TLC’s new reality replacement for the Gosselins: an obese family

TLC’s new reality show premiered last night. Called “One Big Happy Family” it chronicles a family of four in North Carolina, The Coles, in which everyone is obese. Hearing about this concept made me uncomfortable as it sets off “exploitative” bells. Savannah resident Ruby Gettinger has a reality show on The Style Network and from what I’ve seen it’s a sympathetic look into what a very large person has to go through. If handled well this show could be similar. It’s probably full of scripted moments meant to highlight their “otherness” however, like the clip available on Radar in which the Coles realize they’re too big to go on a ride at a water park. I think we can safely assume that the outing was set up by producers to ramp up the drama.

The show has really changed the Cole family’s outlook and health and they’re all losing weight and eating more fruits and vegetables now. In an interview with Radar, they talk about their new healthy lifestyle. The Cole family is made up of mom Tameka, 36, 380 lbs, dad Norris, 41, 340 lbs, daughter Amber, 16, at 348 lbs and son Shayne, 14, 308 lbs. They have all lost a good deal of weight and those may be their “before” weights, I can’t tell. TLC doesn’t have a website page for “One Big Happy Family” yet. Maybe they’re airing some pilot shows and waiting to see if there’s enough interest in a full season.

In an exclusive interview with the Coles spill about what they are doing to shed the weight, how they have changed their lives and eating habits and how much they have lost already.

The Coles say that they have drastically changed their lifestyle and eating habits after Shane was diagnosed as being borderline diabetic. Tameka says it was the wake-up call they all needed, “We decided that we were all going to get healthier, to pull together as a family, let’s face it, we needed it!”

Now in place of a sugary, high carb diet of pancakes and candy and pies the Coles are shopping at local farmers’ markets and replacing the junk with nutritious, organic food. Gone are the days of eating out at fast food restaurants five times a week, and Tameka says, “We’ve drastically changed portion sizes and there’s no junk food in the house at all. Norm even threw his big old fryer away.”

Typical day of food now? Bowl of Cheerios for breakfast, spinach wrap for lunch and grilled chicken and veggies for dinner. In addition the Coles are exercising for the first time in years, starting off with family walks, gym sessions, basketball and progressing eventually, Norris hopes, to cycling and maybe even a marathon!

And with their new diet comes a new philosophy, Norris says, “I’m teaching the kids to eat right, to look after their bodies, to live right.”

It’s not an easy transition for the family. Amber admits that it’s tough, saying, “You have this image of yourself and you think you’re never going to change and then you start changing and you have to adjust, that’s hard.” Tameka says, “This is a struggle for us, every day is a struggle for us, but we keep each other motivated and we have to keep going.

And changing they are! Norris has lost 56lbs already, Tameka a whopping 67lbs, Shayne 40lbs and Amber 60lbs.

Although they’re all about healthy eating and exercise these days, the Coles still miss some aspects of the good old days. Tameka says she misses “fries” Shayne misses “generally potatoes”, Amber “lasagne” and Norris misses “the fried chicken I used to make.”

Amber says the motivator for doing the show was “We want to show people they are not alone, because there are others in our position. We don’t want people to think they’re the only ones because they’re not.”

[From Radar]

That’s really nice that they hope to help other people. I’ve only seen three clips from the show, the two that are here and the one on Radar, but I have a good impression of the family. They surely share an eating disorder but they also seem close knit and supportive. The clip below of their “truth night” is really cute and they seem to all get along well. There’s still something exploitive about the show, but if it ultimately helps them that’s what counts I guess. As Dustin Rowles on Pajiba notes, there’s a real joy in seeing people lose weight on “The Biggest Loser” and this could have a similar outcome. The question is – how long will this show last and what toll will it take on The Coles? They may lose a lot of weight and gain years on their lives, but will the mom and dad break up from all the stress?

Update: Here’s the Cole Family on The Today Show. They’re so nice!

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73 Responses to “TLC’s new reality replacement for the Gosselins: an obese family”

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  1. diva says:

    I never got the appeal of the Gosselins, so the same people that watched that will probably be interested in something so ridiculous.

  2. Tia C says:

    I never got the appeal of the Gosselins, either. Well, they are not very appealing people, lol! Enough reality shows already. When is this moronic trend going to stop?

    CB, Ruby is a resident of Savannah, not Austin. We are proud of her here!

  3. gg says:

    They seem like a sweet family. After watching the first video, I was thinking “holy sugarshock batman!” but it looks like it might resonate with many people who tend to eat out too much and don’t have good judgment regarding food choices or amounts.

  4. Cece says:

    Please say you’re joking. It’s bad enough there was a rediculous show celebritizing those Gosselin morons but now they’re trying to celebritize the obese. I have no sympathy for these people. They should be taking care of themselves instead of eating like pigs. Why should we feel bad for them? We shouldn’t be encouraging this nor should we be encouraging a false perception of how a body should look like. This is just a disgusting as the skeletons we see parading around hollywood.

  5. trollydolly says:

    If you starved your child and s/he developed health problems because of it, you would most likely face charges of neglect and cruelty. How then is it possible for parents who encourage their children to become morbidly obese seem to escape censure? Having a fat child is child abuse.

  6. OXA says:

    I watched the show last night and at first wondered what the hell it was going to be about. I watched the entire hour and it really was a good show that can help millions of Americans get real about their weight and health. They are a loving family struggling with food issues, giving up addictions and learning how to prepare and eat real foods. I will take this family any day over kate gosselin.

  7. pickelhaube says:

    I might watch this. Fat people fascinate me, and I’ve always been interested in what they eat and how they live. I’m just glad they are learning how to eat better, it makes a HUGE (lol no pun intended) difference, and really, once they get into it, eating healthy is so easy and so much more simple than eating crap all the time. I don’t consider Cheerios healthy though, God only knows how much high fructose corn syrup is in those things! The best way is being as all-natural as possible. I do that and am skinny and feel great. I am totally pulling for these people, once they lose some weight and realize they are gaining more than they are losing, they won’t miss junk food so much. I know I rarely ever eat it, and when I do I get so sick it’s not worth it, so it can be done. I hope they succeed! At least they’re trying.

  8. Jojo says:

    and trollydolly, I completely agree !!!!

  9. Celebitchy says:

    @Tia – I was working from memory and will correct that now, sorry! I should have double checked.

  10. Sara says:

    Well, now I feel much better about the pounds I gained over the Holidays. Thanks TLC!

  11. Maybe this will put the “real” back into “reality” TV. Everyone can relate to obesity at least to some extent. No one could relate to the Gosselins …

  12. guilty pleasures says:

    @cece, I don’t think we are to ‘celebritize’ them, I think we are just invited on their journey to healthier living. I watched both episodes last night and really like these people. They are a tad deluded, mom saying she is going to teach good eating habits while pouring extra oil on the the chicken filets was kind of odd…but overall I am pulling for them.
    Imagine what a feel good moment can be created when they reveal their goal weight bodies.
    This can only bode well for an obese nation. I like that they are doing it themselves (ostensibly) without professional nutritionists and trainers. This way people can identify and ‘play along.’
    GO FOR A WALK, put down the fries, live longer and better. Good for them!

  13. jennab says:

    ‘fat people fascinate me’ geez you say it like they’re a different species or new subhuman race. WTF! to be honest i too am fascinated on how people become so fat, or what leads some to become hoarders. but my thinking is this: what leads a person to reach that level of self destruction.

    i find the fat people fascinate me comment offensive.

  14. fitgirlboston says:

    @trollydolly – exactly…I can’t believe how many times I’ve seen obese parents feeding their small (and already overweight) children the same horrible processed, fried, trans-fat filled food that has obviously helped contribute to their weight problems. By the time those kids are old enough to know better and start making their own nutritional choices they will already be over-weight and unhealthy and will face an up-hill battle. I don’t understand how and why parents would do that to their children.

  15. lastwordlinda says:

    Overfeeding a child is abuse if it affects their health. But then so is overindulgence, failing to instill morals and values, not providing discipline and boundaries, not teaching a child how to handle money, that gratification and loving oneself doesn’t come from providing yourself with “things”…too bad this sounds like most kids these days which makes most parents a bunch of losers. I wonder what it’s going to look like 20 years from now when this generation of children have grown up and are wondering who is going to take care of them because their fat, overspending, self-indulgent, materialistic parents have either died of heart attacks or are to sick to function because of type 2 diabetes and are living in state-run nursing homes because they have wasted all their money on crap in the days when they were trying to one-up their neighbors.

  16. AlaskaJoey says:

    Damn, I wanted to watch this but my TV exploded this weekend and I’m not getting a new one until tonight. I am sadly obsessed with TLC/DHC programs about the morbidly obese. Based on what I’ve read so far though, it seems this family could benefit from a few visits with a nutritionist.

  17. KelBear says:

    Its just really sad that someone so young wieghs that much.

  18. pickelhaube says:


    I am sorry that you are offended, but fat people do fascinate me. As someone who CAN control their eating habits and made a lifelong commitment to eating right and being healthy, people who shovel junk into their gaping maws and sit on their cans 24/7 ARE like another species to me. I’m sorry if that is mean or offensive, but think about it…their mindset IS alien and fascinating because I just cannot comprehend it. They do deserve respect and support for trying to change though, and I do wish them the best, but I cannot and will not pretend that I feel any kinship with them or understand their struggles, because I don’t. I’m sure they’d be shocked and appalled with my lifestyle…hell, I ALREADY get shit from people all the time about what I eat, how much I eat, how skinny I am, because there are more people who look like this family than there are of me, so maybe I’M the “subhuman” freak here? I sure f*cking feel like it every time I go out to dinner or go anywhere where food is being served….so maybe I can understand a little. That’s why I wish them the best.

  19. hatsumomo says:

    I ave an interest in this. Hmm, maybe when the first few episodes come out, I’ll download them. And I freely admit, I have a curiosity about obese people too. Mainly because the people who surround me, my family ( my mother and sisters) and my man and friends aren’t overweight. So I have no idea what an obese person’s house looks like, or what they eat( well, I have a general idea but I want specifics) how does the daughter go out and shop for clothes? Or hang with her friends? Does the son play any sports? Skateboard? Basketball? I’m really curious!

  20. Essie says:

    I meant to watch the shows but forgot to mark them on my DVR. No matter. The shows will be repeated over and over. I think it would be interesting to watch them learn to eat healthy and lose weight. They could help a lot of people.

  21. irishserra says:

    Actually, I think this will be a refreshing change from the whole Jon & Kate garbage. No doubt this will also end in disaster, but I like Fat to Fit success stories, and wish this family the best. I forgot it was on, and I missed it. Boo.

  22. GatsbyGal says:

    I was gonna say “TLC isn’t gonna have that show for very long unless those people lose weight” but it’s nice to read that the family is taking steps to be healthier. I’m about 240lbs myself, so their plight kinda hits close to home. I’m curious about how they put the weight on (overeating, not working out, health issues, etc).

  23. Tia C says:

    No apologies necessary, CB! Just wanted to correct it before someone else did it less nicely – but no one did that, so oh well.. :)

  24. RhymesWithSilver says:

    I watched the first episode and I really like these people- I come from a heavy family myself, and while you might know you’re fat and be unhappy about it, it’s hard to change unless everyone in your environment supports it. You just think “We’re fat- that’s it.” I lost weight when I went away to college. I can’t imagine my family having banded together to improve our collective health, so I really admire the Coles.

  25. moi says:

    great. another reason for the masses of self-righteous, middle class to feel superior to the lower classes. a lot of the contributing factors of morbid obesity come from socio-political issues, lack of education and poverty. It is a sad, cyclical predicament.

  26. RAMONA says:

    Uh… Yeah…and I am gonna watch this dumb a$$ show on the tenth of NEVER!! Let me go mark this one on my calendar…

  27. GatsbyGal says:

    @pickelhaube – No worries, I don’t mind answering! First and foremost, I don’t exercise. Like, at all. And I’m not an overeater, but the food I do eat isn’t very healthy. That, and I drink a LOT of soda, so that’s all just extra calories that I don’t ever burn off.

    The one time I did spend any amount of time exercising (my senior year of high school – I wanted to make sure my prom dress would fit, haha), I actually lost a decent amount of inches from my waist. Didn’t even change my diet. But then I went to college so all that work went out the window. :P

    I know that if I just went to Curves to work out a few times a week, I’d start to see a difference, and then would want to work out more. And I’m 24, so I’m getting to be that age where I really should start to think about the effect this weight is going to have on my body.

  28. pickelhaube says:


    Thanks for answering! Yeah, the soda is the worst thing ever, I stopped drinking it when I was 17 (I’m 27 now) and I lost 10lbs without doing anything else. And now if I have a sip, I get horrible stomach pains, so I don’t miss it. My rule is to rarely if ever drink anything with any calories (only exception is 100% grapefruit juice no sugar added), so I drink a gallon of water a day and black coffee and unsweet iced tea. I imagine it’s easy to gain weight, especially if you don’t suffer from crippling stomach pain and digestive issues like me (which keeps me from eating like 99% of junk food), but honestly, I know it’s hard and I can sympathize. I hate exercising too, it f*cking SUCKS! But I suggest dropping the soda, even diet since too much aspartame/nutrasweet can cause MS-like symptoms (and made my stepdad’s actual MS worse when he drank it). I wish I had a scanner because I have a book that talks about how toxic those fake sweeteners are, it’s some scary sh*t. But if you do a little bit here and there it won’t seem so hard. I hope you get to a place where you’re comfortable and healthy and just don’t give up! SOMETHING is always better than nothing, and it can be done. Best of luck!

  29. Anastasia says:

    I’m having more and more of a problem with TLCs lineup. If it’s not the Gosselins, it’s two or three other massively large families (as in number of kids). If it’s not the Rohloffs, it’s three or FOUR other little people shows, that I think are fairly insulting in their basic premise (look! little people are married! Some have KIDS! THESE even have a candy factory! Like the Ooompah Looompahs in Willie Wonka! Oh HAR HAR HAR!).

    And now this?

    Seriously, it’s nothing but the Gawk At THESE Freaks channel. And I’m not calling them freaks. I think TLC is. No matter how well-intentioned the formatting seems. It’s gross.

  30. JustV says:

    I really wish this family the best of luck on their goals to become healthier together, but I question the choice of exposing teenage children to the whims and ridicule of a nation of reality show addicts. I’m sure plenty of people in their home environment can be/have been cruel to the kids because of their weight, but now there will be millions of other teenagers who may be anonymously criticizing them online. That may be a bit much for a child to handle. But, on the other hand, maybe the positive comments from strangers and family support will be enough to sustain them.
    Either way, I won’t be watching the show. I’ve resigned from all forms of un-’reality’ television.

  31. Tazina says:

    Not exactly unique are they…..

  32. Novaraen says:

    I totally agree with Trollydolly!!

    It saddens me to see obese children…because I KNOW it isn’t their fault.

  33. Fitgirlboston says:


    You’re not a freak…I eat clean year round and follow a very stict diet when getting ready for a show (cutting all artificial sweetners, carbonation etc). There are actually people in the world who’s whole entire life doesn’t revolve around food. I still have friends that get on my case about my eating (or not eating certain foods) — as somebody who also has stomach issues I completely feel your pain. You don’t need to over eat everytime you go out – it is possible to socialize & have fun while eating a salad :-}

  34. Dhavy says:

    The Today Show had them on yesterday I think and the show already ended and I think it’s only one season. Anyway, all of them lost an average of 60 lbs and that’s better than nothing. When you this type of show or something like the Biggest Looser you realize that there’s a problem with kids in America. We can argue all we want about our food preferences and working out but the fact remains that a lot of people like them (and even us)are sitting in front of a computer or TV instead of doing some type of activity. Point is, that it does inspire some people to get up and so something

    I rather watch that that some stupid girl called Snooki from NJ

  35. BiggieShortie says:

    @ lastwordlinda- DAMN that was harsh, but you DID make some excellent points.

  36. GatsbyGal says:

    @pickelhaube – Thanks for the well-wishes! :)

    I think at this point I’m only drinking so much soda because I get wicked headaches otherwise. I’ll probably have to start weaning myself off of ‘em pretty soon. Not looking forward to it, haha.

  37. yae says:

    I still find it horrifying that people think all overweight people are pigs.

    Many overweight people have a “fat gene”, and would have to nearly starve, plus do intense cardiovascular everyday just to look “normal”.

    Actually the world would have less of a food shortage if only genetically fat gene people were left on it. They can maintain their weight on just a bowl of cereal a day. They don’t require 3 meals or more like genetically skinny people do to survive.

    Genetically thin people who can’t gain weight easily eat like PIGS just to stay somewhat normal. Why don’t you scoff at them CeCe? They can consume 5x times the amount of the average person a day. But of course they aren’t “pigs”, right? Only the fat people are.

  38. Kathie says:

    @pickelhaube sorry your digestive upsets cause you so much distress, I am glad you are on a good path with your eating, @Gatsbygirl good for you kiddo, it sounds like you have a handle on the “why”. Both of you might like Ruby on Style network, she is so intelligent and forthright about her issues and is surrounded by loving friends to help her, she is truly inspirational to watch. If you get BBC watch “You are what you eat” with Gillian McKeith if you want to be bashed over the head with a healthy diet, she is rough but is a strong advocate of feeding your child correctly and the first person I ever heard identify fat children as victims of “food abuse”

  39. Firestarter says:

    Give me Celebrity Fit Club over this show any day.

    Yeah, I watch CFC! *hangs head* Sadly, I am looking forward to the new season in 2010!

  40. BSK says:

    yae. That fat gene thing is such a cop out. Many people will never be skinny that’s true. But no ‘fat’ gene can prevent you from being healthy. And within a reasonable health rage.
    Disease and health problems can, but majority of people who are obese do not have these things (even though the majority always claim they are indeed apart of that minority – statistically many people are lying to themselves)

  41. Lee says:

    @ 25. Morbid obesity cannot be blamed on politics. People need to stop blaming the government for everything and own up to their own actions.

  42. Catherine says:

    Oh joy. Another tv show to flip past.

  43. alecto says:

    The Holier than thou people are coming out the wood work aren’t they?

  44. Shannon says:

    Obesity is a symptom of poverty. It really sickens me that so many people here are talking about obese people as being lazy pigs. Do you have any idea how much fresh produce costs compared to preservative-laced, high-fat staple foods? Have you been to a grocery store in the last 5 years?! To eat healthy, you need to have money. Some people simply cannot afford to eat well. And it’s not because they’re lazy, it’s because they cannot find better work because they received a piss-poor public education (which did not include nutrition lessons). They have been failed by the system so many times over, it’s no wonder this is such an issue.
    All of you judgmental, pompous asses are just ignorant and spiteful. Beauty is only skin-deep, and some of you are rotten inside.
    And for the record, I also have digestive issues in the form of very serious acid reflux. I have to work very hard to gain weight. Being judged for some perceived case of anorexia isn’t exactly thrilling either.

  45. alecto says:

    u people don’t know how hard it is to stay in shape. i love fresh vegetables and greens. it’s hard to prepare that for myself and my family because i work more that 60 hours a week. i can’t afford it cuase i’m struggling to keep up with the middle class people. no end situation. it would benefit me sooooo much to be in shape with my job. but where am i gonna get something affordable and healthy to eat at 2 in the morning?

  46. Alex Esparza says:


    You are so right. Anyone who doubts what you’re saying should read *Fast Food Nation.* There are far more fast food restaurants in poor communities. Why? Because grocery stores refuse to locate there, and the Fast Food places know that they have a guaranteed revenue stream.

  47. juliana says:

    That is a crock!
    It does not cost more to eat healthy!
    Look at the price of junk food, and compare that to fruits and vegetables.
    Saying healthy food costs more is a cop-out.

  48. GatsbyGal says:

    @Shannon – if anyone ever recieves a poor public education, it’s because they WANTED a poor public education. I went to the same high school and took the same classes as my peers who now work at Burger King with three kids and no clue where Russia is on a world map. It’s because they chose to goof off during school, not come to class, and generally not give a shit about their own education – whereas I listened in class, did my work, took an interest in my studies. It’s not difficult. If you want to learn and succeed at school, you do it.

    @Juliana – Agreed! I went to Arby’s yesterday with my boyfriend, and you know what it cost me for two people’s worth of food? $17! I have to imagine buying a couple potatoes, a can of green beans, and a chicken breast would cost less than that.

  49. daisy says:

    there is no hfcs in cheerios. here is a cereal list with no hfcs. • Cheerios
    • Giant brand Instant Oatmeal – most flavors
    • Kashi (most, if not all)
    • Life ceral (regular and cinnamon)
    • Nature’s Pride Organic (most, if not all, varieties)
    • Kellogg’s Reduced Sugar Froot Loops
    • Trader Joe’s Graham Bites Cereal

  50. NicoleAM says:

    I doubt i’ll be tuning in but yes, some people are born gentically predisposed to some body type or the other. I’ve been pin thin since I was 5 or so. I’ve filled out a wee bit since then but it’s a real effort to gain weight. I admit I don’t shovel food into my mouth 24/7 but what I do eat isn’t very low cal (think sweets, McD’s for lunch almost everyday)…also not too healthy since I have high cholesterol.
    But if the show is focused on an obese family and their struggle to lose weight I think that could benefit others. Although why any family would want to subject themselves to this….

  51. Mama S says:

    @ juliana: You might want to look more closely at prices in the grocery store. I guarantee you, a family size bag of store brand fish sticks is significantly cheaper than a few fresh filets, and that bag will provide more servings. Not to mention, in some stores in low income areas, you’d be hard pressed to find fresh fish anyway. You can get several boxes of store brand mac and cheese for $1 – what fresh food can you get for the same price? The big bag of off-brand cereal will cost much less than a dozen eggs and fresh fruits and provide more breakfast servings.
    I don’t know how many examples you’d need, but it’s been well-documented by people with more nutritional knowledge than I have that processed, boxed, less nutritional foods are cheaper and more plentiful than healthier fresh foods.

  52. Lway says:

    Christ. The crap that they air on TV these days …… :(

  53. SageAdvice says:

    I can say, as a college student who has the option to buy either processed items or fresh foods, even from Trader Joe’s, it costs much less to buy crap foods than fresh foods.

    You can buy friggin 20 boxes of ramen noodles for about $5 at the supermarket. A bag of grapes is about 3.99 a pound, if you want to buy organic, 5.99 a pound. And the bag is never under a pound. You couldn’t buy more than 6 oranges for that.

    The only “healthy” and cheap food out there is pasta and even that isn’t the healthiest thing.

    Not to mention, poorer areas have far more fast food restaurants, far more options to buy cheap, processed foods than wealthier areas. Why? Because educated, wealthier people tend to buy healthier foods. The market isn’t going to waste rent money on a store that can’t sell it’s wares because the people in the area can’t afford a six dollar bag of grapes.

    My mom was super poor at one time in our lives and we ate canned and frozen food all the time. Why? Because the fresh stuff was too expensive. And please don’t go on about “your local farmer’s market”. I’ve been to two “Farmer’s Markets” in my lifetime. One was on the edge of Westwood in Los Angeles and the other in Berkeley, CA. Both were more expensive than the supermarket.

  54. yae says:


    Yes there is a “fat gene”. Ask your local doctor.

    I have it. My mother was almost 400lbs. I have to jog 4x a week and only eat vegetables and meat to stay at 140lbs.

    If I ate ONE starch roll a day I would balloon up into infinity. My body FIGHTS to be fat.

    So really. You need to read medical facts before you spout off.

    So I ask again, are genetically skinny people who eat HUGE amounts of food a day PIGS?

  55. jzhz says:

    If you want to see for yourself, go to a grocery store in a poor neighborhood. They only stock crap; jugs of kool-aid, shitty cuts of poor-quality meat, almost NO produce, and lots of food in a box or package of some sort. Also, a lot of these places actually jack up the prices on a lot of the foods, because they know people don’t have transportation to get anywhere else.

    You try working a shitty job for 10h, getting on several buses to get back to your house, THEN finding time to shop for and prepare healthier foods. Oh wait, you’d have to actually understand and know what healthier foods are, first, and how to prepare them.

    After working a long day with uneducated, snobby people who look down on you simply because you aren’t them and haven’t had the privileges they’ve had, I’d wager it’s easier to walk off your bus and into a McDonald’s for dinner. This family may not even be representative of most of the 40% of our population that is obese. But you underestimate people’s circumstances and the addictive power of white foods (sugar, flour, etc). And you overestimate your ability to resist the same things, if you’d been dealt the same hand.

  56. yae says:

    For BSK
    “Lipin regulates how the body stores and burns fat. Our findings suggest that differences in lipin levels may play a role in why some people are more prone to weight gain than others who consume the same calories,” said principal investigator Karen Reue, Ph.D., a professor of medicine and human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

    “The mice with too much lipin in their fat tissue or muscles quickly grew obese – gaining more than twice the weight gained by the normal mice on the same diet,” said Reue.

  57. jzhz says:

    That study is 5 years old, but it has been shown that lipin is regulated by insulin. This means that if you acquire type II diabetes, it can throw everything off. This does NOT necessarily mean that you start off with too much/too little. The important thing is to find ways to maintain a healthy body weight (which looks different for each of us, of course), because once you tip the balance, all hell breaks loose in your body – mutation in one of the two lipin genes, or not.

  58. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Paying attention and doing your work is a necessity, yes. But being a good student and getting a good education are different things, so I don’t imagine that it’s a cut and dry case of ‘you reap what you sow’.

    I’m not American so I’m not entirely sure about how school funding works there. Isn’t it the case that funds are not distributed evenly and future funds are allotted with past performance in mind? I really don’t think that it’s the ‘ladies who lunch’ set that has to worry about their kids getting hoarded into overcrowded classrooms with out of date coursebooks. That sounds like the very definition of a self-perpetuating doom cycle to me, then.

    I guess that whatever side you take can seem robotic and condescending if you go too far. But that’s how it is, right? Personal responsibility plus outside forces beyond your control are always shaping your life.

  59. yae says:


    I will concur. Diabetes and insulin are linked to the fat gene. But skinny people get diabetes and some fat people (like my mother) never do.

    Starches, flours etc are poison to fat gene people. We swell when we eat it like a when an allergic person swells from a bug sting. Its fast and its obvious. And I’ve lived with it for 20 years.

    I literally have to run off my fat or I will die of obesity. And OMG I cannot be a vegetarian, it has too many carbs and its a DEATH sentence for me and I mean literally.

    Please people rethink your media brain- washing on obesity. And watch some of your skinny friends chow down for a few months ( the ones who never get cellulite)…….then tell me who eats more food and who uses more resources. Its NOT the fat people.

    JZHZ thanks for the imput )

  60. Aspie says:

    I wish this lovely family the best of luck in their weight loss endeavors. They seem like such a sweet and supportive unit and that’s the key ingredient that will help them to attain their weight loss successes.

    I also don’t think that they’re “abusing” their children by allowing them to be obese. Intentionally starving your child is a far worse crime than allowing them to overeat, especially if you are an obese parent yourself with lack of knowledge of better eating habits. Sure it is irresponsible, but I don’t think that qualifies as “abuse” rather I think it is just sheer ignorance.

    But this family is taking the right steps to overcome their ignorance when it comes to their eating habits and they should be praised for taking the right steps with their children to allow them to have healthier futures.

  61. jaundicemachine says:

    There is absolutely a link between socioeconomics and obesity. Just like there are very strong correlations between quality of education and life expectancy. Its dangerously ignorant to suggest otherwise.

    At the same time, I strongly believe in personal accountability, as well. America has an obesity crisis on our hands, and I don’t think it’s fair to saddle the majority with the cost of obesity related illnesses. (I say this coming from a family of overweight/obese people.) Regardless of your economic circumstance – you know that 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise is important for your health and wellbeing. If you decline to take a walk after dinner, you have no one but yourself to blame.

    I grew up poor – welfare poor. The markets we went to didn’t have a whole lot of fresh fruits and veggies, but my parents did what they could to make sure we had balanced meals most of the time. I never got a car on my sweet 16, so I had the option of hoofing it to high school or taking the bus. (You bet your bippy I walked!) In college, I lived farther away from campus (rent is outrageous in Madison), so I walked 4 miles roundtrip. Today, I’m still living on a student budget, but I’ll spend the extra .50 on the whole wheat noodles, and splurge for a gym membership. Because it’s worth it to me to have a healthy body, as opposed to a recliner and a big screen tv.

  62. WTF?!? says:

    Nice to see that overweight people remain the last safe bastion of prejudice. I can’t wait ’til the “pin thin” ands “disciplined” posters here get some injury, medical condition or job cut that wipes out their slim, trim figures that permit them to bash hard-working, kind, contributory members of society because they happen to be fat.
    You all disgust me.

  63. BK1Diva says:

    Thank you Jaundicemac,

    I live here in Oakland, California. In Oakland, almost every other street corner there is a liquor store, or corner store that lacks fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy snacks. There are no Trader Joe’s and other upscale grocery stores that do not carry processed foods. More over there is a Popeye’s, MacDonald’s, and various other unhealthy fast food chains. The few supermarkets that are around, like Lucky’s, Safeway, Foodmax, all carry foods that are not organic meats/vegetables and most of their food is processed, full with salt/sodium and in most cases do not carry healthier food items like Trader Joe’s and other upscale stores. If you go down the street to Berkeley, California or up in the Oakland Hills, you will not find hardly any fast food chains, nor will you find liquor stores and corner junk food stores, and you will find a Trader Joe’s, Berkeley Bowl/Farmer Joe’s all over! This is the same throughout communities in this country, in which there are people of color! If there were healthier stores and place for them to go to, they would go. In most cases, you have to have a car to get to open fresh markets, Trader Joe’s. We are talking about urban America, where the average low-income household does not own a car (Remember Katrina….most of them would had fled or left if the had vehicles) that rely on public transport and local amenities to survive. Although I am a person of color, my family owns more than one vehicle, and we are able to go to Trader Joe’s, open markets in the more upscale and affluent areas of Oakland/Berkeley. Demographics and poverty go hand in hand with obesity people!!! Wake Up!

  64. DD says:

    I’ve been borderline underweight my entire life, I don’t exercise and I consume my fair share of junk food. When I go on healthy lifestyle spells I look too emaciated, I have a relative who exercises like a junkie and eats healthy all the time it’s annoying, and she’s almost overweight. I know there’s a fat gene, if she didn’t exhaustively work out and eat like that she’d be overweight. I feel bad for her because I know I couldn’t live like that, so I have compassion for these people.

  65. BSK says:

    yae, maybe you should reread what I said. I didn’t say it didn’t exist. I said it’s a cop out to use it as an excuse for being healthy, that’s not a denial. Even if you’re gain weight easier, no reason not to exercise and still eat the right food. It’s more insensitive for it infact.
    People with health condition normally take precautions the rest of the population don’t so as the be healthy. If you’re predisposed to obesity why wouldn’t you work harder so as not to become hugely unfit and obese and unhealthy.

  66. Ben says:

    A lot of people would be less overweight if they just did one simple thing – switch from juice and soft drinks to water. I have obese friends who consume 3 or more cans of soft drink a day. If you switch to water (almost free from the tap) they’d be cutting out around 350 calories of sugar a day.

    Aside from a poverty issue, there are people who’s parents did a poor job teaching them proper habits and don’t know any different.
    I think overfeeding your child to the point of obesity is as bad as underfeeding them.

  67. PigskinMama says:

    Who cares about their weight, live and let live. They seem like a nice family and they’re real. Why do we always feel the need to fix everybody on tv especially their appearance and weight.
    And thank God it’s not another tlc show about a family with a gazillion kids running around.

  68. juliana says:

    I was poor growing up, didn’t have a car, and I had to walk and ride the bus,while carting my infant son, diaper bag, and other stuff. So I don’t buy that excuse.
    You don’t have to buy organic foods, either. It seems like some here think the only option is shopping at a high-end grocery store or fast food.
    Buying healthy food on a budget can be done. In my opinion, most people use excuses for being overweight. I’m sure there may be a fat gene, but the overweight people I have known eat WAY too much and sit on their backsides all day, and they wonder why they are overweight.


  70. Jersey says:

    Damn, I wanted to watch this but my TV exploded this weekend and I’m not getting a new one until tonight. I am sadly obsessed with TLC/DHC programs about the morbidly obese. Based on what I’ve read so far though, it seems this family could benefit from a few visits with a nutritionist.

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