When 29-year-old John Allaire proposed to his high school sweetheart Caila in 2015, it was one of the happiest moments of his life, but was overshadowed by the reality that their future together couldn’t be bright if he continued on his current path. After years of comfort eating and a sedentary lifestyle, his weight had ballooned to 540 pounds and a BMI of 70. He confessed that he had to get weighed at a local fish market because there wasn’t a scale at the doctor’s office that could handle his size. 

In the first week, he lost 12.6 pounds, and that momentum continued until he had lost 297 pounds—a grand total of 317 pounds from his original 540-pound frame. To put that into perspective, he lost the equivalent of an adult male giant panda’s weight. He credits the support he received at the Camp, training hard, and kicking his destructive junk food habit with his incredible transformation. 

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But that immense weight loss came with another caveat. He had approximately 16 to 20 pounds of excess skin to lose, but that could only be done surgically. When his story and his GoFundMe page to help pay for the over $40,000 it would cost for the procedures went viral, he and Caila appeared on The Doctors, where they surprised him by connecting him with surgeons who volunteered to perform the surgery for free. 

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Now, John lives in Japan where Caila is currently stationed, and he had his first 10-hour surgery in March to remove the skin on his upper body. He will need to have a second surgery for his lower body. For now, he’s relishing every aspect of his newfound health. “I was remarking to my wife just the other day, that it’s not lost on me how l can bend down to tie my shoelaces without thinking about it—without having to find a place to sit down and finagle my feet high enough to tie them,” he told The Daily Mail. “If you told me two years ago that I would be the size I am now and I could fit into a medium shirt, I would tell you you’re crazy.”

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