer wanted to be with the “new” her, which is a common theme amongst couples who separate after weight loss.
“Weight loss isn’t just physical,” therapist Shyamala Kiru said. “So much of it is mental, the boost in self-esteem and confidence. When you feel different about yourself, you make different choices.”
Fortunately, many of the ladies have moved on and, in addition to being 300 pounds slimmer, have found new partners. Below, an update on past participants and their relationship statuses.
In 2014, when she started her weight loss journey, Zsalynn’s husband wasn’t exactly supportive. On the show, he admitted to liking “bigger women” and was worried that Zsalynn was going to change into someone he didn’t like.
He even tried to sabotage her goals by refusing to buy her a salad once. “I’m not buying you a salad,” he told her at the time. “If you want to eat grass, you can go in the garden and graze.”
During her 2015 “Where Are They Now?” special, she announced that she and her husband had gotten a divorce. “[My husband] hasn’t found much good in my changes,” she said on the show. “It’s time for us to admit it’s over.”
Today, she’s still continuing her weight loss and is apparently dating a new man.
Although her husband Gilbert Donovan took care of her while she was bedridden for 10 years, fans weren’t happyat how he treated her. One particular instance that shocked everyone was when he forced her to have sex right after she had skin removal surgery, which caused her stitches to open and become infected. Although Lupe originally defended her husband to haters, when she found out he was cheating on her during her weight loss journey, she decided to leave.
“I’m done with his cheating, his drinking, and his abuse,” she said at the time. “I’ve seen that as I lose weight more, it’s getting worse. His insecurities, his jealousy. That’s not a life for me.”
Today, she’s 300 pounds slimmer and, according to herFacebook, dating a new man.
Although Laura (who now goes by the name Angelika Laura) fulfilled her goal of losing 300 pounds, the journey ended up costing her marriage. On the show, she admitted that her husband Joey became “jealous” of her weight loss.
Joey explained that, after years of being Laura’s caregiver, he felt “pushed out” at her new independence. “The better I get, the worse my relationship is getting,” Laura said at the time. “[Joey] acts a little different, like ‘Oh, you don’t need me.’ I had told him, ‘I need you to support me not take care of me.'”
Although on the show the couple seemed optimistic that they could make it work, on Laura’s Facebook it appears she’s dating someone new. “The luv of my life,” she captioned the above photo.
During her weight loss journey, she lived at home with her parents and her boyfriend, Rowdy, who assisted her and drove her to the grocery store for more food.
Many fans saw him as an enabler. “I do feel guilty,” Rowdy said on the show about giving in to Amber’s eating addiction. “But what else do you do when you love someone?”
Amber later explained that Rowdy “preferred bigger women,” and so he didn’t mind the weight gain. However, after dropping an impressive 400+pounds, she and Rowdy split up. In 2016 when she shared a pic of herself showing off an engagement ring, she said the ring was from a new guy who’s now her husband.
However, Amber says there’s no bad blood between her ex. “In defense of Rowdy, my ex who was on the show: who do y’all think is taking pictures of me at the gym?” she wrote on Twitter. “He IS a good, supportive friend.”