You'd think after the participants on My 600-lb Life miraculously shed hundreds of pounds that their married lives would improve. But judging by their updates, most end up getting a divorce. In fact, it's so common, some weight loss patients call it "Bariatric Divorce," and one study even said most couples separate within two years after the severe weight loss surgery takes place.
"In general, we know, after bariatric surgery, that people tend to feel much better about themselves," David Sarwer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Seattle Times. "Intuitively, we would think if one partner is feeling better that would only help the marriage. But what we have found is that weight and weight loss can actually play a more complicated role in a marriage or romantic relationship."
That was made clear by many past participants on the show that, after slimming down, they started to see strains on their marriages, with many eventually leading to divorce. Many of the women cite several reasons, from their husbands being "jealous" of their weight loss to codependent boyfriends feeling no longer needed. For Zsalynn Whitworth, her husband actually enabled her bad eating habits because he liked "bigger women." When they eventually separated, Zsalynn said it was because her husband no longer wanted to be with the "new" her, which is a common theme amongst couples who separate after weight loss.
"Weight loss isn’t just physical," therapist Shyamala Kiru said. "So much of it is mental, the boost in self-esteem and confidence. When you feel different about yourself, you make different choices."
Fortunately, many of the ladies have moved on and, in addition to being 300 pounds slimmer, have found new partners. Below, an update on past participants and their relationship statuses.