A morbidly obese mother-of-six who tipped the scales at 631lbs has lost a total of 250lbs following life-saving gastric sleeve surgery.
Renee Biran, 53, from Valdosta, Georgia, watched her weight spiral out of control after she started having men with fat fetishes pay to watch her eat online. Although it allowed her to support her family, she eventually had to move in with her children because her body started ‘falling apart.’
When she started her weight loss journey on the TLC reality series My 600lb Life, Renee was close to kidney and heart failure and feared she was going to die.
Out of control: Renee Biran, 53, from Valdosta, Georgia, weighed 631lbs when she started her weight loss journey on My 600lb Life
Daily struggle: The mother-of-six relied on her children to help her do everything — including bathing herself
Tough: Renee explained that even the act of getting out of bed was very painful for her
‘When I wake up in the morning, I know I made it through another night because the pain is there to remind me that I am still alive,’ Renee explained.
‘Getting out of bed for me is very painful. From my back to my legs, it’s just pain that I can’t even describe. Every morning it gets harder to move and harder to breath.’
Renee relied on her six children to do everything for her, and she was particularly ashamed that she needed her daughter Monique to help her bathe.
She explained that her issues with food started as a child, noting that she always felt like an outcast because she had a different father than her brothers and sisters.
Renee’s mother had an affair with her best friend’s husband, and she was the product of her infidelity.
Past pain: Renee was nine years old when her stepfather started molesting her. The abuse lasted until she was 14 years old. A year later, she got pregnant with her first child
Spiraling: Renee married the father of her child, and she turned to food for comfort when he started to physically abuse her
‘I think she was embarrassed and ashamed by what she had done and she took that all out on me,’ she said. ‘I never felt like my mom loved me.’
When she was five years old, her grandmother saw how unhappy she was, and she used food to try and comfort her. Things only got worse for Renee, whose stepfather started molesting her when she was nine years old.
‘My mom knew everything that was going on,’ she said. ‘There were times I would see her and she was watching. So I know she knew, but she didn’t care enough to stop it. I guess she just didn’t care enough about me.’
Renee turned to food to escape the pain, and she weighed 200lbs when she was just was 11 years old. The molestation didn’t stop until her stepdad left her mom when she was 14 years old, but by that time she was already 280lbs.
She admitted that she liked her size when she was in junior high because she was curvy and getting attention from the guys in her class.
At age 15, she got pregnant and dropped out of school to take care of her first child. She weighed over 300lbs, and while doctors told her she was obese, she didn’t take it seriously because she blamed her increasing size on her pregnancy.
Feeding: Renee supported her six kids by having men with fat fetishes pay to watch her gorge on junk food online
Strike a pose: The former plus size model who got pregnant at 15 and dropped out of school made money by feeding herself online for men
Out of hand: It was through feeding that she started ‘squashing’ — meaning she would sit on men for money
To late to turn back: Renee gained so much weight that she had to move in with her older children because she could no longer take care of herself
Renee struggled to do daily tasks like bathe and wash herself, and relied heavily on her children to help her
Renee went on to marry the father of her child, but he started to physically abuse her after the birth of their second child. He would give her black eyes, and he once broke her nose so severely that she needed to have surgery.
She once again turned to food for comfort, and she ended up having two more children with him before they got divorced. She went on to have two more boyfriends and had a child with each one.
By the time she was pregnant with her sixth child, she weighed over 400lbs, but despite her weight, she worked in a factory to help support her family. However, after she hurt her back in a car accident, she needed to find a new way to make a living.
‘I needed a way to make money, and that’s when I discovered the internet,’ she explained. ‘Not only did I find out that there were men out there that liked big women, but there was also men out there that loved to watch women eat. They’re called feeders.’
As a ‘feedee’ men paid to watch her eat food online, and it was through feeding that she started ‘squashing’ — meaning she would sit on men for money.
Heartbreaking: She was forced to spend most of her time in bed, but she couldn’t stop eating
Journey: Knowing that her days were numbered, she made the decision to travel to Houston, Texas, to meet weight loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan
Bad shape: Renee had trouble breathing on the last leg of the trip, and she ended up having to go to the emergency room
Renee had been struggling to breathe and was rushed into hospital by emergency crews
Although it was fun to at first, her weight spiraled out of control, and she weighed more than 500lbs when she was 45 years old.
Renee started losing her balance and falling to the point that she had to move in with her older children because she could no longer take care of herself.
She admitted that she didn’t think her food portions were that large, but she knew that she was fooling herself.
‘When I’m eating, the only thing I am thinking about is how good each bite tastes,’ she said.
Renee felt so guilty that her children had to take care of her, she sometimes wished she were dead, so she would no longer be a burden to them.
Shock: When Dr. Nowzaradan came to visit her, she learned that she weighed 631lbs
Struggles: After she was discharged from the hospital, Renee failed to make a follow-up appointment with the doctor because she hurt her leg trying to get into a taxi
Tough time: She had fallen between the seats of the van and had to be pulled out
As soon as Renee arrived in Texas she was rushed to hospital where it was discovered her kidneys and heart were failing
Renee had difficulties losing weight but gradually began to shed pounds off her heavy frame
Knowing that her days were numbered, she made the decision to travel to Houston, Texas, to meet weight loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan.
However, the trip was so difficult on her, she ended up having to go the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing.
Tests showed that nothing was immediately wrong with her, but Dr. Nowzaradan admitted that her body was in such bad shape she probably wouldn’t have survived much longer living the way she was.
Renee was put on a controlled diet in the hospital, and she lost 48lbs before she left. Her children set her up with her own apartment in Houston, but she struggled being by herself.
When her son Brent came to take her to her follow-up appointment, Renee was trying to get into a taxi when she fell between the seats and her leg got stuck.
Last chance: After Renee failed to meet her weight loss goals, Dr. Nowzaradan sent her to water aerobics
She attended the sessions three times a week as advised by Dr. Nowzaradan but she wasn’t losing enough weight
Flailing: Despite her efforts, Renee didn’t fallow her diet, and she only ended up losing 8lbs for her weigh-in
Last chance: Dr. Nowzaradan sent to her to meet with a psychotherapist to deal with her past trauma, warning her that she had to lose 30lbs in one month if she wanted surgery
Renee had to perform a walking test to prove that she was mobile and working towards losing weight
Renee was put on a controlled diet by Dr. Nowzaradan to help her shift the pounds she needed for surgery
Success: Renee lost 29lbs for her next weigh-in, and Dr. Nowzaradan approved her for surgery
She was once again admitted to the hospital — this time for a leg injury — but Dr. Nowzaradan felt that she was using the pain in her leg as an excuse to avoid seeing him.
He revealed that she had been refusing to see the physical therapist he had assigned her, and she only lost a meager 8lbs in two months.
The surgeon told Renee that he was signing her up for water aerobics three days a week, and if she skipped any of the classes, he would not approve her for weight loss surgery.
Although she stuck to her workouts, Renee didn’t follow her diet. When she returned to see Dr. Nowzaradan, she had only lost another 8lbs.
Renee said she was feeling incredibly weak, and while she chalked it up to her being ‘malnourished,’ the doctor knew that wasn’t the case.
After running some tests, he learned that she was close to heart and kidney failure, and he once again put her on a controlled diet.
After being put on a calorie-controlled diet Renee was told by the doctor that she could have the weight loss surgery
New woman: After the surgery, Renee lost a total of 250lbs and weighed 381lbs (pictured)
Renee had worked hard towards losing more weight and was able to enjoy trips out to her favourite book store
Before she left the hospital, Dr. Nowzaradan gave her one month to lose 30lbs and warned her that it was her last chance.
He also arranged for her to see a psychotherapist to deal with the past trauma that was fueling her addiction to food.
Renee ended up losing 29lbs, and while she was one pound shy of her goal, Dr. Nowzaradan approved her for weight loss surgery on the condition that she continued to lose weight and passed a walking test.
During her final weigh-in the night before her gastric sleeve surgery, she learned that she had lost another 19lbs.
After the surgery, Renee lost a total of 250lbs, going from 631lbs to 381lbs over the course of one year.
At the end of the episode, Renee able to visit a book store for the first time in years, and she happily perused the selections before sitting down with a novel.