Addicted to Food: Sharon’s Story (2010) Review

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Stoned to Death

Addicted to Food: Sharon’s Story (2010): 5 out of 10 A stone is fourteen pounds. I do not know why the British insist on using stones to measure people’s weight. I have lived in Ulster and Scotland in the past and I still find it bizarre. Like the way they have a king or quote Gemma Collins. Be prepared to do some math in your head while watching this as the stones come fast and furious.

Anyway Addicted to Food: Sharon’s Story is about a 40 stone woman who is bedridden at home. She dies supposedly as Britains fattest woman and the tabloids have a field day making things up. This, by the way, is revealed in the documentary’s opening. It turns out she did not die from her family feeding her to death she dies from malnutrition while starving herself in a nursing home about a year after bariatric surgery.

Apparently, the producers of the film had done a story on her a year earlier about her struggles and surgery and dusted off the footage and put together this documentary.

The Good

The Good: Well, we certainly have decent access. The entire family seems to invite in the camera folks and we spend some quality time with Sharon and her family. They seem like pleasant enough people, if a bit naïve. With the upcoming tragedy, you can see some of the groundwork. Either way Sharon’s family and kids seem to support her and after a five year wait she is up for bariatric surgery.

Also, everyone is supportive and well behaved. You have none of the shenanigans and manufactured drama common in US reality shows like my 600lb Life. While people are certainly lying to themselves throughout the documentary, they at least are not lying to the doctor.

The Bad

The Bad: It seems clear the picture we are given of Sharon and her family is, shall we say, a more pollyannaish version. I mean, the documentary is clearly on her side and that is okay. But it is also clear that a bedridden person cannot go shopping for chips herself.

Even more bizarre, it turns out many members of the family have had the bariatric surgery, including Sharon’s own fourteen-year-old son whom she paid a private practitioner for. This information is given to us and there is little follow up leaving the viewing audience with a hey hold up or two unanswered.

The Ugly

The Ugly: Addicted to Food: Sharon’s Story misses the half the forest. Gaining so much weight that you are bedridden in one room for ten years is not an eating disorder. It is a mental condition. Sharon would regularly cut herself to blackmail her mother into feeding her.

Yet while we have lots of talk about surgery, there is not a peep about her mental illness. Since she starved herself to death in a nursing home, it seems clear that no one was really on the lookout either. I mean, it is not really that hard to feed her a couple of Ensures a day to make sure she is getting the minimum nutritional requirements.

Of course, I am taking the family’s recollection at face value. I am unsure if any autopsy was performed and Sharon had already done so much damage to her body with her obesity that it is unclear that the family’s report of malnutrition is accurate.

You can improve someones condition with surgery to make them feel better about themselves or make thier life easier. But unless you tackle the reasons for the behavior in the first place, it is all for naught.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: Addicted to Food: Sharon’s Story is an interesting look into how other countries, in this case Britain, deal with obesity and bariatric surgery. Hopefully, the new class of GLP-1 receptor agonists will make barbaric bariatric surgery a thing of the past.

Surgery may change the way you look, but it will not change who you are or often even how you feel about yourself. Many people who have had extensive plastic surgery have fallen into this trap. If you don’t fix what is on the inside, what is on the outside won’t matter all that much.

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