"Sometimes the road to recovery is a lot longer than you ever realize, and you have to decide how bad you really want it." Tanisha Cleveland, from TLC's My 600 Lb Life, has had a tough life. Childhood suffering resulted in her emotional eating habits. Many obese individuals have similar stories of fear and trauma that color their childhood. Tanisha is no exception to this, and she finds herself struggling to remain on her diet when her life gets stressful. As stated by TV Ruckus in their review of the show, "Tanisha is going down a long dark tunnel and it seems like it's Groundhog's Day."
"I feel like I'm in prison in my own body. I feel like a caged animal, I do. When you can't do anything for yourself it's Hell, it's pure Hell, it really is. I can't believe that I let myself get to a place like this. I feel disgusted and I always feel like what could I have done different to prevent it."The story of Tanisha on My 600 lb Life begins when she is just a child. Tanisha did not struggle with weight when she was younger, but she did not have a happy childhood either. In fact, she never got to enjoy a childhood at all. Her mother was addicted to alcohol and drugs and dated a violent drug-addicted man who took his rage out on Tanisha. At this point in her life, she attempted to escape by moving in with her grandparents.
Unfortunately, living with her grandparents turned out to be the exact opposite of a happy and healthy home life. When Tanisha was only 9 years old, her Grandfather began repeatedly molesting her. There was nothing that she could do to make the abuse stop, so she began to depend on food for comfort. Tanisha claimed that when she ate, nothing was hurting her.Tanisha went back to live with her Mother, only to be molested by one of her mother's boyfriends. Around 12 years of age, Tanisha began staying out all night at parties, not wanting to return home. One night, a man came and pulled her behind an apartment building. He raped her on top of the air-conditioning unit. Tanisha admitted to her therapist that the sexual assault continued until she was 17 years old. Tanisha told viewers of My 600 Lb Life that eating drowned everything out.
By the time Tanisha began high school, she already weighed 180 pounds. Gaining extra weight did not bother Tanisha because she felt that if she was big, nobody would want to touch her body. At that time, she wanted to repel men and disgust them, but she began to attract men who wanted her for her size. Since actively repelling men wasn't working, Tanisha decided that if men were going to touch her, she would decide who those men would be. She became very promiscuous, engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners.
At the age of 15. Tanisha got pregnant. She weighed 220 pounds during her pregnancy and was disgusted with herself. She became bulimic and lost 70 pounds, but when she found herself pregnant for the second time, she stopped forcing herself to throw up in order to keep her baby healthy. Over the next couple of months, Tanisha gained 100 pounds.
My 600 lb Life continued the story of Tanisha as a 25 years old who weighed 500 pounds and was depressed because her body was the worst it had ever been. She couldn't get up and move around, so she continued to eat and gain. She felt that her only way to break the cycle was to commit suicide. She swallowed a bunch of pills but soon regretted it and forced herself to throw them up. Tanisha described the struggle with food addiction in the following video.She wanted to turn her life around, so she gave her life over to God. Her mother soon followed Tanisha's lead, gave up her drug habit, and found support from God. They were able to have a healthy relationship for the first time in Tanisha's life. Tanisha's mother apologized for her drugs, the strange men, not believing Tanisha when she spoke of the molestation, and not supporting her. Tanisha's mother was addicted to food as well, which was an addiction she couldn't break away from. She was close to 700lbs.In My 600 lb Life, Tanisha and her mother had planned on losing the weight together as a team. Tanisha was looking forward to the years that they had left to spend together. At the young age of 50, Tanisha's mother was found dead in her home alone because even though she intended to lose weight with her daughter, her body gave up. Tanisha found herself lost in emotions surrounding her mother's death, as well as shame for her promiscuity during her youth. She was angry and depressed. She gained more weight than ever while trying to sooth her pain with food, and pushed her husband of seven years away. Without a support system, Tanisha ended up weighing more than she ever had before.Tanisha admitted, "I have to stop living like this or I'm just going to go to sleep and never wake up." She continuously thinks about what would happen if her kids were to find her dead. Her children are also severely concerned about her health, and they claim in the episode of My 600 Lb Life that they worry about whether or not their mother is going to die.
"I don't want the positive change that's going on in my life to be something that is independent from my family. I know my struggles with my weight have influenced my children to follow in my path like I followed in my mom's path. I want to break that cycle now. I don't want there to be a chance that my girls could end up on the same path as me, so I want us to make this change as a family."When struggling with obesity and food addiction like My 600 Lb Life's Tanisha, the entire family is affected. Relationships suffer. Obesity doesn't just place a strain on the body, but the struggle spreads out among all of your loved ones. In this My 600 lb Life story, obesity is a generational curse. Tanisha is going to be the one to break the cycle. She realizes that she has been given a great opportunity to change her life. She believes that she owes "it to others to give back and help them." She says, "God has blessed me with another chance at life and I am going to take it."
[Featured Image By Tanisha Cleveland/Twitter]