Fans of the American pay television channel TLC have certainly run across the popular reality show “My 600-lb Life”, which follows the lives of people who weigh at least 600lbs (270kgs), and have contacted the producers searching for help in losing weight. The show has been airing since 2012, and is currently airing its 10th season, having received mostly positive reviews. Today it ‘stars’ Younan Nowzaradan, Lola Clay and Melissa Morris;.
One of the stars of the show was Lupe Samano Donovan, from San Bernardino, California, who was a cast member of the fourth season. Lupe weighed 640lbs (290kgs) when she appeared in “My 600-lb Life” for the first time, and managed to lose an impressive 360lbs (160kgs) in a year. She has since been staying away from the media’s attention, and her fans have been wondering what has happened to her – we’re here to answer that question.
Where is Lupe today?
The last update from Lupe came in 2019, when she shared pictures which featured her before and after her weight loss. The progress she showed was so amazing that some of her fans refused to believe that it was her in both pictures. However, a fan had also made a YouTube video about Lupe’s journey, and she liked it so much that she shared it on her Facebook account.
Lupe also told her fans that she felt like a failure while she was starring in “My 600-lb Life”, thinking that she hadn’t accomplished anything in life, and wouldn’t be able to lose weight either.
Following her departure from the show, Lupe and her husband Gilbert Donovan separated for unknown reasons, and she began dating an American non-celebrity Andrew Renteria in 2017.
She has since moved to Redlands, California, but has revealed that her former boyfriend Andrew passed away in January 2019; Andrew had kidney problems, and was put on dialysis while waiting for a compatible transplant. He was cremated, and Lupe was allowed to spend some time with the body before that, to say her final goodbye.
She’s still continued to lose weight, especially after Andrew passed away – in March 2019 she weighed 200lbs (90kgs), while she has since further reduced her weight to what she was aiming for – 180lbs (80kgs).
Lupe has been single since Andrew’s death, and is apparently not looking for a new love.
The life of Lupe Sarano
Lupe was born in California in 1975 – her exact date of birth remains undisclosed, but her zodiac sign is believed to be Sagittarius, and she holds American nationality. Lupe hasn’t spoken of any jobs which she might have worked, and remains popular solely through her appearance in the show “My 600-lb Life”.
Lupe’s story is a rather sad one, especially as she started to eat because of family problems. She was still very young when she and her sister Maria were put in a bathtub by their father, who then told them to stay there, and that he would return shortly. The girls’ father never returned, and while Maria realized that he wouldn’t be coming back and stepped out of the bathtub, Lupe stayed in it, hoping that she would see her father again that way.
She then found comfort in food, and started overeating, while her sister let her do that because she believed that it was the only way for Lupe to cope with the situation. She already weighed 500lbs (225kgs) when she was a teenager, and sometime in her 20s, Lupe fell into a diabetic coma with little chance of survival, but the doctors somehow saved her life.
The following 12 years saw her continue to eat as much food as she could handle, while she wasn’t physically active, and had no desire to lose weight.
Lupe was eventually confined to her bed, and was unable to do anything by herself, including moving from her bed to her living room chair. She was 39 years old when she finally understood that her life was in danger, and that her body could give up on her at any moment. She thus contacted the show’s producers, and enrolled into the Doctor Younan Nowzaradan’s weight loss program. Just as most of the show’s other participants, Lupe had a hard time adjusting to her new lifestyle, to eating healthily and not as much, and to working out.
She has since revealed that it was her fans who kept her going, motivating her by sending her numerous messages of support. Subsequently, Lupe lost the weight required for her to undergo gastric bypass surgery, a procedure in which a small pouch is created from the stomach, and is then connected to the small intestine.
Her fans weren’t happy with how her husband Gilbert treated her during the show, especially when they learned how he had forced her to be intimate with him right after she had surgery, which led to her stitches tearing apart, and her wound becoming infected. It was clear to everyone that Lupe was in love with her husband, because she still stood by his side, and defended him when her fans attacked him on the internet for what he had done. However, ultimately after the fourth season of “My 600-lb Life” ended, Lupe and Gilbert divorced.
Moving to a nursing facility
In 2019, following her boyfriend Andrew’s death, Lupe moved into a nursing home, as she needed to be surrounded by people, and needed additional motivation for losing weight. She succeeded in staying strong, and eventually underwent surgery in which her excess skin was removed, thus ridding herself of a lot more weight.
In one of her recent Facebook posts, Lupe has opened up about still missing Andrew, and has stated that she also misses her parents, both of whom have passed away. Her perserverance certainly indicates a change in attitude from when she first appeared on TV, all the more creditable given her personal tragedies during this time.
Most successful stories from “My 600-lb Life”
Lupe is one of not so many people who have turned their lives around with the help of Dr. Nowzaradan and “My 600-lb Life”, and we’re going to mention five others whose lives have probably been saved by the support of the doctor and the show.
Milla Clarke weighed 750lbs (340kgs) when she reached out for help, and is perhaps the show’s greatest success, as she went on to lose over 550lbs (250kg), so today weighs 155lbs (70kgs). She starred in the fourth season, just as Lupe, and is today alive and well at 53 years of age.
— My 600 Life (@My600lbLifeCast) August 23, 2017
Because of her determination and commitment, Milla became a poster child for “My 600-lb Life”, and has thanked Dr. Nowzaradan for everything that he’s done for her, claiming that she wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for him.
Brittani Fulfer from Tualatin, Oregon also appeared in the show’s fourth season, and weighed 600lbs (270kgs) when the first episode featuring her aired. She had a deeply pessimistic view on life when she joined the show, but claiming that she had found it very sad to live in her body. Brittani followed everything that Dr. Nowzaradan told her to do, and subsequently lost 330lbs (150kgs), and even some additional weight after her excess skin was removed via surgery. Brittani today stands at 230lbs, about 100kgs.
Ann Jeanette Whaley from Hillsboro, Oregon was the ‘star’ of the show’s seventh season – she weighed 680lbs (300kgs) when she asked for Dr. Nowzaradan’s help.
She claimed that eating was the only thing that she enjoyed in life, and that she was also unable to do anything else because of her weight. She committed to the rules which Dr. Nowzaradan established, and lost 270lbs (120kgs) during the show’s airing. Ann continued on leading a healthier life, and has now lost a total of over 400lbs (185kgs), so today weighs 270lbs (120kgs).
Christina Phillips from South Haven, Mississippi appeared in the show’s second season, and remains today the youngest participant in the series, as she was 22 years old when she asked for help. She weighed 640lbs (290kgs) when the first episode featuring her aired, revealing that she had spent the two years prior to that without leaving her house, with her only ‘activity’ being eating. She lost almost 400lbs (175kgs), while she today weighs 260lbs (120kgs).
Chuck Turner from Beaumont, Texas is the final success story in our short list. He starred in the second season, with his weight 700lbs (315kgs) when he reached out for Dr. Nowzaradan’s help. He struggled to follow a new way of life, having to eat a lot less food and working out on a daily basis, however, Chuck remained strong, and lost 270lbs (120kgs) during the shooting of the show, while he lost an additional 160lbs (70kgs) in the following year. He today weighs around 250lbs (110kgs).
Deaths in the show “My 600-lb Life”
Gina Krasley from Tuckerton, New Jersey appeared in the show’s eighth season, encouraged by her wife Beth to seek out Dr. Nowzaradan’s help. She weighed 600lbs (275kgs) when she applied for the program, and lost 300lbs (140kgs). However, Gina was admitted to hospital in April 2021, as she’d developed an eating disorder and had an infection; she passed away on 1 August 2021, aged 30.
Coliesa McMillian from New Roads, Louisiana, was also a subject of the show’s eighth season, weighing 640lbs (290kgs) when she joined the cast. She managed to lose astounding 500lbs (220kgs), however, Coliesa wasn’t able to recover from her weight-loss surgery, and died on 22 September 2020, apparently from complications after the surgery.
James King from Paducah, Kentucky joined the show for its fifth season, weighing 730lbs (330kgs). He was one of not so many people whose will to lose weight wasn’t strong enough to follow Dr. Nowzaradan’s strict rules, and James was removed from the show after 11 months, because he had gained weight instead of losing it. He died on 3 April 2020, from complications caused by his weight, survived by his wife Lisa and their six children.
Kelly Mason from Greensboro, North Carolina appeared in the seventh season of “My 600-lb Life”, weighing 720lbs (330kgs).
She managed to lose a tremendous amount of weight in only the first couple of months, and was apparently one of Dr. Nowzaradan’s favorite patients. In nine months, Kelly had lost 380lbs (170kgs), but then died from a heart attack in her sleep, only one day before she was to turn 42.
Sean Milliken from Cameron Park, California starred in the show’s fourth season, and weighed 920lbs (420kgs) when he reached out for Dr. Nowzaradan’s help. He lost an impressive 550lbs (250kgs), but his weight-loss surgery caused an infection, resulting in cardiac arrest that took Sean’s life on 17 February 2019. A couple of possible contributing events happened to Sean prior to his death – his mother died suddenly, and his apartment in Houston was flooded by Hurricane Harvey.
Lisa Fleming from Mobile, Alabama was the star of the show’s sixth season, weighing 700lbs (320kgs) when we saw her for the first time. She lost 200lbs (90kgs) in the first six months, but was then removed from the show for unknown reasons. Lisa passed away on 23 August 2018, aged 50; the cause of her death remains undisclosed.
James ‘LB’ Bonner from Lexington, South Carolina joined the cast for the show’s sixth season; weighing 640lbs (290kgs), and was able to lose an astonishing 330lbs (150kgs). He was amongst the most optimistic patients of Dr. Nowzaradan, which was why everyone was surprised when he committed suicide on 2 August 2018. It was later reported that LB’s family sued Megalomedia, the show’s production company, because they refused to pay for his medical costs.
Robert Buchel from Forked River, New Jersey entered the sixth season of “My 600-lb Life”, and he weighed 840lbs (380kgs) when he decided to turn his life around. He managed to lose 500lbs (230kgs) in eight months, but died a month later; Robert was addicted to painkillers, and they were apparently the cause of the heart attack which took his life.
Henry Foots from Houston, Texas was the second person to appear in the show “My 600-lb Life”, in its first season. He weighed 720lbs (320kgs) when he reached out for Dr. Nowzaradan’s help, and Henry went on to lose 440lbs (200kgs). Complications occurred during his later skin removal surgery, and Henry died on the operating table, but was revived – he claimed to have seen the light taking him to Heaven. Regretably, Henry passed away not long after that surgery, on 16 May 2013.