While he was at work at his computer job, Justin Shelton suddenly fell sick. Within a couple of hours he was at the emergency room and he was being told he may have a kidney infection by the doctors doing tests on him. But they would not be sure until they could run a scan on him with their imaging machine. They wanted to be sure their diagnosis was correct. However the apparatus would not support his weight of 592 pounds. This would be the wake-up call which would ultimately bring about a 538 pound weight loss.
He explained how he got a very hard reality check when they said they had no way to know for sure he really did have an infection. They told him they would treat it aggressively and hope that that was what the trouble was. He was reminded of just two years before, his wife Lauren had experienced her own medical crisis. She had to have her gallbladder taken out because of her weight. She was 341 pounds at her largest.
Their respective sizes made everyday chores tough, too. Once when Lauren had been flying, the seat belt would not fit around her. She was humiliated and attempted to keep the flight attendants from finding out that she could not fit inside the airplane seat.
Each Shelton had also been told they could not get on certain rides at a local amusement park because of their sizes.
They still continued to live their lives the same way until Justin was taken to the emergency room. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The couple, who live in Tennessee, knew it was time something had to be done, it was time for a drastic change.
Justin got lucky. The doctors were correct in their diagnosis and cleared up his kidney infection. But it got him thinking about what if it had been something more serious, and how he would have handled it. He became very concerned
When Feb. 2012 came along, the couple started what would be over 18 months of a weight-loss journey to take back their bodies and have control of their health. They had met from an online service seven years before, and their relationship orbited around their similar eating habits. They enjoyed going out and indulged in one after another unhealthy meal.
Each one realized to get healthy, they would need another person to lead them both on the right track. They pursued help from a weight-loss supervision program at a near-by medical school. They met up with a physician’s assistant who showed them strategies on what they should and should not eat, and on what amount of exercise they would need to do.
Justin and Lauren began their exercise program by doing simple accomplishments such as walking around the park and also going swimming. Eventually by the end of 2012, they decided to join a gym. They also began using an app on a smartphone which tracked all calories they ate. When they started, they ate at restaurants very few times and fixed most meals at their home. They discovered recipes that were for healthier versions of the foods they adored. Their diet mostly was made up of lean meats with many vegetables and fruits.
They each lost weight quickly in the beginning and wanted to keep the loss going steady without getting disappointed because they knew they would not lose so fast the more they lost. They kept graphs which showed their respective weight losses through another phone app. It helped them both stay motivated and make it through the rougher weeks.
After 19 months have passed, Justin has lost 362 pounds and Lauren dropped 176 pounds. This means together they have dropped a total of 538 pounds.
They are human and admit to giving in to their cravings from time to time. Lauren admits to having an intense sweet tooth, but she says she helps controls the desires with doing activities such as taking walks.
They have returned to that same theme park and rode the once-forbidden rides with no problem and when they fly, they have to pull the seat belts around each of their waists. They feel great, almost like newlyweds again. With a combined weight-loss of 538 pounds, that is completely understandable.
Written by: Kimberly Ruble