Have The Stars Of My 600-Lb Life Kept The Weight Off?

TLC's "My 600 Lb Life" follows the medical journeys of individuals struggling with morbid obesity, including the connections between weight, mental health, and trauma. Those featured on the show aim to lose enough weight to qualify for life-changing gastric bypass surgery. The real challenge for patients is to remain disciplined enough to break unhealthy habits. This is a difficult feat, so success rates vary.

Viewers often wonder if "My 600-Lb Life" stars can realistically keep up with their strict weight loss regimens long-term. Here is a bit of a spoiler: many do keep the pounds off. Still, others struggle to make the lifestyle changes they learned on-camera permanent. This can have grave consequences. It is always disheartening to hear that some stars unfortunately continue former cycles, to the detriment of their health. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to obesity, including genetics, behaviors, and environments (via the CDC). 

The show creates added challenges, as individuals may find it particularly difficult to lose hundreds of pounds with the pressure of the entire process being televised. With the ups and downs of overcoming obesity, fans of the show speculate about which "My 600-Lb Life" stars were able to keep the weight off, and which are still in the beginning stages of their medical journeys.

Donald Shelton is enjoying life

Donald Shelton first appeared on "My 600-Lb Life" in 2012 and had begun Dr. Now's program in 2004. Per TLC, he weighed in at 675 pounds in the beginning. Shelton was able to drop a significant amount of weight by the time he parted ways with the series — with gastric bypass surgery, diet, and exercise, he lost 300 pounds (via HuffPost). This incredible accomplishment, unfortunately, did not mark the end of Shelton's health struggles.

Shelton experienced complications after undergoing gastric bypass surgery; he took a fall, had trouble walking, and went to the hospital as a result. Per HuffPost, Shelton entered a coma and was later diagnosed with a muscle-weakening autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which caused him to become immobile. Despite these challenges, Shelton lives a fulfilling life. His Instagram bio reads, "I am disabled and in a wheelchair but I still have fun and get out and do stuff !!!!" His posts show that he has kept his weight down and is frequently out and about. Although Shelton's journey has been tumultuous, it appears he still has an appreciation for the progress he made since his initial appearance on "My 600-Lb Life."

Zsalynn Whitworth got divorced but stayed healthy

During her time on the show, Zsalynn Whitworth was immediately motivated to lose weight because she wanted to be more involved in her daughter's life. She followed bariatric surgeon Dr. Now's advice and put in the necessary work to lose weight (via TV Shows Ace). Most would expect her loved ones to be fully supportive of Zsalynn Whitworth's transformation, but her own husband was upset that she was slimming down. Whitworth still continued to work on her weight, even without her husband Gareth's support. She and her husband reportedly divorced, and she found the love she deserves elsewhere.

Whitworth's gastric bypass surgery and skin removal procedure completed her physical transformation. Fans can check her latest Instagram posts to see her new look. She appears to be happier and healthier than ever before, perhaps because she has accomplished her initial goal of spending more time with her daughter. The two are pictured together on Whitworth's Instagram often.

Christina Phillips had a baby after her transformation

Season 2's Christina Phillips is nearly unrecognizable now. According to Us Weekly, the "My 600-Lb Life" star went from 708 to 183 pounds. Phillips had one of the show's most significant transformations. She seems to be enjoying life and updates her followers on Facebook every so often.

Phillips also became a mother following her departure from the show. She took to her private Instagram account to share the birthdate of her baby boy: her bio reads, "Mommy to Ethan 2/3/21." Although her Instagram is private, she posts plenty of photos of her adorable baby to Facebook.

Phillips looks amazing, but some viewers may remember that she struggled with undereating after her gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Now confronted Phillips about her unhealthy eating habits and stressed that she should be eating more than a few hundred calories per day. He recommended she seek therapy to address the underlying issue. We never got an update on whether she sought help from a therapist, but her Instagram bio says she is "living my life to the fullest now."

Amber Rachdi is an Instagram influencer

Amber Rachdi experienced a drastic transformation — and yes, they have remained healthy since the conclusion of their journey on the show. According to unconfirmed reports (via The Cinemaholic), Rachdi went on to lose even more weight after leaving the TV series. They were just 23 years old at the start of their "My 600-Lb Life" journey and had struggled with their weight since childhood. It was later revealed that Rachdi's anxiety issues were a major factor in their unhealthy eating habits. Rachdi did not let anything stop them. They got professional help for their anxiety and followed Dr. Now's guidance, which helped them adopt a healthy lifestyle, per The Cinemaholic.

Rachdi is now an Instagram influencer with a verified account and over 200,000 followers. They post bold makeup looks and decorated nails for fans to admire. The former TLC star seemingly enjoys fashion and likes to try out different outfits and hairstyles. They do not post much about their personal life to Instagram and instead keep the content fashion-focused. Rachdi shows off a bit more personality on their Twitter account.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Janine Mueller dropped more weight after her episode aired

Janine Mueller's episode of "My 600-Lb Life" aired in 2018 and indicated that she did not make any significant progress. On top of that, she was told that she was not a candidate for gastric bypass surgery, even though she had lost about 115 pounds. Mueller told Newsweek in 2018 that she wanted to at least be able to get knee surgery and travel. As the outlet reported at the time, she experienced swelling due to lymphedema disease. 

"My true goal is to lose enough weight to get knee surgery, lose the scooter and go dancing," Mueller explained to Newsweek. "On the top of my bucket list is to go to Paris."

What viewers didn't know was that this was only the start of Mueller's motivating weight loss journey. She shared on Facebook that she was able to lose 366 pounds following her first episode (via Starcasm). It seems "My 600-Lb Life" underestimated Mueller's determination. Her Facebook photos truly put her transformation into perspective. Hopefully, she is spending plenty of time fulfilling her dreams of dancing and traveling again.

Penny Saeger has stayed out of the public eye

Viewers enjoy the many motivating success stories that come out of "My 600-Lb Life," but unfortunately, it is not unusual for patients to put on weight after leaving the show. Some struggle to make progress toward a healthy lifestyle, with or without Dr. Now's program. Losing weight is not always as simple as just exercising or dieting. There are often more complex issues at bay that prevent patients from losing weight and keeping it off long-term.

Penny Saeger was one of the show's stars who had a tough time with the rigor of Dr. Now's rules. Per Life & Style, Saeger made little to no progress and did not follow her diet plan. Saeger began her time on TLC at 530 pounds, and she later revealed on an update episode that she was able to drop 35 pounds since her last time on the show. Her final appearance on "My 600-Lb Life" was one of the last times fans heard from her personally. In 2020, her husband, Edgar Saeger, posted a family photo to Facebook, but Penny Saeger doesn't appear to use social media much herself, and has seemingly stepped away from the public eye. 

Marla McCants is inspiring others

Like many "My 600-Lb Life" stars, Marla McCants' battle with obesity was onset by trauma early in her life. In a Sister Circle interview, McCants shared that she previously endured sexual abuse. She was also kidnapped by her high school boyfriend. As a result of such abuse, McCants turned to food as a way to cope. "Food is an addiction," McCants stated. She also offered some wisdom for those who criticize people experiencing obesity. "I was told you never judge a book by its cover," she said. " ... Everybody has a story. Everybody has the root that they gotta get to, you know? For those people, they're just ignorant," she said of the critics.

McCants' traumatic past did not stop her from becoming one of the show's most notable success stories. She weighed nearly 800 pounds at the start of her time on "My 600-Lb Life," and managed to shed that weight and keep it off. She is now sharing her wisdom and strength with others. The star's Instagram reveals that she has taken up motivational speaking and philanthropy. She also hosts events for those dealing with grief and loss. McCants' selflessness is apparent.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Tragedy set Ryan Barkdoll back

Ryan Barkdoll's time on "My 600-Lb Life" showed that his unhealthy eating habits date back to his difficult childhood. At age 13, he was forced to cope with the loss of his grandfather (per Distractify). Barkdoll also found out that his biological father — who had been battling a drug addiction — died within that same year. He no longer had a support system to help him through these tragedies.

When "My 600-Lb Life" began filming him, Barkdoll reportedly weighed 740 pounds and was resistant to help. Both Dr. Now and Barkdoll's mother tried to encourage him to cooperate so that he could live a better life, but he refused. One episode even left fans questioning whether Barkdoll was still alive. Dr. Now was unable to get him to pick up the phone, and Barkdoll avoided the show's production crew entirely (via TV Shows Ace). At the time of this writing, the TLC star is also silent on social media.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Melissa D. Morris faced hardship but came out on top

Melissa D. Morris faced many ups and downs both during and after the show. She was the first patient to be featured on the series, so she likely had no idea what she was getting herself into. She was so dedicated to her weight loss journey from 653 pounds that she was willing to take a chance on the show. The "My 600-Lb Life" pioneer followed Dr. Now's guidance and was the first to prove to the TLC audience that his regimen can be successful. Following her gastric bypass surgery, she weighed 157 pounds (as recapped on a follow-up episode). Ideally, her recovery story would end there, but she went on to face challenges even after losing weight.

In the follow-up episode, Morris explained that she regained weight during her pregnancies and was working to return to her goal weight. Having children was very important to the star, as she gushed about her daughter on "Good Morning America." "She's the great part. ... She's worth everything. She's my whole world." 

The Daily Mail reported that Morris and her husband were going through a divorce. Despite these hardships, Melissa D. Morris came out on top. She has been able to manage her weight and can be found on Instagram enjoying time with family and friends.

Cillas Givens was dedicated to losing weight and keeping it off

Cillas Givens had one of the most successful outcomes of the "My 600-Lb Life" experience. He began at over 600 pounds and was fully committed to Dr. Now's program. Givens shared on his episode that his childhood and family life had been challenging, but he had built a family with his fiancee, Jessica, and her daughters. Givens was driven to become fit and healthy for himself and his loved ones. He went down to 371 pounds by the end of his first episode (at which point he celebrated and proposed to Jessica) and would lose even more weight in subsequent years.

Since then, the star has maintained a healthy lifestyle. As TLC followed his journey, he expressed that he was happy and healthy, enjoying outdoor outings with friends and family, and determined to maintain his weight loss. "I'm really excited about life and all the things I'm going to be able to start doing," Givens said on the series. As his journey progressed, Givens added, "I can live my life to the fullest now, and that's what I intend to do." 

Paula Jones lives a healthy lifestyle

When Paula Jones first appeared on "My 600-Lb Life," she weighed over 500 pounds. Jones struggled with body image issues and low self-esteem; she was also sexually abused as a child. As an adult, Jones had been happily married, but she tragically lost her husband due to health complications with his weight, as she shared on the TLC series

Paula Jones committed to losing enough weight to qualify for gastric bypass surgery, which proved to be successful. The procedure helped her lose weight incrementally with Dr. Now's program. Jones kept up with her healthy habits after leaving the show and encourages others to live healthy lifestyles, as well.

A 2017 post to Jones' Instagram account features a flyer suggesting that she was a guest speaker at a health summit. She frequently posts photos of her healthy meals. It seems that she has worked hard to rebuild her relationship with food using the tools she was taught during her time on "My 600-Lb Life." Jones has likely found an effective method for maintaining a healthy lifestyle that works for her.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Sean Milliken tragically passed away in 2019

"My 600-Lb Life" viewers are familiar with the tragic stories of those whose health struggles take a morbid turn. Sadly, there are a number of patients who pass away as a result of their weight and other health complications. We are often immersed in the patients' journeys, so it is always difficult to hear a star's life was cut short before they were able to repair their health.

Sean Milliken is one of these patients whose lives ended in tragedy. According to People, Milliken died at age 29. TMZ initially broke the news and announced that his father shared a Facebook post to explain the cause of his son's death. "Sunday he was having problems with his breathing, they were able to resuscitate him and a short time later his heart stopped," he wrote in part. He also shared that his son was battling complications from an infection that eventually led to his death.

Milliken's father played a major role in his struggle with weight gain (via People). In his episode, Milliken explained that his excessive eating helped him deal with his rocky relationship with his dad. TLC released a statement following Milliken's passing in which the network commended his 400-pound weight loss.

Ashley Dunn Bratcher is enjoying her life as a married mom

Ashley Dunn Bratcher made the most of her gastric bypass surgery and maintained healthy eating habits to continue to lose weight post-procedure. This earned her a physical transformation that she has maintained over the years. Now, it seems she is able to truly enjoy her life as a mother. 

Bratcher's Facebook photos suggest that she loves motherhood and enjoys spending time with her little ones. As for her relationship status, the "My 600-Lb Life" star is still married to her husband Jacob. Her Facebook pics feature photos of her and her hubby.

In 2017, Bratcher opened up about her hectic weight loss process in an interview with People. "This whole journey has been not only a physical rollercoaster, it's been very a much [sic] an emotional rollercoaster," she said. "I've done fairly decent, but yes, I've had moments where I've broken down." She went on to explain that gastric bypass surgery is not "the easy way out" and comes with its own set of challenges.

Nikki Webster is married and thriving

During a 2020 People interview, Nikki Webster (now Nikki Gray) opened up about her feelings surrounding her time on "My 600-Lb Life" and how the experience changed her for the better. "I've seen commercials and previews, and it's hard to watch," she said. "I recognize myself, but at the same time I feel so different now, and it makes me sad, the situation I was in. But it makes me joyous to see where I am today."

Since leaving the show, Webster has maintained her healthy lifestyle, and she became a wife. She shared a photo to her Instagram account with a caption detailing her whirlwind romance. Webster explained that she got engaged and married all within 8 months. She also said she is "ridiculously and blissfully in love and happy with married life," so it seems she is more than satisfied with her love life. As for her career, Webster now sells handmade jewelry. It is unclear whether this is her full-time job, but jewelry-making is clearly a hobby she enjoys because she frequently posts about it to her Facebook profile.