“1000-lb Best Friends” became one of the addictive shows on the TLC network, from the time it was included in their programming schedule in 2022. It was a no-brainer move by the creative department of the network, as the weight-loss-themed reality-television show turned out to be a gold mine since the genre was introduced on cable TV. After the first season ended, fans impatiently waited for official updates from the creators of the show, as there was no announcement of renewal for a second season, or even of the dreaded cancelation.

What is “1000-lb Best Friends” all about?

Due to the highly successful series, “1000-lb Sisters,” fans weren’t surprised that a spin-off was created by the TLC network. However, this time, instead of featuring family members with weight problems, the new show, “1000-lb Best Friends,” focused on four close friends. They all shared mostly the same problems, the same fears, and the same goals, but didn’t exhibit the same willpower and convictions to go through a life-changing transformation. Some of them went on their weight-loss journeys smoothly, and some had difficulty adapting to the special diet and workout routine recommended by the medical experts.

The TV premiere

When the TLC network started releasing promotional materials for the spin-off series, they marketed the show as ‘Four larger-than-life best friends battle morbid obesity using hard work, heart, and a wicked sense of humor.’ It made its television debut on 7 February 2022, and Howard Lee, the President of TLC Streaming and Network Originals, admitted that they banked on their loyal audience loving make-overs of weight-challenged individuals with bold and rambunctious personalities.

Behind-the-scenes commentary companion series

To make the spin-off more interesting, TLC network produced a digital mid-form series called “1000-lb Best Friends: Inside the Episode.” It featured two of the main cast who sat down and provided commentary on what happened behind the scenes on all the episodes. It gave the audience another perspective on what the cast went through, and made the viewers laugh so hard, as they weren’t shy about giving their personal views on fashion, hairstyle, and even talked about Gen Z lingo.

Get to know the supersized cast of “1000-lb Best Friends”

“1000-lb Best Friends” chronicled the lives of two pairs of besties, as they struggled to reach their goal of qualifying for the elusive bariatric surgery, due to an initial weight-loss requirement demanded by their doctor. Of the four friends, two were reality-TV alums which made the filming of the ups and downs of the weight-loss journey much easier as they revealed their vulnerability by sharing their innermost thoughts and emotions. Get to know each of them here.

Meghan Crumpler

Meghan was 43years-old and weighed around 330lbs when the series started. She’d become engaged to a man named Jon in February 2021. It wasn’t her first time being part of a reality-TV show, as she was previously featured in another successful series called “Too Large” when she was at her heaviest at close to 500lbs.  Her weight-loss struggles were very evident in her social media posts, in which she shared her insecurities, her regrets, and her dreams. As she mentioned in one of her Instagram posts, ‘It’s truly sad that I can look back on this picture and think ‘wow she’s beautiful’. Why didn’t I think that long ago?’ She promised that she would work hard on getting that person back, and focus on it one day at a time.

Vanessa Cross

The 44-year-old Vanessa grew up in poverty, but could distinctly remember that her mother would always comfort her with food. It started when she was around four or five, living in a car with her mom. Each time she would cry or be unhappy, her mother would give her a cookie. She had three teenage sons from previous relationships, Justin, Jacob and Werner. Her weight struggles increased when she was reunited with an old friend; her youngest was still an infant at that time. She fell in love once again, and her boyfriend immediately stepped in as a father figure to her children. Unfortunately, in 2016 he passed away from liver cancer, and she couldn’t move on from the loss. So just as when she was a kid, she comforted herself with lots of food to drive away the pain. “1000-lb Best Friends” wasn’t her first foray into reality-TV because she was also part of TLC’s “Too Large.” At the start of the show, she was close to 450lbs, and vowed to lose the required weight to qualify for bariatric surgery.

Tina Arnold

Tina was considered one of the most accomplished, as she’d authored 11 books, including the Lantern series. She was also known for an excellent article entitled “Body Shaming in Today’s World,” which was published in Henry Herald. The author was keen on learning more, so she took a one-year course and earned a certificate in Medical Coding and Billing in 2017. Three years later, she graduated with an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from Ashford University. She was 41 years old and weighed 325lbs when she decided to join the weight-loss journey of her friends in the show. She had been struggling with her weight all her life, due to stress-eating. Tina would always turn to food for comfort and that was her main downfall. She was born in Landstuhl, Germany but was raised in Stockbridge, Georgia, where she became friends with Meghan in her teens, and eventually met the rest of the group. She’d been married for 20 years, and had four children.

Ashley Sutton

Among the four girls in the TV show, Ashley seemed to keep the lowest profile. Nothing much could be found about her on the Internet, even though she maintained a social media presence on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Fans assumed that they were all cleaned out of any personal details that she didn’t want the world to know, before she became a reality-TV star except for a few facts such as she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College. At the time when “1000-lb Best Friends” was filmed, she was 36 years old and lived in Atlanta, Georgia. When Ashley reached her 20’s she blew up to over 300lbs, and someone advised her to have weight-loss surgery to remove her excess fat. In 2014, she had a successful gastric sleeve procedure – it was quite delightful, she said, for the first two months after the surgery. Everything seemed to be going great for her at that time, as she lost around 60lbs. However, it didn’t take long for her to eventually gain them all back by not changing her lifestyle, and she regretted it badly. Seven years later, she joined her friends in their quest to live a healthier life, because she was quite aware that it was dangerous for her to continue living the way was, feeling that she’d failed in a big way by not taking good care of herself.

Highlights of the first season of “1000-lb Best Friends”

Meghan Crumpler and Vanessa Cross – “We big as hell”

In a world filled with many judgmental people, it was difficult for those struggling with morbid obesity to meet someone with a sincere heart and genuinely caring. Meghan Crumpler met Vanessa Cross in one of the girl’s bathrooms in junior high. The latter was being bullied by some of their schoolmates, and the former saved her that fateful day. Meghan invited her to eat lunch together, and they had been the best of friends since then. According to Vanessa, they came from different sides of the spectrum. She said, ‘I was the bad girl, low class and she was a little hoity-toity.’ When they met, there was some kind of ‘opposites attract’ connection. Over the years, they went through a lot of fights but remained friends. They vowed to continue working on it, because at the end of the day, it was hard to find a real true friend who would not use you, judge you, or put you down.

Ashley called them larger and in charge

The four friends had a terrible time in their consultation with Dr. Proctor, as they realized that they hadn’t done anything to reach their goal. Some of them even gained weight instead of losing it, such as Vanessa whom the doctor thought was on the right track after she started to lose weight at her previous appointment with him. To encourage each other to exercise more, they went to the waterpark called Aquatic Center, as the water made it easier for overweight people to exercise. The moment they entered the waterpark, they felt all the stares, the wisecracking jokes, and the judgment; one of them said that it wasn’t too late for them to turn back and return when the place wasn’t that crowded, however, Vanessa was empowered, and felt that nothing could hurt them whenever they were together. Ashley concurred and said, ‘People would think what they want to think, but we will come in larger and in charge.’

Vanessa was forbidden to use the swimming pool slide

One of the reasons why the friends went out in a group was to support each other, especially whenever there was a large crowd. There were things they had to be mindful of, including the distribution of their weight when they sat on the chairs, so they wouldn’t mess anything up and embarrass themselves. At the Aquatic Center, they all decided to use the waterslide to start their day, since they needed to climb up the steps, and that would be a form of cardio exercise.  Being the largest in the group, Vanessa had the hardest time climbing up, but she endured the pain. However, when she reached the top, she was told that she couldn’t use the waterslide because of her weight – the slide could only handle individuals who weighed 350lbs max. She went down again, feeling that it was a walk of shame. She confessed that she never felt more embarrassed than at that moment, and cried when she reached their table, to wait for her friends who were permitted to have fun on the slide.

Tina and Vanessa got into a heated argument

One weekend, Meghan arranged a camping trip for the group – they all felt that they needed to get away from their lives, even if it was just for a day or two. Everyone was happy and excited when they started their day, however, when Vanessa decided to go around the camping site without a stitch on, all hell broke loose. She had fun walking in the rain naked, but the other three were shocked at her behavior, especially Tina – they hoped no one saw her. While Vanessa felt it was her way to jumpstart her decision of finally taking care of herself, Tina believed otherwise. She felt embarrassed for her friend, and at the same time thought that Vanessa had just turned them into a laughing stock. Tina asked Vanessa, ‘What’s wrong with you? You are making fools out of all of us.’ Vanessa then retorted, ‘I don’t give a fuck.’ When Tina said that she didn’t want to be degraded, Vanessa went ballistic and lashed out with hurtful words at Tina, for judging her. She even directed her anger at Meghan, who tried to pacify her, and told her that there wasn’t anything wrong with both of their views. They eventually made up in the next episode by accepting their differences, and both asked for forgiveness from the other.

Vanessa was finally approved for surgery

For a long period of time, Vanessa continued making excuses for not making the necessary changes in her life; this was the reason she didn’t qualify for surgery. She never took her diet and exercise seriously, and also never left her toxic environment at home. Apparently, her sister never approved of her decision to go under the knife, and so she played the enabler at home. Instead of encouraging Vanessa to eat the right amount of food, she let her get away with overeating. It took Meghan a while before she succeeded in convincing her best friend to leave home. The rest of the girls exercised with her, so by the time she consulted with the doctor, she weighed just under 400lbs. This was what Dr. Proctor wanted, and so she was approved for bariatric surgery, had the procedure and recovered just in time for their high school reunion.

“1000-lb Best Friends” went to their high school reunion

The group would often talk about their high school reunion whenever they hung out together. They wanted to attend, but some were hesitant because not all of them had a great time in high school due to the bullying that they’d experienced. They prepared themselves for it, and the empowerment that each of them received whenever they were together eased some of the fears that they had of meeting their former classmates. Days before the actual event, Meghan admitted that the thought of attending it gave her anxiety, because she didn’t want to run into some people whom she wasn’t ready to meet again, especially a former boyfriend.  Apparently, the boy swept her off her feet, only for her to realize that he did it to other girls too. Vanessa, on the other hand, was excited to attend, since she had a different mindset after the surgery. Ashley told her friends not to be afraid, since most of their classmates certainly went through physical changes too, and reunions were for catching up. She also reassured her friends that they didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. The reunion was successful, and they had fun.

Will there be a second season of “1000-lb Best Friends”?

The TLC network deliberately ordered just eight episodes for the first season of “1000-lb Best Friends.” Some said that it was the ideal number of episodes to attract a loyal fan base, sufficient enough to have the viewers wanting for more. The main narrative was similar to the original series, but less dramatic, to avoid anything that would turn off the fans. Since the show offered four storylines, the viewers had the option of choosing who to root for, instead of becoming annoyed by watching just one personal journey, especially if that person had an annoyingly ridiculous personality. Almost everyone on the planet struggles with their weight at one point in their lives, so watching a group of friends support each other’s difficult journey was quite familiar to many people.

While there were no official announcements of a second season yet from the TLC network producers, most fans were confident that the show would be renewed soon. There was an influx of social media activity on the personal pages of the cast members – each of them updated their fans online in recent weeks with what was happening in their lives, but no specific details about the series were included in their posts. It was understandable, because the stars were often under contractual obligation not to reveal anything to the public, but were probably instructed to hype up the fans for the next season. For some of them, it was a clear indication that it was only a matter of time before TLC ramped up its promotion. If and when the cable network makes an announcement that they’ve ordered new episodes, expect the second season to air by February 2023 – the network is known for following a strict schedule.

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