540-Lb Man Told by Doctors That Weight Will Kill Him, Loses 297 Pounds in 15 Months


Sometimes it takes a major setback for us to see how capable we truly are in life. Though recovery and change are rarely — if ever — easy, they are almost always worth it.

John Allaire was one of those that desperately needed to change after doctors told him issues with his weight would likely take his life. Over the years, he’d coped with family grievances, such as his parents’ divorce and father’s terminal illness, using food.

“I would go to a fast food restaurant and buy a bag full of food that was my medication,” John explained.

The weight continued to pile on over the years, and John eventually went to see a doctor, only to find out that he was too heavy for any scale in the office to weigh him. Staff sent him to a fish market, where he found out his weight was at a staggering 540 pounds.

It was this moment, from the doctor’s warnings to the number on the scale, that Allaire realized a change needed to be made.

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However, a mix of time and trial and error with every diet imaginable — along with some late-night binging — forced John to confront the reality that everything he was doing wasn’t working.

His wife, Caila, recalled finding cans of soda and other snacks hidden throughout their home, an issue John would eventually have to face head-on if he were going to truly lose the weight.

Fast forward to an ad for a weight-loss program advertised on Facebook called “The Camp,” and John was intrigued. It was from this moment his transformation truly began.

John began by videoing himself cleaning out “all of the crap food” that was stored away in his house, and immediately set out to lose the weight — this time, without any of the temptations.

“The thing I have always wanted the most is just to be able to function and move and look like a normal person and put on clothes like a normal person,” John said.

Though John admitted he was scared at first, he eventually lost the weight and learned what his body needed in order to create a healthier lifestyle. Within two years, he lost more than 300 pounds, leaving nearly 20 pounds of excess skin hanging from his body.

Seeing the impressive amount of work he’d put into his new lifestyle, doctors decided to match John up with a plastic surgeon, who has agreed to perform the excess-skin removal surgery at no cost.

Though the journey has been trying for both John and Caila at times, they admit that the journey has been a good one.

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“He’s amazing,” said Caila, who’s been by John’s side the entire journey. “He’s put in a lot of hard work and discipline. He’s endured a lot of challenges and failures but he just kept trying… and he finally found his success story.”

As for John, whose family and friends have also set up a GoFundMe page for his surgery and recovery, he hopes to keep improving both physically and personally while inspiring others to do the same.

“I’ve learned so much through this journey,” John said. “For me, the key was finding a community of people who are like-minded, who have goals to lose weight and eat better and be healthier, so that you’re not doing it alone.”

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ASU grad who loves all things reading and writing.
Becky is an ASU grad who uses her spare time to read, write and play with her dog, Tasha. Her interests include politics, religion, and all things science. Her work has been published with ASU's Normal Noise, Phoenix Sister Cities, and "Dramatica," a university-run publication in Romania.
Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Science/Tech, Faith, History, Gender Equality