Sunday, January 9, 2022

Why are Amy and Tammy Still So Poor? Poverty and Obesity

With my own long history of poverty,  I found a way to work around it and Covid. We still struggle, and medical bills are the worse but I was able to get to a happier place in dealing with it. We also have had more periods of stability in recent years.

 In my case, I decided it was better to try and be as happy as I could in my circumstances.  Gardening became a new hobby of mine. I replaced lost activities to Covid with an Aspie group online and continued different UU related things on Zoom including conferences and other things I attended. I replaced the gym with videos on the TV like Sit and Be Fit and actually search on Youtube on my TV via Comcast saying "Exercise for Fat People Youtube" to get a variety of videos. I increased the health food in my life and numbers of vegetarian and vegan meals. 

A lot of my decisions in life are based on how much money I have or not. There's things I wish I could afford right now, from a personal trainer who could meet me at home or in a small private room, rehab--to deal with my weight loss failures [I've kept it stable] and to get a 100lbs off, and mental health counseling. My history of PTSD/CPTSD and anxiety disorders/OCD has not fared well from Covid pressures. Often in America, your quality of care is based on how much money you have. Thankfully under Medicare, I do have some decent medical specialists. 

 Many people are in very bad shape right now, and sadly I've noticed the poor including the newly homeless from Covid, seem to be even more ignored and neglected in society like they don't even exist. That's been shocking to me. There were many businesses that failed from Covid lock downs, unemployment ended in August, and lots of people have to be suffering now. It's strange that Trump was far more generous to those ravaged by the effects of Covid with stimulus money and Biden ended all those programs. I blame both of course.  We survived a lot better then many people. 

I've been poor most of my adult life. I hope people can understand how poverty has affected Tammy and Amy. Their show 1000lb sisters definitely shows how poverty and obesity work together. Being poor makes obesity more likely and obesity makes being poor more likely especially if you are at the level you are supersized, disabled and dealing with mobility problems. 

Despite three years now on TLC, Amy and Tammy still appear like they are very poor.  That seems odd to me. Maybe medical bills could be eating all the show money. I know disabilities rules and these two don't have work histories for SSDI, and the show money would cancel out SSI. If they don't have Medicaid or Medicare, Tammy's medical bills alone would be tens of thousands of dollars. Her rehab at Windsor alone is 5,000 or more plus a month.  Now on a trach, her medical costs have to be going through the roof vacuuming out every dime.

Since Amy lives in an apartment with mice and cockroaches, that is a sign of poverty. I lived among mice, and cockroaches during my most poor days. Fortunately I have an apartment that is free of cockroaches, no cockroach or mouse has shown up in 15 years and I like it that way. Poor quality housing brings out these vermin.

I've had bouts of being working class during life, dependent on husband's former newspaper employment. I've been super poor too. We go up and down. We live an odd life surrounded by people far richer than us. We live in a town that has a lot of wealthy people in it, though there are working class people here too and a poor "inner city" area. We stayed here for better medical care and resources. Poor and working class Unitarian Universalists are extraordinarily rare. Fortunately my church preaches against classism and we are treated well.  The IFB just wrote me off and ignored me because I didn't have huge tithes to bring to the table.

 There can be a price living among the wealthier that is difficult, their lives are so different, you may find it harder to connect, but then there's actual specialists in town, the library has new books, there's an art center,  the resources are more available.  As everyone here knows I lived in a very small rural town for years so we feel the differences. However I relate to the level of poverty Amy and Tammy have lived in most of their lives, that was/is my life too as an adult. In my case, I and husband have the benefit of more education, but the lack of money still applies.  There's very few people who are working class or poorer on TV anymore and this is one of the few cases. They also live in the very rural town of Dixon, Kentucky. Dixon is smaller than my old rural town but not by much.

Poverty and obesity do walk hand in hand. Poor people often have eating as their one source of pleasure when they cannot afford others. There's less you can afford to do. Eating should not be used this way but people do it. That's a problem in America. The poor are banned from too many pleasurable activities and as society gets more socially isolated--Covid has worsened this, people are going to get even less exercise, movement and other activities to keep them engaged. 

Poor people don't get as much activity because activity often costs money. Some will say walk around, well yeah that's free but think of the sports, trips, vacations, social events that would bring activity and exercise if there is enough money. 

Severe obesity scares away friends. I was talking about this with a close friend, someone sees a 500lb person coming down the road, people do shirk away. I had this friend who unfriended me locally who was done with me because her family told her, that her being friends with me embarrassed them. This happened to me in my 40s, so it's not just fat teenagers coping with social rejection. 

I feel bad for Amy and Tammy, with Amy if she got decent money, I think Amy has the aspiration to want to do better. I want to see her living in a comfortable house at a good midsized weight where she is even more mobile, maybe even down to 200lbs, where she has enough money to pay bills and feel comfortable and safe in life for her and Gage. It helps she does have a working husband too. Money could bring better education and far more. If her own medical bills get under control maybe she could see her fortunes rise. I worry TLC is massively underpaying both sisters. It is strange to me that people who are so famous show so many signs of still present poverty. 

 One Reddit commenter said she thought they should do a documentary on the Slayton sisters, let it be a show that documents American lives and real struggles with obesity and poverty and how people slid through the cracks.

Amy's life with real money behind it could change for the far better. She could elevate Michael, Gage and her family to a far better future. Maybe she could go to school or Michael could get more of a tech education for more income. All of them would have improved health. They could join a very good gym--even Planet Fitness would be affordable now, and they could go back if Covid ever ends. One thing I always forget about myself, is we did succeed in digging ourselves out of severe poverty at least once. I went from the most poor life right above homelessness to a decent two bedroom apartment married to a newspaper assistant editor. My husband does have some respect in town, in his profession, and did during those years too. Amy is in the position where she has the fame and more to dig herself out. I never wanted a suburban or corporate life even before I was disabled and maybe that shows. Amy may have different interests too that are more down to earth but I hope she and others like her can get a more comfortable life.

Tammy I don't have as much hope for, I am not sure Tammy would do much with money but waste it. She doesn't seem to have aspirations to better herself. She has a self sabotage thing going with the horrible men. There seems to be some block there in shutting down with therapists. She doesn't have introspection, she seems to live moment by moment.

Tammy's future looks dire once the show ends, nothing but disability. On disability you are POOR. The income even on SSDI is barely sustainable level. SSI, I have known people on SSI who were homeless and could only afford rental rooms if that. These two need to focus on gaining as much money as possible while they can. Write a book with a ghost writer. They need a better deal with TLC, if they are still living so poor.

TLC money should not be having them live in a broken down duplex with grotty walls and cockroaches! I don't know if they got a bad deal or if medical bills has eaten up all the money but something is very wrong to me.

 I think medical bills could be taking all their money from the show, because the show cancelled out SSI for the both of them and they don't have Medicaid or Medicare anymore so Tammy's money has been cleaned out for food addiction, perhaps around 500 a week and tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills to hospitals, doctors, and 5,000 a month to Windsor. Amy, she's got to have at least 20,000 coming in a year from Michael [10-12 an hour at the lowest] but maybe some medical bills like paying for her baby being born cleaned her out.

I just don't understand why those two remain stuck in such dire poverty, trust me I know the signs, when they have national fame, a TLC show and more. It is shocking to me. Are any of you wondering why they are still SO POOR? Maybe we will see that change.

Maybe I am misjudging things. They could have the fancy houses behind the scenes and the duplex is like a stage for all I know. 

I want to see these two succeed especially Amy and have stable money. I am sure they have suffered enough in poverty because I had my own experiences in extreme poverty. They have opportunity to escape poverty, but I hope they see it in the distance, I hope they get a better deal.

It makes me sad to see other fat people stuck in poverty because of my past struggles, the judgment and more can make poverty so much worse.  For those who grow up in poverty, they are not taught how to handle money. Many of the poor do not save, because some understandably want some pleasures in life, and will go for those wanting to have some positive memories. They are not taught how to handle money.  One thing strange about me is with all those ex-millionaire friends, I know about passive income, brokerages, and investments but never had money to make it happen. I am the spendthrift of the household always knowing the exact amount in the bank. 

On the first show of the season they showed Amy doing an exercise class with middle class and above suburban Moms.  I could see why Amy was uncomfortable in that class. Most of the women were thin, one was a little chunky but main thing to notice was the class differences. The nice hair cuts, the black sporty infant carriers, the jewelry, and fancy exercise clothing were all markers of far different lifestyles. She said something about them being "fancy people". Hmm I related to that. That's my life as I said above, living as a poorer person in a wealthier town.

They dress and look different, they get better food. I have that weird mixture of some education with the poverty. Amy at least has some people around her and a family she fits in with. I never fit in my family obviously. There's a lot of money issues that do affect weight, people don't realize it. 

I really felt that moment when she joined that class. She was the fat one among far more "fancy" people. She at least left super-obesity of being 400lbs for being more midsized, but you could tell while the women were kind to her, you could see the differences.  As I have written here many times, poverty and weight are intertwined for me. 

I felt for Amy, she didn't have the benefits of many of those women, which would include good wardrobes, preventative health and dental care. Amy and Tammy definitely seem like they were denied a good education, maybe even in Tammy's case, she was stuck in the back of a special ed classroom with low expectations. Even my ordinary Midwestern high school in the suburbs taught me the basics of health, nutrition in home ec, class and how to make white sauce and open a bank account. They don't seem like they got any of that.

Trauma also impacts one's future life and health, in safe homes free of abuse, these women were starting from a far higher point.  This is true of my own life and my own classmates. Amy and Tammy probably have the most financial security of their lives right now even on underpaid TLC money. I remember seeing a video from some time ago where Amy was crying about having no money.

I have a "white trash" background on one side of the family though some escaped it and got into money--my mother, but then cruelty towards the poor and fat can be increased. "White trash" is not a term I agree with but using here to explain. Appalachian culture has many of it's own riches.  Our failures are even more offensive to the family. Oddly I was the first person on that side of the family to get a college degree. I know people see me as "poor white trash" sometimes.  I had a Southern accent I had to learn to cover up in junior high school after we moved. In my case, I have champagne tastes and interests on a less than beer budget. 

There are multiple class "codes" people do not realize exist. I don't want to offend any richer people I am friends with, but some of those include that wealthier people are more formal. There's more expected boundaries. Working class people emote more. These are all generalizations but everyone's seen a taste of this with watching how corporate culture operates compared to the working class pub down the street.  To make my life more peaceful I  did learn to hide my economic realities somewhat but that has limits when you weigh as much as I do.  Amy and Tammy may not even realize how they are being mocked or even that those codes exist but may feel a bit uncomfortable inside while not understanding why. I wonder if they realize how they are "seen"?

 It can make watching these shows kind of weird sometimes watching America laugh at the fat "side-shows".  Tammy and Amy are basically just a repeat of the successful Honey-Boo-Boo formula. I don't have nice haircuts, I wear old shoes. Though in my case, I don't speak like Amy and Tammy and I read library books for fun all week. I have a gifted and intellectual husband.  Sometimes I worry about how poor people are shown on TV and it can get to me. The fact now that two can even be famous and still so poor is weird to me.


  1. People who make fun of other people's hard circumstances are just plain rotten ... to the core. Scoffers, mockers, they can all go ... sit and spin.

    1. I agree they are rotten, I feel for these women. There are videos out there talking about how they got abused in school.