Fans remember Lisa Fleming from TLC’s My 600-lb Life as someone who had lifelong weight loss struggles. Unfortunately, she never got past those issues. Following her time on the reality series, Lisa’s daughter took to Facebook to confirm the heartbreaking news that her mother died on August 23, 2018, and revealed that she’s “not OK.”
“I am truly at a loss for words right now,” Danielle Fleming wrote on the social media platform. “God knows I wanted you to hold on until I got here but He knew what was best for me. I didn’t need to see you like that! This morning, I sat and held your hand for [four] hours knowing nothing I could’ve done would bring you back to me. Anybody who knows me knows I gave my mother my ALL! She was my world and I was her #NumberOneGirl.”
She added, “Mommy, I love you from here to the stars and back! Those babies loved you even more. I’m happy you’re no longer in pain and stuck in that bed. Y’all pray for me, check on me, come see about me because I am not OK! I love my mama [and] I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worse [sic] enemy. Rest In Peace, Mother Arleasher M. Fleming!”
Like many other subjects of My 600-lb Life, Lisa said her childhood started out like anyone else’s — she was a normal kid. But she soon developed an unhealthy relationship to food, exacerbated by her parents’ divorce and her complicated relationship with her mother, as fans witnessed on the show. After the 704-pound woman found maggots in her skin, she knew it was time to make a significant change.
“I can’t believe it’s come to this,” she said at the time. “But at least I’m doing something about it before it gets to be too late.” Lisa added that her father always told her and her five brothers he loved them, but her mother never expressed her love like that. Instead, she would cook Lisa whatever she wanted. “That was her way of showing love,” Lisa continued. “She never said it, and that’s how she showed it, by cooking.”
But Lisa’s mother also used food to punish her. “I remember this one time, I asked for some cake,” Lisa recalled. “She wouldn’t give it to me. I didn’t understand, so I just took my finger and just rubbed all the icing off the cake. And my mama called me, and she said, ‘I know ain’t nobody done this but you.’ And she sat me down and said I had to eat the whole cake.”
That story echoed Mrs. Trunchbull’s punishment of Bruce in Matilda. In Lisa’s case, however, her father came to her rescue and threw the cake out. “My father always saved me,” Lisa said.
When Lisa was 9, her parents divorced, and she said that was a particularly difficult time in her life. Food was the only thing that made her feel better, so she ate ice cream in secret until the day her mother found Lisa’s bowl and spoon in their hiding place.
“But that didn’t even stop me,” Lisa revealed. “I kept sneaking food, and when I was 11 years old, I weighed 120 pounds.”
TLC’s synopsis of her episode revealed even more horrors in Lisa’s past. Later in her life, for example, Lisa witnessed the murder of one of her brothers, a trauma that only made her health worse. At the time, she wanted to lose weight so that she could see her grandchildren grow up.
The bedridden woman had to rely on paramedics to help her make the six-hour trip to get weight-loss surgery. “I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I’m not looking forward to having the paramedics move me out of this bed,” she admitted. “Lord, give me strength.” But Lisa never got the help she said she wanted. Dr. Younan Nowzaradan kicked her out of the program after she threatened suicide — in an attempt to manipulate the system — and she never received the gastric bypass surgery. RIP, Lisa.