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The Frenzy Surrounding Mama June’s Weight Loss Isn’t Healthy

By now, you’ve probably seen all of the headlines about Mama June Shannon’s weight loss. If the name doesn’t ring the bell, she’s the mother of Honey Boo Boo, a little girl made famous by competing in pageants on reality television.

There are a number of things that Mama June has done over the years that have attracted negative attention but for the sake of brevity (and my sanity) let’s focus on her unhealthy eating habits.

One meal commonly associated with this family is “sketti” which consists of covering cooked spaghetti noodles with copious amounts of butter and ketchup. Of course, there’s also the fact that Honey Boo Boo has been given Mountain Dew and Red Bull to boost her energy levels before a pageant.

Ex Moved On

When Mama June and her husband, Sugar Bear (Honey Boo Boo’s father) split, it was a bit shocking. When he got engaged to someone new relatively quickly, it was an even bigger surprise to fans.

Seeing her ex move on so quickly inspired Mama June to do something about her weight. Having tipped the scales at 460lbs at her heaviest, she wanted to slim down and feel more confident about herself.

Surgical Intervention

To improve her odds of success, Mama June elected to undergo gastric sleeve surgery last May, had a tummy tuck and breast lift in November, and then had excess skin removed from her arms and chin in December.

So far, she has lost about 300lbs which includes an incredible 12-13lbs of skin. It really is a remarkable feat and she should be proud but there are some things about this situation that are unsettling.

Media Focus

Mama June’s weight loss journey has been chronicled on her new show From Not to Hot so, for the past few weeks, she’s had to stay in hiding to keep from spoiling the big reveal. Now that’s she is out and about, the headlines and some of the interviews are frustrating.

For example, multiple outlets keep referring to her as a size 4 in big, bold letters.  First of all, why do we need to have her dress size? Isn’t it enough that she’s slimmed down and we can all see the transformation for ourselves? Second, and most importantly, she is NOT a size 4!

She looks great but at 160+ pounds, she’s not wearing clothing that small. Why is that the measurement of success? A size 12 (down from 460lbs) is an accomplishment in itself – why isn’t a more honest and realistic dress size worth celebrating?

Another HUGE problem is that she’s still eating things that aren’t good for her. She has admitted to overeating (a major no-no with a gastric sleeve!) and throwing up but it doesn’t stop there. When asked about her new diet, she explained: “Mexican, barbecue and Little Debbie jelly-filled pies. They are heaven in a box.”

What about that all-important first meal of the day? “I don’t kind of eat breakfast. If I’m lucky enough, I get my ass up before 12, 1 o’clock most days, so breakfast is nonexistent.”

Hmmm. Okay. I’m not a dietician and everything I’ve had to say should be taken with a grain of salt but there are a lot of red flags here and, hopefully, Mama June can get things under control so that all of her efforts won’t be wasted.

In the meantime, we should stop sending the message to regular women (who probably cannot afford extensive cosmetic surgery) that they need to be a size 4 to be a success story and that skipping meals and eating snack pies is a reasonable way to maintain a healthy weight.

The Frenzy Surrounding Mama June’s Weight Loss Isn’t Healthy

Jeanne Croteau

Jeanne has been a celebrity blogger for eight years and also teaches psychology at the college level. In addition to her passion for mental health, she is an avid reader, hockey fan and mother of four.

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APA Reference
Croteau, J. (2017). The Frenzy Surrounding Mama June’s Weight Loss Isn’t Healthy. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Apr 2017
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