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A couple from Long Island revealed how they lost a combined 330 pounds

A couple pictured before their weight loss.  Kenny went from 410 pounds to 211 pounds

A man who was told he only had a year to live if he didn’t lose weight has revealed how he and his wife lost a combined 330 pounds after gastric bypass surgery.

State employee Kenny Turner, 37, of Long Island, used food to comfort himself about his own body growing up, and by 2019 had reached a weight of 410 pounds.

At that point, friend Lauren Harvey, 35, an investigator also from Long Island, suggested the pair undergo a gastrectomy, an operation to remove a significant portion of body fat.

Lauren herself weighed 296 pounds and came up with the topic of weight loss surgery after Kenny’s doctor told him he wouldn’t live another year unless he did something about his weight and health.

Since the surgery, Kenny is now 211 pounds — about 200 less than his starting weight — and Lauren is 163 pounds, 133 pounds lighter.

A couple pictured before their weight loss.  Kenny went from 410 pounds to 211 pounds

Pictured: the couple now.  Lauren went from 296 pounds to 163 pounds

Civil servant Kenny Turner, 37, and his girlfriend Lauren Harvey, 35, of Long Island, lost a combined 330 pounds after getting a gastrectomy in 2019.

“I know the weight put a strain on the relationship just because of how unpleasant I was in general, but it wasn’t until later that I really understood the extent,” Kenny said.

At almost 410 pounds or 210 pounds, I knew she was my soulmate. Lauren found a way to love me at my worst and to bring out the little joy I had.’

But before that, Kenny began to isolate himself because of his weight.

“I was full of self-loathing. I hated how I looked and how far I had let myself go,” he said.

The couple, pictured now, encouraged each other to exercise and keep the weight off after the surgeries

The couple, pictured now, encouraged each other to exercise and keep the weight off after the surgeries

Kenny before.  He turned to food to comfort himself

Kenny is now at 211 pounds—about 200 less than his starting weight

Since the surgery, Kenny, pictured before left and now right, is now 211 pounds – about 200 less than his starting weight

Kenny has previously left, admitting he had social anxiety about his weight and used to be embarrassed, but is now proud to show off his body

Kenny has previously left, admitting he had social anxiety about his weight and used to be embarrassed, but is now proud to show off his body

“As a result, I had terrible social anxiety because I was so ashamed of my size. I avoided almost all social settings and any event where I had to be out in public.

“Everywhere I went I felt like the biggest person in the room and that everyone was staring at me and judging me. So I began to withdraw into myself and isolate myself from almost everything.’

Kenny has shied away from weight loss surgery in the past, apprehensive about the process, but said Lauren – who is now his fiancee – was the motivation he needed.

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“When I met Lauren in 2018, everything changed,” he said.

“I knew I wanted to live with her and to do that I had to get healthier.

Kenny, who is now pictured, has avoided weight loss surgery in the past, he was apprehensive about the process but said Lauren, who is now his fiancee, was the motivation he needed.

Kenny, who is now pictured, has avoided weight loss surgery in the past, he was apprehensive about the process but said Lauren, who is now his fiancee, was the motivation he needed.

Lauren, pictured above, left, saying that Kenny motivated her to lose weight, adding that meeting him when she was at her heaviest proved that he liked her for her.

Lauren, pictured above, left, saying that Kenny motivated her to lose weight, adding that meeting him when she was at her heaviest proved that he liked her for her.

“She actually reached out to me and told me she was thinking about weight loss surgery and the idea of ​​having someone to go through the process eased a lot of my anxiety so I finally decided to go ahead with the surgery. ‘

Lauren added that the motivation went both ways – as Kenny was the reason she made the move as well.

“Before I met Kenny, losing weight was always about being pretty and thin and hopefully being pretty and thin enough to find someone who will love me,” she said.

“I’m incredibly lucky it didn’t work out that way. I was at or near my highest weight when I met my current fiancé.

In the past, left, Lauren thought she had to be skinny to find someone to love her, but thanks to Kenny, she found out that wasn't true.

In the past, left, Lauren thought she had to be skinny to find someone to love her, but thanks to Kenny, she found out that wasn’t true.

“It didn’t matter—he loved me anyway. He loved me for me – not because of or in spite of my weight. That was a game changer for me.

“I realized that my way of thinking is so backward. I had been single for so long and convinced myself that I would always be single – so I never really thought much about what life would be like with a partner.

“When I realized he was the one, I saw this whole life ahead of me with endless possibilities and opportunities that I never believed I would have before.

“I wanted to live my best life with him right by my side and I didn’t want my weight to stop me from doing anything we wanted to do in life.

“I wanted to live a long and healthy life together – doing all the things I never thought possible.

“I liked that my mindset was now healthy and not skinny and pretty. Even better, I knew I had someone who would love me no matter what I weighed.”

And even though the couple supported each other through thick and thin, not everyone was so accepting of their weight.

“Everyone always called me ‘big guy,’ which I hated,” Kenny said.

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“Even my mom gave me subtle disapproving looks whenever I went in front of her to get food.

The couple are now engaged and plan to tie the knot later this year after four years of dating

The couple are now engaged and plan to tie the knot later this year after four years of dating

The 35-year-old, pictured above, said people don't understand how hard it is to lose weight when you're morbidly obese.  Pictured now, right

The 35-year-old, pictured above, said people don’t understand how hard it is to lose weight when you’re morbidly obese. Pictured now, right

“My mom would also openly question a lot of my meals,” Lauren said.

“It was definitely justified for my weight, but it still hurt.

“When I would openly lament my weight, my friends would say ‘So why don’t you just lose weight?’ as if it was that easy. Others would say ‘this is completely within your power to change’.

“I think it’s hard for people who aren’t morbidly obese to understand how difficult it is to lose weight.”

With this new mindset and mutual encouragement, the pair booked Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) surgeries – Kenny in September 2019 and Lauren in November 2019.

“It’s like giving birth,” Lauren said.

“You can read all you want about it and get as much information as you can, but nothing fully prepares you for what it’s going to be like until you have to go through it.

“It took a lot of time and hard work to adapt to such a different lifestyle.”

The couple now live an active lifestyle and go for daily walks as well as hikes on the weekends

The couple now live an active lifestyle and go for daily walks as well as hikes on the weekends

Lauren’s diet now consists of egg whites and low-fat cheese for breakfast, grilled chicken and salad or vegetables for lunch, and a Skinnytaste recipe for dinner.

Kenny’s typical diet now is a protein shake and banana for breakfast and three to five ounces of lean protein, a few ounces of vegetables and a few ounces of complex carbohydrates for lunch and dinner.

“Because your stomach is much smaller after surgery, you have to significantly reduce the portion sizes of what you eat,” Kenny said.

“The surgery helped me limit my food intake, but apart from that I had to make drastic changes in my food choices and I also did a lot of exercise.”

Kenny now works out at least four times a week, doing strength training, cardio and muscle training.

Lauren also does cardio and strength training, as well as going for daily walks and weekend hikes.

Since the surgery, the pair got engaged this year and are happier than ever.

“When I was bigger, I didn’t really know how much I had missed out on in life,” Kenny said.

“I knew I was isolating myself from a lot of situations and limiting the things I could do.

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But looking back now, I had no idea how much I was limiting my potential and how much my life had weakened.

“I now feel very present in the moment and more active in my daily tasks. I forced myself out of the house to see my family and friends, but once there I just sat in the corner and watched everyone while they lived in the moment and enjoyed themselves.

“Now I run around and play with my nieces and nephews. I’m no longer hiding in the corner, I’m in the middle of the meeting right next to everyone. I push those around me to do better.

“I try to set an example with an active lifestyle. I like to go on bike rides and hikes. I try to be the weird guy who schedules 5k runs for the holidays.

“Overall, I’m very proud of myself for how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished and hope to continue to accomplish.”

Lauren noted that not all of the changes she noticed were positive – but most were.

“Losing weight has changed my life in so many ways – many expected and some not.

“A lot of people are commenting on my appearance now – which isn’t surprising, but what has surprised me is how willing people are to judge my heavier self when I’ve lost weight, or how open they are to talk about my body and give unsolicited opinions or advice.

Kenny, pictured before left and now right, said his weight loss has helped him live in the moment

Kenny, pictured before left and now right, said his weight loss has helped him live in the moment

“Losing weight won’t solve all your problems, but it will allow you to face them head on without using your weight as an obstacle or an excuse to work on those problems.

“I didn’t realize how strong my addiction to food was until I was literally allowed to have it.

“I didn’t realize how much I would actually appreciate exercise. Exercise for me has always been about weight loss and/or punishment for bad eating.

“Working out is more exciting for me now – seeing my body tone change was more meaningful than the numbers on the scale.

“The most important thing was catching my reflection in mirrors or seeing myself in pictures, whether posed or candid – and hating what I was looking at. I no longer felt compelled to crop myself or untag myself from all photos.

“The biggest change for me was experiencing what was my original goal – to never be limited by my weight in being able to do what I wanted to do.”

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