Sid and Monica

Not long ago, Childhood Obesity News discussed partners and enablers, and the concept of codependency. Thanks to the television reality show called “My 600-lb Life,” some light might be thrown on these complicated situations.

When Monica Riley weighed 700 pounds, her ambition was to reach 1,000 pounds (453 kilograms, or half a ton). Her ultimate goal was to become not only the world’s fattest woman, but completely immobile. To this end, she consumed between 6,000 and 8,000 calories each day. At one point, she wavered, and started to prepare for gastric bypass surgery, but rallied and came back to the doctrine of fat acceptance.

Lacking any historical awareness of the actual of the lives of female royals, Riley dreamed of being treated like a queen. Not realizing that a queen’s job description sometimes involves starving in a dark cell awaiting the executioner’s sword, she looked forward to being waited on and catered to. However, she was knowledgeable in other areas, and pointed out to journalist Jess Beach,

They actually make beds with like areas where you can actually use the restroom, and Sid would help me.

In other words, she had an ally standing by, ready to clean and replace the bucket under a customized bed with a hole in it. Sid is Monica Riley’s boyfriend, although disparagers would call him by other names. He made special weight-gain shakes and poured them into her through a funnel while whispering “I believe in you.” He measured her 90-inch waistline with pride, and took pictures of her that sold for astonishing amounts of money.

What’s up with these lovebirds? Perhaps in previous incarnations they both belonged to societies (found in Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia) that practiced the custom of leblouh, force-feeding girls and women to attain a standard of culturally mandated morbidly obese beauty. (When people do this to geese and hunger-striking prisoners, it’s called gavage.)

In Monica’s heaviest days, Sid was quoted as as saying that he would support his girlfriend no matter what:

I don’t see myself becoming less attracted to Monica. I’m not attracted to just her body. I’m attracted to her as a person — as a whole complete person.

Such devotion seems like a good thing, right? Why would anyone object? Well, because none of this is sane or healthy for either of them. But if Sid’s willingness to cooperate were open to negotiation, would that be a red flag? Or would it prove an astonishingly strong love?

When his partner went ahead and changed her mind about a crucial aspect of their future plans, did it rock this enabler’s world? Thanks to the ever-present media, the rest of us will no doubt have the chance to find out.

Baby makes three

The couple had discussed parenthood, and there had been one or more miscarriages. Monica apparently accepted the idea that she was not destined for motherhood. But then she fell pregnant, and everything changed.

This was, she later declared, “the main jump-start to losing weight.” She got down to 520 pounds, gave birth to a 7-weeks-premature daughter, continued to lose weight, and had attained 465 pounds by March of this year.

The news garnered thousands of YouTube comments, including one from a smart aleck claiming that Riley looked the same at 465 pounds as she had at 700, and one that said, “Imagine growing up to watch your dad funnel feed your mum on the internet.”

Riley is shown playing on the floor with the baby, and out pushing the stroller. Now, she wants weight loss surgery, but still seems conflicted, saying, “I don’t want to get that skinny, you know. I like it. It’s just comfortable for me, you know, being the chubby girl or the fat girl.” Self-acceptance is a beautiful thing, but this degree of ambivalence does not bode well for the future.

What about the faithful Sid, who had been totally on board with the 1,000-pound project, and who had always said, “Don’t do it for me, don’t do it for anyone else”? In the world domination days, he encouraged Monica to follow her heart and do what she needed to do.

Apparently, he was converted to equal enthusiasm about the new weight loss regime. Does this make him a villain or a hero? Is this partnership insanity, or the most perfect love? Maybe it only proves again what the art of psychology has come to regard as a profound truth. Before she can change, a person needs to be accepted for herself.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Boyfriend admits he is ‘proud’ to help his morbidly obese girlfriend gain more weight,”, 11/13/17
Source: “700lb woman who wanted to be immobile is turning her life around after falling pregnant,”, 09/05/17
Source: “700 lb BBW yo 465 lb Proud Mum,”, 03/19/18
Photo credit: Renaud Torres on Visualhunt

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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