After eating too much and not moving enough, Colton Lowe weighed a total of 478 pounds when he graduated high school.
When Lowe got his first job and made some money, the first place he would go would be a restaurant and he would go every day. Food was a coping mechanism for when he became frustrated.
Man Loses 300 Pounds To Be Eligible To Donate Liver To His Dad
However, he tolerated his weight until two incidents…. The first was a convention he attended for work in 2019 where he was on his feet all day. And when he would get home, he couldn’t feel his legs and was alarmed that they were red and swollen.
“(But) the final nail in the coffin was I had purchased a project car to work on and I spent a good part of six to seven months working on it. When I went in for my first test drive, I realized I couldn’t fit in the car,” Lowe, 23, who works as a sales manager at an auto parts store, told TODAY.
“I couldn’t do things I wanted to do, so I needed to do something about it.”
And when Lowe discovered he couldn’t lose the weight on his own, he saw that his health insurance covered bariatric surgery. He decided to look into it as a New Year’s resolution and made an appointment with a doctor in January 2021.
Weighing 478 pounds at 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Lowe was declared a good candidate for the procedure. And in April 2021, Lowe underwent gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center in Texas.
During the procedure, doctors remove about 80% of the stomach, including the portion that produces most of the “hunger hormone,” per the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
After the surgery, Lowe recalled that when he would eat something, he would know it.
“I would feel it sit there in my stomach and I’m just like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to eat anymore,’ which is what the point of the surgery was,” he said.
Lowe now makes sure to measure his portions so that they fit plates no bigger than 6 inches in diameter. The surgery required making significant shifts to his diet, including staying away from sugary foods and empty carbs. Lowe also can’t drink anything carbonated because the extra air can cause his stomach to expand out, leading to discomfort.
“I just made it clear to myself that I cannot mess this up. I just needed to be essentially a good boy and follow the rules,” he noted.
And a good boy he was. By late last year, Lowe had lost 200 pounds. However, that is when the second incident.
Lowe’s father, Edward, was diagnosed with liver failure and needed a liver transplant. He was put on the national waiting list, however, the life-saving surgery would likely happen quicker if the family could find a living donor.
Lowe knew he matched blood types with his dad, so “it was a no brainer” and he would volunteer. But there was also a weight requirement: The liver donor’s BMI couldn’t be over 32.
But thankfully, his BMI had already dropped to 30 — down from 70 at his maximum weight — so he would have qualified. However, by the time he underwent testing to make sure he could donate, a cadaver liver had already become available. That’s the organ his father received during transplant surgery last month.
That being said, Lowe was glad to know his own liver was an option for his dad thanks to his weight loss.
“I do feel a lot better about that… if ever the time comes, we will get it done together,” he said. “This weight loss had a bigger purpose than just me.”
Now, Lowe weighs 198 pounds, which is almost 300 less than his starting point last year.
He says the difference is “night and day,” sharing how his confidence is up and he feels a lot more comfortable.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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