Two morbidly obese brothers who used to bond over their love of junk food have completely turned their lives around after losing a combined total of 726lbs.
David and Benji Bolton, from Houston, Texas, weighed 747lbs and 582lbs, respectively, when they started their weight loss journeys on Wednesday night’s episode of the TLC reality series My 600lb Life.
Over the course of one year, David, 35, and Benji, 32, overhauled their diets were able to shed more than 360lbs each following their weight loss surgeries.
Then and wow: David Bolton, 35, went from 747lbs (L) to 386lbs (R) over the course of a year
Weight loss winner: David’s brother Benji, 32, went from 582lbs (L) to 218lbs (R)
At the start of the episode, David could barely get out of bed and struggled with daily tasks like taking a shower.
‘I wake up every day hurting. My ankles hurt. My knees hurt. My back hurts. It’s like I’m being punished,’ he explained.
‘Because it’s so miserable to do anything, I’ve become almost immobile.’
David was only able to stand for a couple a minutes at a time, and he though he barely fit through the door of the bathroom, he forced himself to shower so the sores from his chafing skin wouldn’t get infected.
After years of turning to food for comfort, David was no longer able to work, and he relied on his girlfriend Mary to take care of him.
Tough times: Before he lost the weight, David was nearly immobile and had sores all over his stomach
Fears: David had to force himself to take a shower so his sores wouldn’t get infected
Following in his footsteps: Benji also had sores on his stomach from his skin chafing
Although he was slowly killing himself, Benji brought him breakfast every morning before he went to work, and the brothers would sit in the living room and gorge on food together.
‘I feel like I am not only destroying my life, I am destroying his too,’ David said of their eating habits.
Benji also had sores on stomach and lymphedema on his leg, and he feared he would turn out like David if he didn’t start losing weight.
David explained that he and Benji were allowed to eat whatever they wanted to when they were kids. He was the oldest of six kids, and whenever his mother and great-grandmother wanted to keep him quiet, they would give him something to eat.
Gorging: Every morning, Benji would get David breakfast and they would stuff their faces together
Start of it all: David is the oldest of six kids, and whenever his mother and great-grandmother (pictured) wanted to keep him quiet, they would give him something to eat
Looking back: David (far right) said his family didn’t have a lot of money, so food was like a ‘present’ to him
‘We didn’t have a lot of money for toys and things like most people did,’ he recalled, noting that his mother and great-grandmother found other ways to amuse him.
‘You could buy a box of Twinkies or make two dozen cupcakes and give them to your kids. It was happy. It was like getting a present to us,’ he said.
Their mother Rhonda admitted that whenever they had extra money, they would get cheeseburgers for the kids and let them eat as many as they wanted because it was a ‘treat.’
‘I started gaining weight right from the start, and I remember being chubby,’ David said. ‘I was always different, bigger than everybody else, and I just took it as being normal. By the time I was six, I was already up to 100lbs.’
Devastating: David wanted to be in beauty pageants likes his younger siblings, but his mom would never let him enter. He eventually realized he was too ‘fat’ to compete in them
Loss: While his mother was with his siblings, David was left home with his great-grandmother (pictured). When he was eight years old, she died and he turned to food for comfort
Spiraling out of control: By the time David was 10 years old, he weighed 145lbs
David began to realize he was overweight when his mom started entering Benji and his other siblings in beauty pageants but refused to let him participate.
‘I never understood why I was never good enough to be in those beauty pageants,’ he said. ‘Then I started to realize when I got older, it was because of my size.
‘A fat kid can’t be in a beauty pageant. That’s not beautiful. I felt like my siblings were more valued than me because they were all off doing that beauty pageant stuff.’
While his mother was busy with his siblings, David was left at home with his great-grandmother. David said she was his best friend, but she died when he was just eight years old.
Getting bigger by the day: At 18 years old, David weighed more than 300lbs
Heartbreaking loss: After marrying his wife Kelly, he gained another 100lbs, and she ended up cheating on him. When she left him, she took their daughter Trinity
Still in trouble: David met his girlfriend Mary online, but he continued to gain weight after she moved in with him
‘When she passed away, I didn’t have nobody,’ he admitted. ‘The one thing that made me happy was food, and when ate, I got bigger. When any of that emotion started coming back, I’d just eat some more.’
By the time he was 10 years old, David weighed about 145lb, and his weight continued to spiral out of control.
At 14, he clocked in at 300lbs, and he was over 400lbs when he graduated from high school. David recalled going to multiple drive-thru restaurants and buying five or six meals before taking the food to a park to eat.
Although he was getting bigger by the day, David fell in love and had a daughter named Trinity with his wife Kelly. Despite his happiness, David gained another 100lbs, and Kelly started to resent him.
Star: Although David started gaining wait as a child, Benji (pictured) remained slim and his mother would enter him in beauty pageants
Commanding the stage: Benji (pictured as a child) admitted that he found the pageants ‘fun’ because he was the center of attention
She eventually cheated on David, and they separated. After she took their daughter, David was left all alone and continued to turn to food for comfort.
Over the course of four years, his weight skyrocketed, but he still managed to find love after meeting his girlfriend Mary online.
However, he continued to pack on the pounds, even after she moved in with him. At one point, he caught pneumonia and was in a coma after having respiratory failure. After that awful scare, Mary feared that David was going to die.
Unlike David, whose struggled with his weight his entire life, Benji managed to keep his weight in check as a child. But he really started to put on the pounds after David got his driver’s license.
Whenever David had a food craving, he would take Benji to go eat with him, and by the time he was 16 years old, he weighed over 300lbs.
Trouble: Benji started gaining weight after his brother got his licence. Whenever David had a food craving, he would take Benji to go eat with him
Look of love: Benji is pictured with his wife Amanda on their wedding day
Benji ended up dropping out of high school his senior year, so he could get his GED and start working. He got a job as a tow-truck driver, but life on the road only made his eating habits worse.
His wife Amanda said she was never bothered by his weight, and after they got married, they had a daughter named Loreli.
Although Benji was more concerned about his older brother losing weight, David was determined that they would have weight loss surgery together.
When they went to visit weight loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, he warned David that he wasn’t going to live to see 40 if he didn’t drastically change his lifestyle. The doctor admitted that he didn’t even think David could survive a bad cold at this point.
Dr. Nowzaradan also made it clear to Benji that he was going to end up heavier than his brother if he didn’t make similar lifestyle changes.
Getting help: David insisted that he and Benji have weight loss surgery together
Troubles: Although David followed his recommended diet before the surgery, Benji allowed himself ‘cheat days’
Trouble: Benji was supposed to lose 400lbs in one month, but he only lost 40
In order to qualify for weight loss surgery, they had to lose 40lbs each over the course of one month. To help them out, the doctor put them on a 1,200 calorie, low-carb/high-protein diet.
David was determined to lose weight, and he followed the diet perfectly. He also made a point to do as much physical activity as he could stand.
Benji, however, felt he didn’t have to follow the diet as strictly as David did, and he allowed himself cheat days.
When they returned to see the doctor, David had lost a whopping 83lbs, but Benji had only shed a mere 11lbs.
David was approved for weight loss surgery, but he wanted to weight for Benji to do it with him. However, the doctor warned him that if he stopped losing weight or he started to gain weight, he would no longer qualify for the surgery.
Getting it together: Benji eventually lost weight and was approved for surgery. At his final weigh-in, it was revealed that he had lost a total of 365lbs
Success: At his final weigh-in, David learned that he lost a whopping 361lbs
Two months later, David had lost another 58lbs, while Benji only lost 3lbs.
David admitted it was getting harder to stick to his diet, and he opted to go ahead and have gastric bypass without his brother.
Benji realized that he needed to get his act together, and he finally committed to the diet that Dr. Nowzaradan put him on.
After losing more than enough weight, Benji was finally approved for gastric sleeve surgery, which was a success.
However, Benji’s weight loss was almost derailed after Hurricane Harvey destroyed his family’s home just one month after his surgery.
Although he tried to follow his diet and exercise plan as much as he could, they were living in a hotel and it admittedly wasn’t his top priority.
Despite the struggle, both Benji and David’s final weigh-ins were a success.
After 12 months, David lost a total of 361lbs and weighed 386lbs. Meanwhile, Benji was down to 218lbs after losing 365lbs.