Losing weight is a tremendous journey, especially when such a change alters a person’s life forever. Some of TLC’s My 600lb Life participants dealt with devastating health problems and the emotional turmoil that comes with them. Weight loss is never easy, but some fan’s favorite TLC cast members overcame their biggest hurdles and achieved life goals.
The reality show premiered on TLC in February 2012, documenting the lives of weight-loss patients. The series follows bariatric surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan (AKA Dr. Now), specializing in weight loss surgery and caring for people desperate to improve their quality of life before it’s too late.
If you wonder what happened to these TLC’s My 600lb Life cast who fought through the pain surgery and conquered their weight loss, we got all the updates! So where are TLC’s My 600lb Life stars now?
The first-ever participant of My 600lb Life, Melissa Morris weighed 653 pounds before having gastric bypass surgery and lost 500 pounds on the show in 2012.
If you’re familiar with Melissa’s journey, you know that having children was something she desperately wanted. Despite her unlikely odds (a doctor once told her she only had a 2 percent chance of getting pregnant, according to her TLC interview), Melissa became a mom to Allona on May 1st, 2010. Today, she’s a mom three times over.
Morris found that parenthood affected her weight loss and she has fluctuated ever since, “I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be when you have kids and have food for them around you all day long. It’s hard to stick to a diet.”
Shelton, who appeared on season 1 in 2012, went from 675 to 295 pounds after his operation, but he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to damage the nerves.
According to InTouch Weekly, the condition left Donald too weak to walk and he began using a wheelchair. Following the bombshell diagnosis, Shelton gained 200 pounds. However, despite the setback, he was determined to repeat his My 600lb Life success. After the 200 pounds gain, Shelton vowed to try to shed the weight again and keep it off.
As of 2019, Shelton was single and still living in Texas. If his active social media pages offer any indication, he appears to have dropped the weight once again.
Zsalynn Whitworth’s story brought to light the difficulties of relationships & personal health. Whitworth’s husband (her main support system) was riddled with negativity and possessed the opposite intent for helping Whitworth lose weight.
In the first episode featuring Whitworth, it became clear that her husband would be a huge obstacle. He was vocally opposed to Zsalynn’s desire to seek Dr. Now’s help because of his fetish for extremely heavy women. Not only was Gareth against his wife losing weight, he actually wanted her to gain more.
Despite Gareth’s negative influence, Zsalynn did manage to lose enough weight to qualify for gastric bypass. She weighed more than 600 pounds when she appeared on season 2 in 2014, but she lost 300 pounds after having gastric bypass surgery.
By 2015, Whitworth and her husband divorced, divulging that he had not “found much good in my changes.” She is living life and enjoying the benefits of her weight loss. Whitworth currently resides in Texas and is now raising her daughter, Hannah.
In season 3 of My 600lb Life, viewers were introduced to Joe Wexler, who weighed in initially weighed 777 pounds. Fortunately, Joe was able to get help from Dr. Nowzaradan, who performed gastric bypass surgery on him after he lost close to 200 pounds on his own.
After the show, he married but the union was short-lived. Wexler went through a tough divorce in 2019 and gained some weight but was determined to lose it again.
In a lengthy announcement on Facebook, Wexler explained his emotional downward spiral during his breakup, “During the struggles with her I went into a deep depression and as a result, I didn’t care about myself or what I put in my body so I gained weight. I am in a much better place now and as of yesterday I have started my diet back up again so I can get back down to where I was at before.”
Amber Rachdi lost more than 400 pounds after initially weighing 660 pounds during season 3 in 2015. Rachdi was only twenty-three years old when she was featured on TLC’s My 600lb Life. She suffered from severe anxiety and she used food as a coping mechanism. She describes the feeling of anticipation prior to a meal as a “combination of depression and sadness.”
At the beginning of the episode, Rachdi wasn’t able to stand for more than 30 minutes as her body was unable to support the weight. Dr. Now approved Rachdi after she lost seventeen pounds on her own. She began to attend therapy to learn about her food triggers and became more independent after her surgery – learning how to drive and moving out of her parent’s house.
Where is she now? Amber Rachdi is the emerging Instagram queen. She highlights her makeup skills, cute hairstyles, and her new outfits. She has 214K followers on Instagram and is a plus-size model, serving as an inspiration for many who watch her episode.
Though the latest season of TLC’s My 600lb Life was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the previously recorded episodes are expected to air sometime this year. You can watch My 600lb Life on Prime Video, VUDU, Philo, or Vudu Movie & TV Store on your Roku device.