During his bad times, Hector´s weight was around 650 pounds. In better times it was 425.
Thanks to Lisa Krantz for the documentary this article is based on.
Ten years before he died Hector Garcia hid from the world in his playroom. He was 39 years old and his weight was nearly 665 pounds. He could not live alone anymore. His weight burdened his bones so much that every step was a risk of breaking his bones. How could it get to this? Hector Garcia said: "I never learned to be happy other than when I eat." Many people judged the life of Texan Hector Garcia. They ridiculed him. "Even as a small boy everyone just called me a hamburger.", he said. He knew that people talked about him, laughed at him and made faces.
At a job interview, the boss without a word crumpled his application and threw it in the trash. Experiences like this have broken him, said Lisa Krantz. He wanted her to document his life. "I hope I am the deterrent." His knees were damaged. The weight of his body forced his legs into an unnatural O position. His risk of diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disorders was huge. People like Hector Garcia rarely get old.
His soul suffered at least as much as his body. "Obesity takes away your dignity", he told Lisa Krantz. "For many I am just the lazy slacker without self-discipline." The truth was more complicated. The more he gained the deeper he fell into depression. He only knew one remedy. "Food never treated me badly, it was never mean to me. I am addicted." All of his five siblings are too heavy, his mom and dad too. Probably a genetic disposition. But only the lack of education and poverty made it his fate.
Garcia, who would have loved to become a priest, said about his mother Elena: "She did not know what she was doing to us. She gave us all she had." Only the cheapest entered the table. Beans, rice, pasta - all cooked in lard. Garcia received a gastric bypass when he was in his 30ties. The insurance paid for the surgery. But they did not pay for therapy and support that could have helped him to change his unhealthy eating behavior.
He still lost nearly 400 pounds. Shortly after his sister Tessa died from cancer. He stuffed himself with the only comfort he knew. Bad food. He lost his job, his insurance and when he moved back to his children´s room also his independence. His mother became his nurse.
Early in 2011, he plucked up the courage to try once more. "Failure is not an option", he said. A doctor was willing to implant artificial knee joints if he lost weight. The 600 pounds colossus started to work out.
With a handcycle from his couch at first. Later he went to a public pool. He never gave up - even when he hardly could leave the basin and had to crawl over the ground in front of all of the other pool guests. Lisa Krantz said: "It was the most humiliating moment of his life but he wanted to be photographed like that."
Once more he lost over 300 pounds. Who knew him back then thought he was happy. Whenever possible his relatives visited him. He used to laugh a lot and spoke about the future with a wife and children.
The surgery happened in the summer of 2012. But instead of relief Garcia suffered severe consequences. Two additional surgeries tried to address this. Even after months of rehab he could walk less than before. With 20-packs of Chicken McNuggets, he tried to soothe his depression. Within 24 months, he was nearly back to his old weight. He had trouble breathing but did not want to see a doctor anymore.
He gave up.
"It´s hard to fight for a life that is merely an existence. That´s not enough for me." 40 steps killed Hector Garcia. The distance from his playroom to the door when he tried to answer the door. He collapsed in front of his mother at age 49. His last words "I cannot breath".
I don´t know how you feel when you read this - I have to take a break and recover before I can continue writing this article.
My state of mind while writing this article is one of shame. I feel embarrassed because we often lack even the slightest bit of compassion, empathy, and humanity.
My state of mind is also madness. I am mad that a government regulates which trash can I am allowed to put which trash in and where I am authorized to smoke; benefits from, tolerates and allows all sorts of toxic, brain damaging substances.
How can companies like Kelloggs & Co legally market their poisonous products to children?
Who is to blame if people become obese, get Diabetes, Alzheimer, ADHD ....
The temptation is all around us. 90 % of "food" in supermarkets is unhealthy. How can that even be? Product advertisements suggest if we love our kids we feed them stuff that leads to sugar addiction and all the health scares related to it. Chemical substances that are proven to damage our brain and every organ of our bodies are cleared by the FDA.
On a church bake sale in the name of the Lord or in the name of Ronald McDonald: Unhealthy and even dangerous choices are all around us, 24/7.
Some blame a lack of education. Well, it´s true that most people are not aware of what is healthy food. But I am sure it is not right that we need a ton of knowledge to uncover all of the ways greedy companies are tricking us.
Should I have to learn over 50 expressions for sugar? Or what words "the industry" uses to hide MSG? Should I have to question every expression to know that "natural" does not mean natural and can mean GMO and what-not; and "no fat" probably means tons of sugar? I don´t think so!
Labels on nearly every electronic item I purchased in the States warn of even the most ridiculous health scares. "Don´t swallow the shower curtain." "Don´t dry your cat in the microwave." Does that mean the UL cares more about the people than the FDA? Or does it just mean that manufacturers of electronic devices are easier to sue?
What frustrates me is that I have written a lot of posts with valuable information that would allow people to learn and change their mind about nutrition. Many people read it. But they are only the ones who share my point of view to start with. I fail to reach people who would need this information to increase their quality of life.
The only way to start a diet is in your brain.
Please, if you know someone who is suffering from obesity or are overweight/obese yourself: Follow the links in this article, sign up for this brain training and have a look at my related articles HERE