Coliesa McMillian, a 41-year-old mother of four, is the subject of tonight’s episode of My 600-lb Life Season 8, which airs Wednesday, March 18 at 8 p.m. ET on TLC. Coliesa was 643 pounds and on her way to an early grave when she decided to seek the help of celebrity bariatric surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan to help her shed some weight and regain control of her life.
The TLC description of Season 8 Episode 12, entitled “Coliesa’s Story,” reads, “The four best reasons for Coliesa to live are her daughters. But after a heart attack and losing the love of her life in a car accident, Coliesa eats nonstop to escape reality, and unless she can stop it, the next heart attack will be fatal”.
My 600-lb Life: Coliesa McMillian Struggled With Her Weight Since Childhood
Coliesa McMillian grew up with an alcoholic father who often went to the reality star, her four brothers and sisters, and her mother. Unfortunately, Coliesa McMillian lost her mother when she was just 3 years old, so she and her siblings were separated and sent to foster care. She was molested by a cousin a few years later and an uncle raped her when she was 12, and her weight has been getting out of control ever since. She began to focus on food to cope with the trauma.
Although she had a significant food addiction from an early age, Coliesa was blessed with four beautiful children in her twenties. “I had my second child, Hannah, when I was 23 and I was over 400 pounds,” says Coliesa to the cameras in the clip above. “And then I had my third child when I was 25… I was about 460 then. But when I was 29 I had my fourth child and I was about 500 pounds then.”
When her husband was arrested, Coliesa admitted that she finally felt she could leave him, so she packed up her kids in the middle of the night and moved to Louisiana, where she met her fiancé Melvin. The two quickly fell in love, and life was better for Coliesa McMillian for a while, but when she suffered a heart attack and lost her fiancé in a car accident, she turned back to food like a stool.
“Shortly after [the heart attack] I lost Melvin… he got into a car wreck and didn’t survive, and that destroyed me,” says Coliesa McMillian in a voice-over. “But I did what I had to do to get through it, and that was to eat so I wouldn’t fall apart.”
Coliesa McMillian adds, “I wasted my life on food. Just the hunger and the need and the desire. It has taken over my life, and I am exhausted. I am exhausted from this life. Life like this is not life. If I don’t lose this weight, I’m going to die.” She continues: “I know I’m gonna die because I feel like a ticking time bomb. My heart can fall out at any time and I can feel the weight that’s weighing me down. It feels like my body is trying to give up, I can feel it, but I can’t give up. I have to be here for my children.”
When Coliesa McMillian finally arrives in Houston to work with Dr. Now, he is worried about her situation, which he says is “very disturbing”. Dr. Now notes, “Her body has reached its breaking point. If she has another heart attack, there’s nothing we can do.”
The reality star works hard to shed the weight she needs for her gastric tube surgery, and although she tries to eat and include exercise in her daily routine, she doesn’t even reach half the point of what Dr. Now needed to lose her. After Coliesa starts working with a therapist to address some of the problems that led to her food addiction in the first place, she begins to make better progress.
Although Coliesa does not lose the amount that Dr. Now requires her to lose, she is still approved for her stomach contents procedure after she begins with acute abdominal pain; the doctors claim that she has too much fat to determine if she has an intestinal blockage, and since her heart was healthy enough to accommodate her, she was finally approved.
In the end, a mix of diets, therapy and surgery made an important difference in Coliesa’s life. Through her last meeting with Dr. Now he tells the cameras that she has lost about 150 pounds and is working hard to lose further weight. He adds: “At the moment things are looking optimistic with her, so I hope we can get her to where she needs to change and keep her life”.
Coliesa is so excited about her progress and hopeful about her future. She says she feels “prettier” and better about herself and she can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and her children. “I feel like I’m doing better than ever and I have high hopes that I’ll be where I’m needed soon,” she explains. “And I can’t wait for that.”