Monday, May 30, 2011

Wondering about "Half Ton Dad"

Whatever happened to Kenneth Brumley, also known as the "Half Ton Dad" on TLC/Discovery Health shockumentaries about morbidly obese people? Is he dead? Or if he's still alive, has he re-gained all of his weight, plus more?

I'm not a doctor, but in my years of experience as a food addict, I can tell you that unless some very DRASTIC changes took place in Kenneth's life, he had weight gain and/or death to look forward to after he left the Renaissance Hospital. I wish I could say something different, but I know how powerful food addiction is. It's way too much for any one person to handle by him or herself. Besides, Kenneth didn't have a supportive environment waiting for him at home after he was released from the hospital. Granted, the program only provided the audience with glimpses of his home life. For all we know, his girlfriend, her children, his children and grandchildren all eat lean protein, plenty of fresh veggies and fruit, and whole grains on most days. I doubt this, however. Although some of the family seemed to be of a normal weight, they were shown heartily chowing down on very high fat/calorie fast food. In the first video, Kenneth talks about eating three cheeseburgers and drinking two liters of soda. He didn't specify what kind of cheeseburger, but one Big Mac provides nearly half the calories that a healthy person should eat in one day.

Don't believe me? I'm not a dietician of course, but here's the nutritional breakdown:

My guess is that when the Big K said three cheeseburgers, he wasn't talking about the small ones that come with onions and pickles. He was talking about the BIG ONES, the triple cheeseburgers, or the "Angus" burgers that come with heaping amounts of extra stuff--extra cheese, grilled mushrooms, the proverbial lettuce, onions and tomatoes (personally, when I thought of vegetables, that is what I thought of--the stuff on top of a burger.) Yeah, you get the idea. That's what I was talking about when I said the word "cheeseburger". I could only handle one with some small fries and a medium chocolate shake. Even THAT was a helluva a lot of food, and trust me, that wasn't my only meal of the day.

This is what Angela used to eat when she went to McDonald's (pre-food addiction recovery):

Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese: 9.8 oz; 740 calories, 380 calories from fat(or 42% of the total daily amount of fat recommended for a healthy diet);

small fries: 2.5 oz; 230 calories, 100 calories from fat or 11% of the daily amount of fat (we are now over half the amount of fat that a person should have in one day)

one 16 fluid ounce Chocolate Triple Thick Shake: 580 calories (we are now OVER the recommended amount of calories/fat for effective weight loss for one day with this meal!); 120 calories are from fat, or 14% of the daily amount.

That's JUST one meal! And I ate three big ones every day!

So, you want an example of breakfast and dinner? Let's see...on the same day I might make a large cereal bowl of grits with LOTS of butter or margarine (Don't ask me how much; I never measured anything!) four scrambled eggs with green onions and mushrooms (scrambled with a LOTS of butter or margarine) and four pieces of whole grain, honey wheat toast with LOTS of butter or margarine. Do you see the pattern here?

For dinner I might "take it easy" and get a large bowl of creamy tomato soup, about 4-6 more slices of that honey wheat bread, and slice up a half pound of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Sometimes I would make a grilled cheese sandwich (with LOTS of butter or margarine); sometimes I would be "too tired" and just eat the bread and cheese.

I'll let you figure out the calorie count for my three meals. I am now officially depressed. And more than likely, I had ice cream or cookies and milk at some point during the day, too.

What I'm showing you, folks, is Angela's recipe for packing on 400 pounds of weight. Kenneth said he ate THREE cheeseburgers, and he thought that was eating light. Well, basically, BOTH of us are very sick food addicts, in my opinion. I was headed down the path that Kenneth was on (and perhaps still is). I pray that this isn't the case, but people being who they are, change is extremely difficult for most of us. It certainly has been for me. And I still stumble and fall back into some of my old behaviors. Thank God, nothing like how I used to eat. But if I wasn't in a program that has been helping me recover from food addiction, I wouldn't be where Kenneth is,(or was, whatever the case may be). I wouldn't have made it that far up the scale. Dead. That's where I would be. I KNOW this.

As for the second video, I included this because I thought what brotha man (Larry Cooper) said about his food summed up why I ate addictively:
This is me and MY world. I love my food; I appreciate my food. Once you eat, everything goes away, all the pain,all the misery...(Points to the various food items on his plate, but what he says is unclear at first)...everything is gonna be all right. Everything is gonna be all right. This is like "home sweet home"; it's like another dimension, "The Twilight Zone".

Yep. I hear you, Larry. I understand what you're saying, believe me. And "there by the grace of God go I..."

For more information about food addiction, please visit:
Food Addicts In Recovery (FA)

Post script: I searched for an update on Larry Cooper, too. Nothing, not even on the former-TLC-now-known-as-Discovery-Health channel. What's up with that, Discovery Health? Do you have any intention of providing follow up programs to see how these folks are doing? Do you even care, or are they just the perennial "circus freaks"? I think I know the answer to that.


  1. Hi:
    I can appreciate how difficult it is to lose weight. I am in the process this summer of losing 10 to 15 pounds on my way to my total loss of 50 pounds. I cannot imagine the difficult job that Kenneth has ahead of him.

  2. Some very alarming body image issues and finding ways to deal with emotional pain with food.
    This article points out the dangers associated with Larrys weight."

  3. Hi there! I really want to know Kenneth's outcome, too. I pray he is alive and seeing successful results. I saw a program about the Half Ton Mom - Renee, and came online today to see how her story turned out. I was so saddened to learn she died of a massive heart attack 12 days after her gastric bypass surgery, I hoped so much that she would get a shot at life again.

    Please let me know if you read this, I don't know if you check it since it was posted over a year ago. I want to tell you I feel for you, and pray for you to have health blessings and get to where you want to be. If I can help you with my own story, let me know, I'd love to encourage you and help you as a friend with support! I know the pain of obesity, I've had my trips up the scale and gotten into such poor eating habits that I felt literally sick, sluggish, and my cardiac labs like triglycerides, cholesterol, etc were all way out of normal range and high. I've finally been able to get it under control this year, and all labs have returned to normal. I am 46. I had 4 kids, lots of sit down jobs, lots of sedentary time doing homework for college working on 3 degrees, and lots of depression - so I know all the triggers, and all the misery that is felt when my biggest clothes became tight, or I couldn't walk far without being short of breath or in pain, or I avoided gatherings because I was too humiliated about how big I was.

  4. continued - All the other times I lost weight was for vanity purposes - to look good, but this time my health was really on the line. I know food addiction well, and I beat it! When I finally got off sugar, fat, salt, processed food, breads, and fast food, my system adjusted very well and now I can't eat it - goes right through me after causing a sick feeling. Here's what I did: in March 2012, I began taking Mango Thin - it's South African Mango, claims to squash hunger, regulate blood sugar, and was raved about by Dr. Oz. Take it twice a day - let me tell you, it works! It's not a stimulant either, read about it and see what you think. Next, after watching my weight lifter son drop any amount of weight he wanted to at will and copying his diet, I've lost 42 pounds. I had 69 originally to take off, and now I feel like I've got a new life. Yes, I know, that's not a lot to have to take off compared to some people, but remember, I was powerless against cravings and getting very sick with labs to prove it. I'd try and fail weekly. What he ate & I watched cause him to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks was this: oatmeal every breakfast, eggs, boneless skinless chicken & rice, berries, and his protein shakes with milk. Well, I do exactly that but not the protein shakes, but I've expanded it with my own recipes all made with fresh produce. Also, I don't eat red meat anymore, only turkey burgers, chicken, or fish. I don't think of what I can't have - rather, I am in love with the things I can have! For instance, I get Bubba Turkey burgers, make them in the broiler with red pepper, mushrooms, and then microwave baby spinach 30 seconds. I use a piece of baby swiss cheese, too. I spice with tumeric, sage, black pepper, and garlic. OMG are these good! This is a comfort food I crave now, and it's got nearly 40 grams of protein! That's just a sample. For online snacks I eat an apple or trail mix with my coffee. I do the oatmeal everyday - 2 packets. I make Blueberry Acai Bigelow Tea in a water bottle several times a day. Oh, no sodas either - not even diet, it's all poison & bloats! I also fry an egg in Pam and put that on a toasted bagel with american cheese, sometimes I'll put green and red pepper in the pan too, it's out of this world! All these are filling and keep my blood sugar in check so all those horrible cravings are gone! I put fresh veggies in white rice, put my broiled chicken on top of that, swiss cheese on that, and salsa - you won't believe it is good for you because it tastes so great! I also steam asparagus and broccoli frequently as sides. I occasionally have Smart One's Santa Fe Rice (lots of sodium in frozen foods, so I don't do many) and then add a scoop of cottage cheese on it and a few peppercinis! I can send you my whole list I published on Facebook with more food ideas like these that I eat that work! Lastly, I do a little exercise thing I put together every night that is easy and very effective. I hope you not only make it, but ENJOY getting there like I am with these great tasting things that don't make you feel deprived! Peace & Blessings to you!

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