After proposing to his high school sweetheart, Caila, in 2015, John Allaire decided he needed to transform his life following a lifetime of battling weight issues.
“It’s one thing to be obese and it’s another thing when you reach morbid obesity,” John told the Daily Mail.
At his heaviest, he weighed over 540lbs and had to be weighed on a commercial scale at the back of a fish market because standard ones couldn’t bear his weight.
There were people there and we had to explain why we were there, but I have no recollection of any of those interactions – I think I just completely blocked it out.John Allaire
A tragedy in childhood
John’s unhealthy relationship with food started when he was a child and learned to use it as a coping mechanism for stress.
“Looking back at my eating habits, whenever there was a bad situation stemming from my parents’ divorce we would get upset and my mum’s answer was, “OK, let’s go to a supermarket and pick up an extra cake for dessert tonight,” he remembered.
John’s weight gain began to spiral out of control in his late teens, after his father passed away from cancer when he was only 18.
Within a year of finding out his dad was sick, John’s weight went from 380lbs to 500.
“I started skipping all of my college classes,” he explained.
Every day when I was supposed to be going to college I would go to a fast food place, put on sports radio and just drive around aimlessly eating three to four meals-worth of fast food.
His weight became a serious problem
Being so overweight took a huge toll on John’s day-to-day life and just sitting down led him to break a number of couches, chairs and even two toilet bowls over time.
I didn’t fly for a period of 15 years because it just would not have been possible.
He wanted to be better for the love of his life
It was only when John and Caila became engaged that he realized it was time to make a change if he wanted a chance at a bright and healthy future with his fiancé.
“Even though Caila loved me as I was, and she was ready to commit to marrying me at 540 pounds, I was like, ‘There is no way that I can, in good conscience, drag this woman through the difficulties that I am going to go through the rest of my life if I don’t lose weight,’ he remembered.
The couple got married and moved to San Diego, where Caila, a U.S. Navy service member was stationed at the time.
Focused on getting healthy and with his wife’s support, John joined the Camp Transformation Center in San Diego, a weight loss program that guaranteed participants would lose 20lbs within six weeks.
He was able to lose 20 pounds by the end of week 3.
Then it was like, ‘OK well I will see what else I can lose,’ and I ended up losing like 30 pounds in that first six weeks.John Allaire
John was committed to go above and beyond
15 months in, he had lost 297 pounds; a record that had never yet been achieved at The Camp.
“A lot of people will lose half that weight and just be like, “I am okay! I am fine. I feel great. I lost a lot of weight. I am good,” said Tanya Sites, gym manager at The Camp.
But he pushed himself until the very end, which is incredible. He is definitely the most successful participant.Tanya Sites
John lost more than half of his weight but came up against a new problem: 20lbs of excess skin, and the only way to get rid of it was surgically, which came at a hefty price tag.
So, he started up a Go Fund Me campaign to help raise money to cover the over $40,000 it was going to cost.
His story and campaign went viral and landed him and Caila on The Doctors, where they were shocked to be introduced to a group of surgeons who volunteered to perform the procedure at no charge.
“I think his loose skin affects him in a lot of different ways. The surgery is just going to improve his overall quality of life. He’s finally going to feel completely free – there’s not going to be any baggage from his obesity,” said Caila, before John went under the knife.
He had to get used to his new self
He got the bulk of the loose skin on his upper body removed during a 10-hour procedure, but still requires further intervention to remove the excess skin on his legs.
Having the skin gone has been a weird experience. Now it’s becoming a great experience, but for a while it was kind of weird.
“I remember the first week my arm skin was gone but I could still feel it. Like, when I move my arm, my brain was feeling the skin was still there. I have to check it or like my wife said she still catches me adjusting myself and there is nothing there to adjust.”
John’s incredible transformation journey was challenging, and exhausting at times but these days, he feels extremely grateful that he went through with.
Today, he and Caila live in Japan and they just welcomed their second daughter.
“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,” he said.
John has one powerful message for anyone who feels stuck:
The coolest thing is that it doesn’t really matter what your circumstances are, you can get out of it. I can 100 per cent say if I can do it, anybody can do it.John Allaire
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