'My 600-lb Life': What happened to Irene Walker? How homelessness and depression led to her 603 lbs weight
Irene Walker features on the 11th episode of 'My 600-lb Life' episode titled 'Irene's Journey' that chronicles her life and weight loss for 16 months
Irene Walker is the latest patient to be seen on 'My 600-lb Life' with her story summarized as "Food is my Life". The 39-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas, recounts all the tragedies she has endured in her life and her weight loss — chronicled in the upcoming episode titled 'Irene's Journey'.
Scheduled to air on Wednesday, March 10, the synopsis of the episode reads, "Irene had to move back in with her son because her weight made it unbearable to live on her own. When Dr Now can't get through to her, the only thing that might help her break the cycle is a once-in-a-lifetime turn of events."
Wondering what might have led her to gain those many pounds because of which she now stands at the precipice of disaster with her weight in the 600lb+ category? Here's all the scoop from the episode summarized below.
Irene Walker: A depressed kid
Irene was always big and struggled with weight since the time she was a small baby. She relied on food a lot and her real tryst with uncontrolled eating began at 5 years of age. Her parents' divorce put her in a very tough situation and she didn't know who to turn to and it was food that she chose to keep her happy and calm in those testing times. At 10 years of age, she was already pushing 140 lbs and kept eating as much as she liked.
Irene Walker's abusive father
The real reason behind her parents getting a divorce was her father who started to act unhinged and abusive towards her mother. She and her elder sister then went on to live with their mother who was from Mauritius. She had to work all the time to put food on the table for her family and it was mostly fast food that she was feeding both her kids and that's where Irene got into the habit of unhealthy eating. Her parents' divorce had left her depressed and Irene had understood that it was just food that was able to fill that void left behind.
Bullied in high school because of her weight
By the time Irene started high school Irene's weight had escalated to 250 lbs. She was bullied and teased a lot at 14 years of age. She didn't have any friends that she could talk to but she had a lot of boyfriends. Her self-esteem was at an all-time low and at 16 she began dating someone who turned out to be abusive towards her. However, she stuck to him because she was of the opinion that was lucky to have a boyfriend at her size.
Irene Walker: A teen mom
Irene had continued to stick by her boyfriend's side and at 16 she realized that she was pregnant. Her boyfriend left her as soon as he found out about the baby. Irene's son Jacory was born when she was 17 years of age and the pressure of being a single mother led to her gaining more weight and she then weighed 350 lbs.
Irene Walker was rendered homeless at 19
Irene's mom helped her with Jacory for a couple of years but when she turned 19, she was struck by several tragedies. She lost her mother, father, elder sister, and her aunt, leaving her devastated and she once again turned to food and ate a lot. With her parents' passing, she was rendered homeless and she along with baby Jacory started to live on the Metro bus stop. She was taken to a shelter for juvenile women by a good samaritan and that's where she met her caretaker and friend Cameo. Irene was kicked out of the shelter after she got pregnant which was against the rules of the shelter.
Irene Walker turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with life
At 24, she was 500 lbs and in the next couple of years had another three children and her weight escalated to 600lbs. In her early 30s, she turned to alcohol to deal with depression and for the next couple of years she hung out with people who weren't great influences and also turned to drugs. She lost all her three young kids due to her addiction, someone had reported her and CPS intervened and took her children out of her care. That's when Irene decided it was time to wake up and change.
Irene Walker and her food addiction
Irene was able to get sober but she believed sobriety led to her weight gain. At the time of filming the show, she was living with her son Jacory, her niece Mini, and daughter-in-law. She couldn't take care of herself until she rid herself of the food addiction which she developed while trying to get sober. Her youngest three kids luckily were sent to live with her family members but Irene was determined to lose weight, be independent and get her kids back. That would only be possible if she could control her food addiction but she didn't know how to.
All Irene did in a day was sit and wait for food and eat till she passed out. It was a cycle for her that she religiously stuck to but it was killing her. Jacory, Mimi and Cameo wanted her to get a grip on her life and lose weight so that she could live healthy and long. Cameo had known Irene for more than 15 years and was one of the positive support systems for her and she was the one who suggested that she consult Dr Now for a weight loss program and surgery.
At Dr Now's office, it was discovered that Irene weighed 603 lbs and he was also concerned for her health because of her constant coughing. He sent her away with a 1200 calorie diet, instructions on what to eat and avoid, among other things and asked her to come back in two months with her weight down to 543lbs. Irene assured Dr Now that she wanted nothing more than to get healthy for herself and her kids and would do everything she needed to do to lose weight.
Will Irene be able to keep her promise to Dr Now and lose 60 lbs in 60 days? Share your thoughts in the comments below.