Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
July 30 2007

What Does a 410 Pound Weight Loss Really Look Like?

By Mark Sisson
29 Comments

If this doesn’t inspire, I don’t know what will. This young man went from being beached on his sofa at a whale of a weigh-in (630 pounds!) to a healthy, fit 220. I’ll spare you the most shocking pictures of his series of skin removal surgeries (click here to see them all).

That said, it’s quite a state of affairs when we live in a country where this sort of thing occurs almost as a matter of routine. Odder still that there are surgeons expressly specializing in excess skin removal. (Pardon the inadvertent pun, but it’s a hugely risky procedure.) I for one am nothing short of perplexed: why don’t we have the proper infrastructure in place to prevent these increasingly common horror stories? Okay, I’m not really perplexed. But when you’ve got actual reality television shows devoted to obesity, it’s time to wake up, America.

Only in a country where:

1) health care is woefully lacking, outdated, and corrupt,

2) the deficient food supply services a miserable, stressed-out batch of blind lemmings just trying to cope,

3) and the government is too busy kissing Big Agra’s butt to teach correct nutrition and fitness information,

…could you expect to find these cases. I doubt this is going on in many other places in the world, but by all means, set me straight if I’m in error.

At any rate, I’m thrilled to see this guy was a successful exception to the frequent complications of these surgeries. He radically changed his body, his health, and his life – so I hope more people will feel empowered to do likewise.

Further reading:

Most Popular Posts

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

29 thoughts on “What Does a 410 Pound Weight Loss Really Look Like?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I think it is highly irresponsible to advocate and continue with a diet of high starch high calories for people. It is going to start with the people taking steps in raising and ultimately preventing these errors from happening.

  2. I read that this guy lost the weight without gastric bypass or any such way – just diet and exercise. His turnaround gets my highest props, and I am truly inspired. He must have overcome so much internally to have such a dramatic turnaround, and, for that, I applaud!

  3. When I see someone that large, I think, “It can’t just be a matter of eating too much and not exercising.” There must be something seriously wrong with the endocrine system, probably damage from a combination of harmful ingredients like HFCS and the snowball effects of weight gain. In China and Korea, I saw people who ate and drank too much, but I rarely saw anyone over 200 lb. and never anyone so large they couldn’t walk at a normal pace. Whenever I’d visit an Asian country, I’d include a stop in a grocery store to see what people eat. Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok – what struck me was the tiny selection of packaged, prepared foods. Most floor space is devoted to produce, meat, and fish. My midwestern family subsists on a diet of factory farm meats, potatoes, white bread, and a tiny dollop of canned vegetables. Meals are crap, yet they’re mostly made from scratch and don’t come out of a box or plastic container. My mom and sibs are all overweight, but nobody is a candidate for gastric bypass surgery.

    1. Actually, Asians eat a massive amount of rice. In Japan, almost everything eaten is processed to some degree and has MSG in it. They eat lots of breads and baked goods. They just are very weight-wary in Asia and there are very firm social “rules” about overweight. For instance, in Korea, there’s a diet for girls that are overweight so that they can find a man: something like eating 3 hard-boiled eggs a day and a little big of veg.

      Though they eat a lot of processed foods and chemicals, I don’t think HFCS is very available there (yet), though China’s well on its way to following America’s trend.

      I mean, corn is hard to grow in Asia. They’d much rather have rice fields. 😛

      You’re right about never seeing anyone over 200lbs in Asia though. I’m Chinese, so every time I go back to China, I get used to seeing normal sized people. The second I step back into an American airport, I realize how many people here are preposterously and inconceivably huge.

      Hmm… now that I think about it, it’s not REALLY as bad as people are here. As much as Asia has processed foods, no one lives off of McD or the like. The whole foods are cheaper than fast food. I think that’s the main problem in America. Junk food is cheaper (and more convenient) than whole foods, so people go for the junk food.

      1. I completely agree!!! Its so much cheaper and easier to eat premade foods and fast food here. But… our brains have been trained.. we eat that crap thinking its cheaper and then spend thousands of dollars on Dr.s and then diets and gyms. Craziness and I am obese, lost 110 once and 78 the next time… now I am just freaking exhausted.

  4. I agree groovalicious. Sonagi, yes, years of poor eating hurts every system in the body making it easier to gain weight. My husband lived in Japan for a couple of years. Very different for sure.

  5. “I doubt this is going on in many other places in the world, but by all means, set me straight if I’m in error.”

    Okay then. America is fat, but we’re not alone. Italy actually has the world’s fattest man:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2396655

    Over 1 in 4 Russian women are scientifically huge. (note: vodka = lots of calories)
    http://www.annecollins.com/obesity/worldwide-obesity.htm

    And the Scots have had a recent plague of chubby children http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4073901.stm)

    Then there is the singular example of Japan, which has one of the lowest obesity rates among industrialized nations, and yet two of their most popular sports are sumo wrestling and competitive eating. A tiny Japanese lady nicknamed the “Black Widow” frequently bests the beefiest red blooded Americans in national wing bowl and hot dog eating contests.

    There is a bell curve in every society. No matter the norm, there will always be a number of grossly obese and a number of grossly thin. That there are more skin removal surgeries today is not an indicator of more grossly obese, it is simply an indicator that more grossly obese people are losing weight. Which I believe is a good thing.

    “Then you’ve got actual reality television shows devoted to obesity, it’s time to wake up, America.”

    To me this seems to be a paradox statement. I’m assuming you are talking about shows like “The Biggest Loser” which is a reality show tracking the progress of overweight people regaining their health. The show is not devoted to obesity, it is devoted to the pursuit of fitness, it is the example of America waking up. I don’t see the media as promoting obesity nearly as much as promoting the other end of the spectrum: the grossly underweight. It seems much more acceptable to be a skeletally anorexic cocaine vampire, than a chubby Charlie.

    1. It is certainly not promoted to the pursuit of fitness or health. The show encourages borderline-eating disorder habits that are not possible to maintain longterm. Many contestants on that show gain all of the weight back and then some.

  6. McFly,

    Thank you for your excellent comments – and you make a good point about the bell curve. I do want to note that I am all in favor of shows like The Biggest Loser. The reality show I am referring to, unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of (one of those cases of random channel surfing and noticing a show about exceptionally obese folks). I don’t think the media promote obesity and did not intend for that to be the take-away message from my statement about reality television. I think the fact that the “obesity problem” is evidently serious enough to warrant a television program is simply a sad reflection on the current state of affairs. But I certainly don’t think that means the media are actually promoting obesity. They’re simply going after ratings.

  7. I disagree with McFly. I’m not sure the media has woken up to healthy living. For every one “Biggest Loser” reality show, there are five sitcoms which feature a lovable fat guy with an extremely hot wife. It’s a double standard (women must maintain perfect shape and beauty, while guys can be chubby/dumb as long as they’re funny).

    Also, you mentioned Japan as idolizing sumo and competitive eating, but you failed to mention the upswing of Japanese celebrity sports. There has been a recent boom of popular game shows in Japan in which the contestants compete in physical challenges (remember American Gladiators? Now it’s Ninja Warriors). While Americans watch with bovine interest as their blue collar peers try to “pick a correct suitcase full of money,” our Japanese counterparts are building obstacle courses in their backyards and exercising in hopes of competing on a gameshow.

  8. “…there are five sitcoms which feature a lovable fat guy with an extremely hot wife.”

    Five? Really? I’m not so sure. That may have been true a few years ago, but the reign of “The King of Queens” is over. “According to Jim” is dead in syndication, and “Yes, Dear” was drowned out by the wave of Sci-Fi serials such as “Lost” and “Heroes.”

    The new sitcoms look more like “Ugly Betty” which blows apart your “double standard.”

  9. McFly, I’d be interested in doing a casual survey. Don’t watch TV much anymore, but the chubby hubby/hot wife just seems to be the de facto representation on TV: from the Simpsons to the Family Guy to Everybody Loves Raymond to Home Improvement to the Sopranos to the new Mad Men to the Riches to 30 Rock to the shows you mentioned. Granted, several of those shows have ended, but many are still in syndication. Poor old dad/boyfriend/boss is typically a slightly unattractive, oafy, even obnoxious guy who somehow has an incredibly hot, brilliant wife or girlfriend. Sure, there are exceptions that play into the younger demo (Sex in the City, Will and Grace, Lost). But the cliche still exists. And commercials make men look oafish and idiotic and domestically challenged.

  10. Touche, Sara! Dividing “shlubby/nuerotic” and “unhealthy” into two categories, I could argue that Raymond, Tim Allen (Home Improvement), and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) are all moderately healthy men, though Alec isn’t quite as studly as his 1980’s-Kim-and-I-are-the-hottest-couple-ever days. Family Guy is purposely sending up the stereotype of fat guy/hot wife, and Marge Simpson isn’t exactly a beauty queen (yeah, I said it!). Though commercials are still as horrible as ever.

    The lovable schlub/loser is nothing new. It goes all the way back to Aristotle and his plays about Socrates, constantly being henpecked by his wife. Ultimately a good sit-com needs good problems, and it’s easy when your main character is a guy who is naturally prone to having a lot of problems. Thus, we sympathise and laugh at all these poor old dad/boyfriend/bosses. The one glorious acception is Seinfeld, in which it was the rest of the world that had the problem.

  11. I’m with ya, Sister Sarah. I hated the whole premise of the King of Queens. Hot women will flock to rich, fat men, not ordinary blue-collar tubbies. I noticed the same chubby, plain guy/ thin, pretty gal combination in Korean advertising. I think it is a direct appeal to ordinary men – imagine yourself in this man’s shoes.

  12. I Commend This Guy For His Reaching His Goal!
    What an accomplishment he’s made, and what an awesome example he’s set for others who desire to lose much weight. Good For Him!

  13. Great post! Inspirational for people losing weight around the world. Btw sonagi: didn’t know that 🙂

  14. Lets get back to the subject here… Dang, he’s hot now! He may have always been hot, but since he was unhealthy its hard to see it. I want to cry when I see this. How many years was that hot guy lost in that old body, wasting years and experiences. kudos to you, for all the hard work you’ve done.

  15. I’m confused… what does the government, “Big Agra”, and our “corrupt” health care system have anything to do with?

    Seems to me this is a story of an out-of-control, overweight person that was putting too many calories in than he was expending and then decided to put less calories in than he was expending therefore radically changing his body composition?

    Or was this not the point of this blog post?

  16. As much as I enjoyed this story when I first heard about it, the sad thing is he gained back 300lbs within about 2 years of those “after” pictures. He was so proud to lose it, get a girlfriend and feel good for the first time, but then he spiraled back into failure. It’s sad really.
    This is what happens when you lie to the public about basic health and let the food industries run amok. They value profits over our well being.

  17. Hmmm… Mark.. the links in that article today links to “spam”.. you might wanna remove them..

  18. Congrats to this guy!! I’m glad he got the skin removal surgery, not just for aesthetics or how clothes fit, but for the depleted leptin. Now his hypothalamus won’t be all screwed up and his chances or any re-gain are probably very small now.