For years, viewers have watched TLC’s My 600-Lb Life, witnessing morbidly obese patients completely transform their bodies and lives. The patients profiled on the show all start out hundreds of pounds overweight, with the devastating health and emotional problems that come with that. From being unable to walk and do everyday tasks to being homebound, the patients suffer the most extreme physical and emotional consequences of obesity.
But all of them have something in common — hope and a desire to change. In comes the show’s central figure, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. "Dr. Now," as his patients call him, is a bariatric surgeon who performs weight loss surgeries on his patients and coaches them along the road to a healthy weight. Over the seasons, dozens of people have made a complete turnaround, going from barely mobile to active and fit. And while most patients on the show lose weight, there are some that really stand out.
Check out some of the most stunning weight-loss success stories to ever be chronicled on My 600-Lb Life.
Amber Rachdi’s transformation is one of the most jaw-dropping. When she first appeared on the show at age 23, she weighed 657 pounds and said she felt like a "nasty, yucky monster." Her legs carried a great deal of her weight, and, as a result, she said she couldn’t stand for more than 30 minutes at a time. After losing 20 pounds in order to qualify for gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Now, she underwent the procedure and ended up getting down to 377 pounds within a year!
But she didn’t stop there, she ultimately lost over 400 pounds and kept it off, profiling her journey with glamorous pinup-style selfies on Facebook and Instagram, where her profile once read: "I spent a long time not liking me, so I’m documenting moments I feel pretty."
Rachdi, who confessed on her episode of My 600-Lb Life that her weight prevented her from being intimate with her then-boyfriend, now has a lot to celebrate when it comes to her personal life. She got engaged in 2016 and has since tied the knot.
Brittani Fulfer’s story is nothing short of remarkable. She started out weighing 605 pounds at only 5 feet, 1 inch tall. She was so motivated to change that she and her husband, Bill, moved from Oregon to Texas in order to be near Dr. Now’s office, where she underwent weight loss surgery.
According to Women’s Health magazine, she lost almost 400 pounds and dropped down to 222. She explained her reason for having surgery to the mag, "I felt I had more to offer myself, friends, and family than just having them help take care of me. I was too young to feel so old."
She said she is cherishing every moment of her new life, and she told Women’s Health, "I knew when I started this journey that my life was going to get better. But, I had no idea that my life was going to be this amazing! My weight was my prison. Now I am free, and I can do whatever I want whenever I want."
Angel Parrish weighed 570 pounds when she first appeared on the show, riding in a wheelchair and relying on her boyfriend, Donnie, for everyday needs. She said that her eating habits had been triggered by the trauma of placing a baby for adoption at age 14, and the situation got worse when she later experienced postpartum depression after giving birth to a son with Donnie.
Donnie went so far as to say (via the Daily Mail) that she "just stopped living" after their son Andrew was born. He threatened that if she didn’t get help, he’d have to leave her and take Andrew with him.
Parrish rebounded in a big way by losing over 150 pounds through diet changes, and then undergoing weight-loss surgery with Dr. Now. She adopted a fitness routine and ultimately dropped over 300 pounds. After losing the weight, she reflected, "It’s been a long time since I could look at myself and see someone that I thought was beautiful."
After slimming down, she was able to be a more active parent, and said, "I wake up and it’s not to eat — it’s to get Andrew ready for school!"
Melissa D. Morris
Melissa D. Morris was one of the first people to be profiled on the show, and she started her weight loss journey over a decade ago. She began her journey at 653 pounds and was forced to ride around in a scooter to carry out basic tasks like grocery shopping.
After undergoing weight loss surgery, she dropped down to a stunning 137 pounds! And to make things even sweeter, after 12 years of trying to get pregnant, she finally became a mom, welcoming three children over the years. She struggled with her weight after her pregnancies, but still weighs significantly less than she did when she began. She told TLC in 2017, "I weigh myself every single day. I am so fearful of gaining all my weight back, especially because it was so easy for me to gain [weight] while pregnant."
She also shared some advice for people who might want to change their lives like she did. "I advise others that the first step towards a healthier life is identifying what you’re doing wrong. You must first figure that out because you cannot fix what you don’t acknowledge," she said.
Christina Phillips weighed in at 673 pounds at only 22 years old when she first visited Dr. Now, and said that she was so embarrassed about her weight that she only left the house at 3 a.m. when she was unlikely to see many people.
She told Women’s Health, "Getting up and walking just a few feet made me feel like I was going to die. I couldn’t drive, walk far, or go out with friends and family. I was miserable, and I knew I had to do something."
With the help of Dr. Now, Phillips had weight loss surgery and experienced a shocking transformation — her weight loss ended up being so extreme that she actually lost too much weight! The doctor advised her to gain 15 pounds in order to be at a more healthy weight.
In 2017, she told Women’s Health that she weighed in at 171 pounds and said, "My life has changed so much since the weight loss! I can do things I never imagined possible… I’ve been able to try indoor skydiving and… I can walk miles without getting tired."
Nikki Webster is one of the most notable success stories on the show. She originally weighed in at 649 pounds, and her weight was affecting her career in costume design. Luckily, she had strong support from her family (her dad lost 40 pounds in solidarity) and was able to undergo gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Now.
According to People magazine, she ultimately lost 450 pounds. In 2017, she told the mag, "It’s hard to imagine now how I used to live. It’s just become so vastly different. … It has been the hardest two years of my life, but it’s been the most victorious and exciting."
She explained how she stays fit, telling People, "I do a lot of walking, that’s my favorite thing to do. I’ll walk at least 2 to 3 miles a day or I try to. I’ll also try to do weight training and that kind of thing. I go to the gym every now and then and do those sorts of things."
In 2018, Nikki revealed on Facebook that she’d gotten married, writing, "I kind of got married. He’s the absolute best, and I honestly couldn’t be more happy…It’s been a busy few months."
When Paula Jones decided to lose weight, she had a powerful and tragic motivation — her husband had died from weight-related complications from weighing over 600 pounds. A year after he passed away, Jones herself weighed 542 pounds and worried that she too would suffer a life-threatening complication from obesity, leaving her four children on their own.
She decided that it was time to change and paid a visit to Dr. Now, but she was stunned when she set foot on the scale and saw her weight. "I’m huge. I look like a monster," she said sadly.
Jones followed through with her commitment to trim down, moving her family from Georgia to Texas in order to have surgery. According to Woman’s World, it paid off and she experienced amazing results, ultimately losing 400 pounds! The mag reported that her relationship with her kids has improved, with Jones saying, "I can be more active with them. I’ve learned how to be emotionally healthy as well as physically healthy."
Chuck Turner weighed in at 693 pounds when he first appeared on the show. He said that he started gaining weight years earlier after his first wife was murdered. He eventually married his second wife Nissa and they adopted a son together, but his marriage became strained when his obesity prevented him from helping her with anything around the house.
According to In Touch Weekly, his situation had grown even more complicated because a 40-pound growth called a lymphedema had developed on his leg, hindering his movements even further. He told TLC producers, "I’d rather be a dead man than have to live like this for the rest of my life."
Luckily, he was able to have weight-loss surgery with Dr. Now, and he ended up losing 433 pounds! Unfortunately, he and Nissa eventually split up, but, according to In Touch, he said in a reunion special that he was looking for love again.
Zsalynn Whitworth’s story is remarkable due to all that she had to overcome to lose weight. On her episode of My 600-Lb Life , she described joining a fat-acceptance organization and flying around the world to party with men who enjoyed the company of large women.
Unfortunately, by the time her weight had crept up to over 600 pounds, it wasn’t so fun anymore. Now a mother to a young daughter, she found it hard to move around and spent up to 8 hours per day watching TV. She said she now "hated being this size" so she embarked on a journey with Dr. Now, and just a year after her weight loss surgery, she had lost 247 pounds.
But unfortunately, according to the Daily Mail, her husband Gareth liked larger ladies and wasn’t a fan of her slimmer frame. He encouraged her to eat unhealthy foods so that she could gain weight. She had to decide whether to stay with someone who was actively trying to sabotage her weight loss success, or get a divorce, and she reportedly ended up opting for the latter.
Donald Shelton’s weight loss journey was a bit of a bumpy road with lots of twists and turns. When viewers were first introduced to him, he weighed 678 pounds and his weight made it hard to move around, causing him to ride in a wheelchair. His immobility led to severe bouts of depression.
After weight loss surgery with Dr. Now, he was able to lose almost 400 pounds, but, according to In Touch Weekly, he was unfortunately diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which affected his ability to walk and required him to be wheelchair-bound again. Unfortunately, after this devastating setback, he reportedly gained back 200 pounds.
But, like the other highly motivated stars of My 600-Lb Life, Shelton didn’t give up. According to In Touch, he was ultimately able to drop some of the weight he put on, and he looked trim and happy in later social media posts.
Every story on My 600-lb Life is heartbreaking, but when Laura Perez revealed the origins of her episode of the show, it made for particularly difficult viewing. At five years old, an older cousin began abusing her, and food became her coping mechanism. "I never told my parents anything, so the molestation went on for years," she revealed (via the Daily Mail). "My whole life just changed, so I turned to food. That was my comfort."
When viewers were introduced to Perez in season 3, she weighed 594 pounds. She was confined to a wheelchair and needed an oxygen tank to breathe. "She is physically in one of the worst shapes I have ever seen," Dr. Nowzaradan said. The surgeon removed 80 percent of Perez’s stomach during a gastrectomy and she managed to shed an amazing 412 pounds, but her new figure caused problems with her marriage.
During her March 2018 Where Are They Now special, Perez revealed that her husband was having a hard time accepting the new her. "Joey and me seem to be fighting more than ever," she said. "I want to keep becoming more independent and get a job and have a career. He doesn’t want me to do that… I’m not 600 pounds anymore, I don’t need to be trapped." In April 2018, a man named Eric Juarez revealed that Perez (who has been going by the name Angelika) had left Joey for him.
Like Laura Perez, Diana Bunch’s food addiction was triggered by childhood trauma, but it didn’t take over her life until years later. According to The Wrap, she "was molested by two older boys at 11 years old," and binge eating helped her cope. But her mother pressured her to diet even though Bunch spent her teenage years weighing around 115 pounds. Once she flew the nest, however, that all changed.
According to InTouch, the Seattle resident joined the Air Force, but was discharged because her size meant she couldn’t perform her duties. Out of work, Bunch started getting bigger. She became confined to her one-bedroom apartment, eating herself to a dangerous size — a reported 620 pounds at one point.
"When you’re morbidly obese, everyday life, just getting through it, it’s miserable," she said during her first appearance on the show. "Pain is a constant visitor throughout my day, but my legs are what hurt the most." Her lymphedema was crippling, leaving her with swollen legs covered in open sores. "I don’t look human," she said. "If I don’t get help, I know that this apartment is where I’m going to die."
It was her niece, Megan, who convinced her to move to Texas and see Dr. Now, who removed 70 percent of her stomach. She was able to shed 265 pounds as a result, and is now living life to the fullest. Every Tuesday, Bunch updates her Facebook page with something she’s thankful for.
Tara Taylor tipped the scales at 606 pounds when she made her debut on season 2 of the show. The mother-of-two was practically bed-ridden, with the extra pressure on her joints making it too painful for her to walk. She relied on family to care for her children, but surgery gave her the chance to be a mother again. The Louisiana native managed to burn 300 pounds, though losing that much weight so quickly took a toll
"When I was 600 pounds I was very healthy, never got sick or anything," Taylor told TLC for an update in 2018 (via Starcasm). "But since I had the surgery and lost all this weight, I get sick so easily." She was fighting off a head cold at the time, but My 600-lb Life viewers will be happy to learn that life is otherwise good for Taylor. In fact, she’s engaged. Turns out she’s set to marry Eugene, the old friend she went on a date with during a 2015 catch-up episode.
"I have never in my life been on a traditional date," she admitted at the time (via the Daily Mail). "I don’t know if I am ready, but I am going to take a chance … Now that I have lost the weight, this is a whole new world for me. The reason I am willing to give Eugene a chance is that he is a good man." Before the year was out he’d popped the question.
When My 600-lb Life viewers first met June McCamey, her relationship with her girlfriend had reached breaking point. Longtime partner Sadi was buying fast food for McCamey on a daily basis, sometimes making up to three trips out a day in order to avoid confrontation. "She acts like an addict," Sadi said. "Her fix is food." McCamey was well aware that she’d become a burden on her girlfriend, admitting that she felt like a prisoner in her own home.
"I’m living in a nightmare," she said during her first appearance on the show (via Life&Style). "I feel imprisoned into my body. I have three seats; the bed, the bathroom toilet, and my chair. My world is confined. I feel suffocated." McCamey had steadily gained weight over the course of four pregnancies, and let herself go altogether after the tragic death of her 17 year old son, Mack. By the time she agreed to meet with Dr. Now, she was worried that her knees were about to give way. "I don’t think they’re going to last," she said.
They did last, however, and today those knee joints are under considerably less pressure. After going under the knife, McCamey was able to start losing weight for the first time in a long time. By 2018, she’d dropped in excess of 200 pounds. "I’m way more mobile than I was almost a year ago, I’m not sick like I use to be," she said. "I’m truly enjoying life again."
Nicole Lewis was only 23 when she popped up in season 5, but she already weighed a mind-blowing 684 pounds. She was so wide that she couldn’t fit through her bathroom door, which meant her boyfriend had to wash her out on the back porch. She has two kids with longtime partner Charlie, who also loves food — the two used to go on grocery shopping dates. "It’s kind of romantic in a way," Lewis said.
Her obesity meant her mother was having to help them raise the kids, which made her situation at home more dire than ever. "When I was little, me and my mom never really got along, because she had a really bad temper, and would explode on me for things that I just didn’t understand," Lewis said (via the Mirror). "And when that happened, I would always run to the garage, because my dad would be out there working on something. So I would just sit with him, and he would give me a snack."
When her dad was put away on drugs charges she soon started gaining, hitting 400 pounds by the time she was 16. Recent reports suggest that Lewis finally has her weight under control, however. She was initially said to have shed 200 pounds, but Starcasm is claiming it’s a "far higher figure" than that. Her Where Are They Now episode is currently being filmed, but until then you can check out her amazing progress on her Facebook page.