General chatter - "Inside the Brookhaven Obesity Clinic" TLC program

05-11-2007, 03:09 PM
Anyone else watching this weekly series? Thoughts?
Personally, I don't understand the administrator allowing cheaters to stay in the program. IF he really views these people's weight issues as a food addiciton, and is trying to treat the addiction (like he says he is), then those cheating should be asked to leave! This is how it works in other addiction centers, so why not this one?

05-11-2007, 03:34 PM
I haven't seen this series, when is it on, and what network is it on?

My guess would be that they would have few patients (paying customers) if they kicked out anyone who wasn't perfect. Even when food is an addiction, it is unlike any other addiction as complete abstinence is not possible. I imagine that any other addiction would be as difficult to treat if the addict physically "needed" to have "some" but not "too much" of any other substance. Where do you draw the line between enough and too much. For anything but food, the answer is easy "too much," is "any." You can't do that with food.

People have tried by defining the addiction as one of carbs, or sugar, or refined carbs, or processed food (any of which a person can, technically, if not practically avoid completely), but in real life, it can be very difficult in some circumstances to even know whether the food available contains a "forbidden" substance. Imagine if going into a restaurant meant that your food "might" contain cocaine?

05-11-2007, 03:46 PM
I haven't seen the show myself, but I did read about this on another thread recently (although of course I can't find it now!). Apparently, the doctor believes that people are going to cheat anyway...but at least if they are in the clinic he can still try to help them whereas if they are not in the clinic they are eating just as much, or more, and not getting ANY help. That may not be "exactly" his words or whatnot, but that's what I remember reading on the other thread.

05-11-2007, 04:44 PM
I saw this program on once but didn't realize it was a weekly series. I'll try to catch it again.

05-11-2007, 05:39 PM
TLC is the network - follow this link for the schedule:
I think the addictive substances in food are sugars, salt, and fat. I don't think too many people binge-eat on carrots or salad. It seems to be fast foods and candy/junk. So, in my opinion, the theory that food addiction is impossible to deal with because we all have to eat is like saying that alcohol addiction is impossible to deal with because we all need to have liquid. You can choose the food that you eat, and avoid the addictive components (fat, sugar, salt) just like you can drink OJ and avoid the rum or gin, as difficult as that is for those who are addicted.
ANYWAYS, I don't know of too many alcohol treatment centers that let you smuggle in a 40 oz-er. On the last episode, they showed one woman who, every EVENING, orders delivery food (chinese, pizza, gyros, etc). And eats it in the treatment center. AND goes around to those bedridden patients and gets orders from them and DELIVERS the food to them. I don't know of ANY addiction treatment center that would let you, say, call your dealer for some crack, pick it up at the front door, and then distribute it to the other clients of the center, and THEN, once CAUGHT on TAPE, let you not only stay, but permit you to continue to do it because, after all, you will face the same situation in real life. One of their clients has actually GAINED over 200 LBS while at the center. And he is still there, and the center is still getting its money! I think that treatment centers work for those who want help, and if you want to cheat/not partake of the program, you should be asked to leave. It might be part of "hitting bottom" for some people...

05-12-2007, 12:53 AM
I didn't say impossible, I said difficult, which is an important distincton. Not having seen the series and without clarification, I assumed the "cheating" mentioned referred to what I consider typical diet difficulties and slip-ups. The type that might slow loss, but definitely not result in a gain. As long as progress is being made, I think there is justification in continuing treatment, even if the person has problems adhering strictly to the program. When dealing with illegal behaviors such as drub abuse, there is more reason to be less tolerant, though having worked in the field for years, I know that there are half-way houses and treatment centers that do not in every case kick the person out of treatment after the first or even second relapse during treatment.

Considering the type of "cheating" you are talking about, and especially the one patient's 200 lbs gain, it seems obvious that the center has at best, questionable ethics. But does that really surprise anyone, considering the hospital administration (no doubt for a lot of money) allow their work and the patients' lives to be examined and exposed for public entertainment? It doesn't take much thought to realize that the main motivator here is money. If everyone is cooperating with treatment, there is a lot less drama, so it is in their best interest to keep these patients on for dramatic effect.

Reality television is never "real," because the camera's very presence changes behavior even without the producers of these shows "coaching" the participants, which is typical as I understand it.

As for addictive components in food being avoidable, that's true, but more difficult than for other addictive substances. Most illicit drug addictions have a better success rate than alcohol addiction, because they are easier to avoid than alcohol and tobacco. It isn't a big leap to realize that availability and social acceptability play a role in the ability to combat an addiction. Loved ones are more likely to push food than alcohol, and more likely to push alcohol than cocaine.

And while you can avoid salt, sugar, and fat completely (though you need some fat), you still have to remain in the environment where these are present. The first thing they tell drug addicts is to avoid ANY situations in which their drug of choice will be available. Alcoholics are pretty much told the same thing, though treatment acknowledges that this may be difficult at times, and you might occasionally enter a situation in which others are drinking. But with food, avoiding the presence of addictive substances is very difficult if you ever leave your own house. It is different, because no one would encourage an alcoholic to work in a liquor store.

05-12-2007, 07:29 PM
I've seen the show a few times. I get why "cheaters" are allowed to stay--so they have assistance with working through their addictions. I don't get why if the "guest" falls off the wagon they're not helped back on.

Really, I'm saddened by what these folks have to go through and am left wondering at what point they decided to stop moving and keep overeating. I'm overweight and got this way by overeating, but I somehow knew I needed to stop and get healthy.