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EntertainmentLong Island couple reveal how they lost a combined...

Long Island couple reveal how they lost a combined 330lbs

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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 330lbs with gastric surgery.  

Civil servant Kenny Turner, 37,  from Long Island, used food to console himself about his own body image growing up, and by 2019, had reached a weight of 410lbs.

It was at that point that girlfriend Lauren Harvey, 35, an investigator also from Long Island, suggested that the pair get gastrectomies, surgeries to remove a significant portion of body fat.

Lauren was 296lbs herself, and brought up the topic of weight loss surgeries after Kenny’s doctor told him that he wouldn’t live another year if he didn’t do something about his weight and health.

Since the surgery, Kenny is now down to 211lbs – around 200 less than his starting weight – and Lauren weighs in at 163lbs, 133lbs lighter. 

Couple pictured before their weight loss. Kenny went from 410lbs to 211lbs

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

Civil servant Kenny Turner, 37, and his girlfriend Lauren Harvey, 35, from Long Island, lost a combined 330lbs after receiving gastrectomies in 2019

‘I know the weight put a strain on the relationship just because of how uncomfortable I was in general, but didn’t really understand the extent until later,’ said Kenny.

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

Before this though, Kenny had started to isolate himself due to 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 to keep the weight down after the surgeries

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

Kenny before. He used to turn to food to console himself

Kenny is now down to 211lbs - around 200 less than his starting weight

Since the surgery, Kenny, pictured before, left, and now, right, is now down to 211lbs – around 200 less than his starting weight

Kenny, before, left, admitted he had social anxiety due to his weight and used to be embarrassed, but now is proud to showcase his body

Kenny, before, left, admitted he had social anxiety due to his weight and used to be embarrassed, but now is proud to showcase his body 

‘As a result, I had terrible social anxiety because I was so embarrassed by my size. I avoided almost all social settings and any event where I would have 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 started to shut myself in and isolate myself from almost everything.’

Kenny had avoided weight loss surgery in the past, anxious about the process, but said that Lauren – who is now his fiancée – was the motivation that he needed.

‘When I met Lauren in 2018, everything changed,’ he said.

‘I knew I wanted a life with her and in order to do that I needed to get healthier.

Kenny, pictured now, had avoided weight loss surgery in the past, anxious about the process, but said that Lauren - who is now his fiancée - was the motivation that he needed

Kenny, pictured now, had avoided weight loss surgery in the past, anxious about the process, but said that Lauren – who is now his fiancée – was the motivation that he needed

Lauren, pictured before, left,  said Kenny motivated her to lose weight, and added meeting him when she was at her highest weight proved he liked her for her

Lauren, pictured before, left,  said Kenny motivated her to lose weight, and added meeting him when she was at her highest weight proved he liked her for her 

‘She actually approached me and told me she was thinking of having weight loss surgery, and the thought of being able to have someone to go through this process eased a lot of my anxiety, so I finally decided to move forward with having the surgery.’

Lauren added that the motivation went both ways – as Kenny was the reason she had decided to take this step too.

‘Prior to meeting Kenny, losing weight was always about being pretty and skinny, and that hopefully I would become pretty and skinny enough to find someone to love me,’ she said.

‘I am so incredibly lucky that things did not work out that way. When I met my now-fiancé, I was close to or near my highest weight.

In the past, left, Lauren thought she had to be skinny to find someone to love her, but thanks to Kenny, she learned it isn't true

In the past, left, Lauren thought she had to be skinny to find someone to love her, but thanks to Kenny, she learned it isn’t true 

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

‘I realized that my way of thinking was so backwards. I had been alone for so long and convinced myself that I would always be alone – so I had never given much thought of what life would be like with a partner.

‘When I realized he was the one, I saw this whole life in front of me with endless possibilities and opportunities that I did not previously believe I would have.

‘I wanted to live my best life, with him right by my side, and I did not want to be held back from anything we wanted to do in life by my weight.

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

‘I loved that my mindset was now about being healthy, and not about being skinny and pretty. Even better was that I knew I had someone who would love me regardless of what I weighed.’

And while the couple were supportive of each other through thick and thin, not everyone was so accepting of their weights.

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

‘Even my mom would give me subtle disapproving looks whenever I was going for food in front of her.’

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

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

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

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

‘My mom would openly question a lot of my food choices too,’ said Lauren.

‘Given my weight, it was definitely warranted, but it still hurt.

‘When I would openly lament about my weight, my friends would just say “So why don’t you just lose weight?” As if it were so easy to do. Others would say “this is totally in your control to change”.

‘I guess it’s hard for people who aren’t morbidly obese to understand how difficult losing weight is.’

With this new mindset and each other for encouragement, the pair booked themselves in for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) surgeries – Kenny’s in September 2019, and Lauren’s in November 2019.

‘It’s like childbirth,’ said Lauren.

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

‘It took a lot of time and hard work to adapt to such a different lifestyle.’

The couple now enjoy an active lifestyle and go on daily walks, as well as taking hikes on thr weekends

 The couple now enjoy an active lifestyle and go on daily walks, as well as taking hikes on thr 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 is now a protein shake and banana for breakfast, and three to five ounces of lean protein, a couple of ounces of greens, and a couple of ounces of complex carbs for lunch and dinner.

‘Because your stomach size is so much smaller after surgery, you significantly have to limit the portion sizes of what you’re eating,’ said Kenny.

‘The surgery helped me limit my food intake, but in addition to that I had to make drastic changes to my food choices and I also worked out a lot.’

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

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

Since the surgery, the pair has gotten engaged to be married this year and are happier than ever.

‘When I was bigger, I truly didn’t really know how much in life I was missing out on,’ said Kenny.

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

‘But looking back now I had no idea how much I was limiting my potential and how watered down my life had become.

‘Now, I feel very present in the moment and more active in just day to day tasks. I would force myself out of the house to go see family and friends, but once I was there I would just sit in the corner and observe everyone while they were living in the moment and enjoying themselves.

‘Now I’m running around playing with my nieces and nephews. I’m no longer hiding in the corner, I’m in the middle of the gathering right alongside everyone. I’m pushing those around me to be better.

‘I’m trying to lead by example by living an active lifestyle. I love going for bike rides and hikes. I’m trying to be that weird guy who schedules 5k runs on holidays.

‘All in all, I’m super proud of myself for how far I’ve come and what I’ve been able to accomplish and hopefully keep accomplishing.’

Lauren commented that not all of the changes she’s noticed are positive – but most are.

‘Losing weight has changed my life in a lot of ways – many expected and some not.

‘Many people comment on my appearance now – which is not surprising, but what did catch me off guard is how willing people are to pass judgment on my heavier self now that I have lost weight, or how openly they’re willing to talk about my body and give unsolicited opinions or advice.

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

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

‘Weight loss does not make all of your problems go away, but it does enable you to face them head on without using your weight as an obstacle or excuse to work on those problems.

‘I did not realize how strong my addiction to food was until I literally wasn’t allowed to have it anymore.

‘I didn’t realize how much I would actually appreciate working out. Exercise for me was always about losing weight, and/or a punishment for eating poorly. 

‘Exercise is now more exciting for me – seeing my body tone change was so much more significant than the numbers on the scale.

‘Most significant was catching my reflection in mirrors, or seeing myself in pictures whether posed or candid – and not hating what I was looking at. I no longer felt compelled to crop myself, or untag myself from any and all photos.

‘Lastly, the biggest change for me was experiencing what my original goal was – never being limited in being able to do what I wanted to do because of my weight.’

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