A MUM has opened up about her son’s “addiction” to food that led to him tipping the scale at 21 stone when he was just 13 years old.
Rhonda, who is the proud mum of Geno, shared their story as part of TLC’s My 600 IB Life series.
The show, which follows those who want to overhaul their eating habits, introduced viewers to Rhonda and Geno, and the mother-and-son duo both spoke candidly about Geno’s weight struggles.
In one of the episodes of the series, which airs in the US on Wednesday evenings, Rhonda recalled: “Geno was always kind of a chubby kid.”
She continued to say that she had also experienced weight struggles in the past, resulting in her undergoing a gastric bypass.
Therefore, she didn’t want her son following on the same path, but it became a case of history repeating itself and his weight crept up to 300IB – over 21 stone.
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Rhonda went on to say: “I was 36 years old when I had the gastric bypass myself – I didn’t want him to get as heavy as I was.
“But, then again, deprive my kid of something to eat? It’s unheard of in my family.”
And it was clear that her son’s struggle is something that weighs heavily on Rhonda’s mind.
The mum fought back tears as she continued to reflect on the situation and how her and Geno’s dad’s divorce when Geno was 12 could have triggered some of his bad eating habits.
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She later admitted: “I think that Geno might have a food addiction.”
This was something Geno also spoke about in front of the TLC cameras.
He explained: “When my parents got divorced, it was definitely hard on me.
“Food brought me comfort and – if I have to say – that was probably when eating became something bigger than just filling up on food.
“It became something that I needed in order to feel better emotionally and by the time I was in the fourth grade, I was already 200 IB.”
He also spoke about his upbringing and his family’s love of food, which only proved to exacerbate the issue.
Geno – who recalled partaking in eating competitions from a young age alongside his cousin – explained: “I’m grateful for her but my mum aggravates me sometimes.
“But she never gets in the way of how much I want to eat and it’s always been like that, as far back as I can remember.
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“We’re a very close family, and us being an Italian family, when we eat, we eat in abundance.
“That’s just how we come together – we would always make food for each other. Food is always the glue.”
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