I’m In Here Somewhere: Memoir of a Food Addict

Chad Dean’s Story – As told to and written by Celeste Prater

On TLC's "My 600 LB Life", Chad Dean was quoted as saying "The board game most closely resembling my life is CandyLand. I would eat anything and everything I wanted, whenever I wanted."

Flipping through channels, growling at commercials, and then BAM! Something HUGE fills your screen. “Good grief!” you shout, eyes bugging.

Sorry. That might’ve been ME, Chad Dean, awkwardly invading your living room. If you fled, I fully understand. Whether you stuck around to watch in morbid curiosity or just plain horror, I thank you for taking that time out of your day to observe the quick one-year glimpse into a personal battle that was hard, embarrassing, scary, and downright frightening at times.

Though I transformed quickly on the TV, it was not enough to show how in the heck I got to that point in the first place. I’m not alone in these struggles. I’m not the only fat person that ever existed. And I’m certainly not the only human disgusted at the unsightly substance trapped beneath their skin.

Join me as I delve a little deeper below those layers. Perhaps a light might come on sooner than mine.


Excuses. That should’ve been my middle name.

HOLD UP! You felt it, didn’t you? That microsecond recoil, or derisive eye-roll, toward a silly little word urging you to put this book down and walk away. Why is that, do you think? Seriously?

Here’s my stab at a theory: Because this one of many, many words in our vocabulary is excruciatingly POWERFUL. In fact, I believe the word “Excuses” is so potent that it can trigger an unconscious guilt and blossom into a lie so fast it’ll make your head spin.

Ugh! The blinding truth hurts sometimes. We cry foul when others lie to us—even ending friendships for the smallest infraction. Yet, we elaborately mask the ones we tell ourselves so very easily.

Maybe some of these lies below might sound familiar to you. Either one or more spilled out of your own mouth at one time, or you know of someone that has become prolific in the game of self-delusion.

LIE: I’m big-boned, so I carry the weight differently.

  • TRUTH: You have no bones in your butt or gut. Got it?

LIE: When I eat something sweet, I cancel it out by drinking diet-cola instead of regular.

  • TRUTH: You have obviously developed a new “happy math.” How’s that working out for you? Artificial sweetener actually increases sugar cravings. Look it up.

LIE: I want to exercise, but I’m always tired.

  • TRUTH: You’re carrying forty pounds more weight than your frame intended—put there by none other than yours truly. No one else. Yep. Four, ten-pound bowling balls of extra baggage. Duh. You’re going to be tired. Think how hard it’s going to be after ten more.

LIE: My job doesn’t allow me time to work out or eat right.

  • TRUTH: So, if I understand that line of reasoning, you work a solid 24-7 in a sedentary position and are not allowed to pack your lunch. You’re stuck having to order fast-food takeout delivered right to your desk or vehicle. Really? Not even a thirty-minute break? Unless it pays a million an hour, I’d quit that job. Seriously.

LIE: I bought a stationary bicycle. I can exercise and watch TV at the same time. Win-win.

  • TRUTH: Go ahead. Glance over to the corner and try to remember when that dusty hunk of metal became a new way to hang clothes or prop your feet.

LIE: I found a new workout CD, and it only takes twenty minutes. So excited to start it in the morning.

  • TRUTH: You hit the snooze button three times, snuggled into your warm pillow, and promised that tomorrow will be the “New Start” to being healthy. Mondays suck and weekends are off limits. Everyone knows that. Hmm…

LIE: Something urgent came up so I can’t walk with you tonight. I’ll go with you tomorrow.

  • TRUTH: Your favorite show was on. Bad friend. Bad.

LIE: I ate a salad at lunch, so it’s okay to have ice cream after dinner.

  • TRUTH: Really? A little forgetful on the adjectives, aren’t we? It was a taco salad loaded with cheese and sour cream…and you ate the outside crispy bowl.

LIE: I’ll start working out after the holidays (my favorite).

  • TRUTH: Christmas comes SO fast after Thanksgiving. Amazing, isn’t it? Chocolate-filled Valentine’s Day zips up immediately after that fierce New Year’s resolution has barely left your mouth. Hell, when you think about it. Every day’s a holiday feast when you have beckoning brownies, soda, candy, burgers, pizza, and cupcakes floating across TV screens or sitting on paper plates at the office party—tempting, smelling so good, beautifully wrapped, and begging me to…wait. I digress. Let’s not forget why I’m here…

So where do I get off telling you to quit lying to yourself and others? Easy. Been there, done that, got a master’s degree in it. If I’d kept it up, they might’ve carved “Dr. Denial” on my headstone.

We could go on and on with pithy one-liners on how to innocently deceive oneself about balancing weight with food and exercise, but here’s a brutal truth that I desperately needed to confess…and fast!

I was in a severely destructive relationship with DENIAL, the beautiful cousin of EXCUSES. It was profoundly obvious and squatting right in front of my big fat nose. So close, in fact, everything else lost focus in the light of that vicious bitch—my failing health, my loving family, my work…everything.

Bottom line… I was dying.

Yeah. No joke, cookie. I sat there looking into every knowing eye that uncomfortably flitted away from mine and continued filling my veins with the pretty poison and hanging on to every comforting word doled out by the reigning Empress DENIAL.

 “There you go. Just one more. Atta boy. I’ll never judge you,” she’d whispered softly into my ear.

Oh, yes. This big man was gleefully traipsing down the road paved with chocolate and lined with donuts while steadily committing food suicide. Yes, I’ll say it again. “S U I C I D E.”

It’s an ugly word chock full of sadness and heartache, yet the scrumptiously delicious things I was continuously shoving into my mouth on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis might as well have been a loaded gun.

Click. POW! Lights out.

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