‘I was just eating ‘til I’m dead,’ said Casey King whose weight loss journey was featured in season two of the reality television series “Family by the Ton,” also known as “My 3000-lb Family” on TLC UK. His amazing transformation was all over social media, as people were amazed at how far he had come after undergoing bariatric surgery.
- 1 Meet Casey King
- 2 The show
- 3 The cast of season two
- 4 Casey on his bariatric surgery
- 5 Life after “Family by the Ton”
Meet Casey King
Stephen King is his real name, but for some reason, he said that he’s gone by the name Casey. When the series started, he weighed 707lbs, over 320kgs, and had been categorized as having morbid obesity or severe obesity, which means his Body Mass Index (BMI) was 40 or higher. As such, he lived with his father in Jackson, Georgia, as he had come to depend on him for many things. Casey said, ‘I never would have thought that at 34, I would be living with my father and have no job, no real money, and still be playing video games all day, and eating.’
How did Casey get so big?
He shared that he had always been big since the day he was born and weighed 12 pounds 11 ounces, close to 6kgs. He was chubby in middle school, by ninth grade he was around 250lbs, or over 110kgs, after high school he was close to 350lbs, 160kgs, and was pushing 400lbs or almost 180kgs by the time he was in his early 20s. He worked as a server at a couple of restaurants, but when his weight topped 500lbs, over 220kgs, he quit, as it was getting too difficult for him to do his job. His mother then kicked him out, saying that he had to have a job to live in her house, so he ended up staying at his father’s place.
What’s a typical day like for Casey?
Normally, he would wake up around 12 noon, and foremost on his mind was figuring out what to eat. He would either get up to get food in the kitchen, or wait for his father to give him food, but whatever the case may be, he would be eating on his bed.
Casey preferred staying in his room without clothes on as he found them restricting, and it was usually hot in Georgia. Playing video games was his form of escape from the judgmental eyes of the world, whereas he was accepted in virtual reality and the game world, and could be the Casey he wanted to be.
With his size, bathing had become a problem – there was a time when he couldn’t get up from a sit-down bathtub, so he stayed there for nine hours. Since he didn’t want it to happen again, his father bought a huge round trough, and placed it outside the house where he could bathe. His father would prepare the water and wait on him, saying that he felt obligated to do that. Casey needed assistance in cleaning himself as there were places on his body that were difficult to reach.
TLC’s “Family by the Ton,” a spin-off series of “My 600-pound Life,” delved into the lives of people suffering from morbid obesity, and their journey to getting the help they needed in the form of bariatric surgery, a procedure involving making changes in the digestive system that would induce weight loss by limiting the amount of food a person can take, minimizing the ability of the body to absorb nutrients, or both. Featured in the show was Dr. Charles Procter Jr., a renowned bariatric surgeon who became one of the first to adopt the fully robotic approach to duodenal switch, roux-en Y gastric by-pass, and sleeve gastrectomy procedures. The first season of the series featured Drew, Naomi and Chitoka. who were cousins having a combined weight of 2,000lbs. Season two premiered in 2018, and it starred Casey and his cousins Amanda, Amy, and Ed as they decided to go on a weight loss journey together.
The cast of season two
At 37, she weighed 644lbs, 285kgs, and knew that if she didn’t do something about it, she would be one step from the grave. In 2016, she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and felt that this was her punishment for abusing her body. She wasn’t afraid to die, but she didn’t want her mother to have to bury her. To undergo surgery to treat her cancer, she first had to lose half of her body weight, so she sought the help of Dr. Procter.
She opened up about her past, saying she was around 11 or 12 when she started bingeing on food at night. Her father wouldn’t let her eat at the table for dinner because she was ‘so disgusting’, so she had to wait until he was asleep before eating whatever she could find in their house; he then locked their refrigerator. She was unable to close this chapter of her life, as he’d already passed away.
At 32, she was 388lbs, over 170kgs; she was a normal size when she was young, but by the time she was 12, she was being bullied for being fat. She described herself as a mindless eater, as she turned to food whenever she was upset or unhappy. Being obese posed a difficulty in keeping up with the demands of her job as an elementary school teacher – by the end of her workday, she was exhausted.
She wanted to marry and have a family, but dating had been a challenge as people thought her pretty, but once they saw her body, things wouldn’t progress any further. Looking in the mirror, she believed that no one would love her. Casey and Amanda were much heavier than Amy, and she was worried that if she didn’t change her eating habits, or if she continued eating those chocolates, she would end up as big as them.
At 51, he weighed 440lbs, 195kgs. He worked as a firefighter for 29 years, and eating fast food had been his way of coping with having a stressful job, which he regretted as it was how he ended up being so overweight. One time, as he was carrying a section of a hose up a flight of stairs, he felt that he was having a heart attack, and was rushed to the emergency room. He thought it best to retire, as someone could get hurt because of him and the limitations brought on by his size. He felt depressed, and found himself wanting to eat even more.
Ed realized that his big size wasn’t just hurting him, but also his kids as he couldn’t be the father he wanted to be for them. Also, with his bad eating habits, his youngest was starting to be like him. His wife was worried about his health, saying that she didn’t want to raise their children alone. She had bariatric surgery in 2003, but at that time, he didn’t think that he needed it.
Casey on his bariatric surgery
Food had been a part of Casey’s life more than he’d wanted it to be. He knew it was killing him, but said that it was like a drug he couldn’t resist. There were times when he ate to the point of feeling sick afterward. ‘If I could just eat, eat, eat and not gain weight, it would be fantastic. Do I want to be fat forever? No. I wished I wasn’t in the situation I am in,’ he said.
Casey went to Beltline Bariatric & Surgical Group for a consultation with Dr. Procter. His weight was 712lbs, 316kgs, and Dr. Procter warned him that he was at a critical stage, as he would soon become immobile. He was going to die young unless he did something to change, and alter his course. The doctor said that they would work together to save Casey.
Dr. Procter would perform sleeve gastrectomy, a surgical procedure in which a large portion of the stomach would be removed so it would hold less food, as a result of which the patient couldn’t eat as much.
However, before he could do that, he had to be convinced that Casey was mentally ready for it, and should lose 60 pounds in three months. Patients who were in the 600lb to 700lb-range needed all the help in the world, as it was very difficult to change their mindset from being cared for to being independent.
Session with Dr. Stephen Ritz, bariatric psychologist
Believing that Casey’s father was helping his son maintain the weight, even if he was doing it out of love, Dr. Procter recommended to father and son that they meet with a bariatric psychologist, Dr. Ritz, who asked Casey if food was his main coping strategy whenever he was upset, but Casey said that it was nothing like that, as he just liked food, and would eat too much if given the chance, but that he wouldn’t have eaten much if it wasn’t brought to him. There were times when he thought his father was an enabler, as he could easily coax his father into getting him whatever he wanted. His dad didn’t want to give in to him at times, but they got along better whenever he did.
Casey used to thrive in social situations as he loved meeting and talking to people, but as he became bigger, he became conscious of how people see him. One time he went to the gym to lose weight and there was a guy who took his photo to ridicule him. It was not a surprise that people would be staring at him or talking about him given his size, but he didn’t want that kind of attention. This made him prefer staying home in his room, so that in his own world he could forget that he was overweight. People didn’t understand that he didn’t choose to be fat or to not have a job as it wasn’t that simple, as he said, ‘If I could just live a day without being overweight, it would mean more to me than anything in the world.’ Dr. Ritz said that it was incredible how obesity can be so isolating.
Consultation with a dietician
For his follow-up visit to the clinic, Casey weighed 710.6lbs, about 315kgs – as Dr. Procter was hoping he would be down 25 pounds by that time, he was disappointed, and said they would be going hardcore on this.
He recommended that Casey have a consultation with Robbi, a dietician, to help him with more rapid weight loss.
At the dietician’s clinic, Casey talked about the difference between his mom and dad when it comes to how they feed him. He said that when he asked for something sweet, his mom would give him one piece of Hershey Kisses, but his dad would give him one pound of M&M’s. He knew he shouldn’t ask for it, but when he gave in to his cravings, he needed someone who would tell him no. Casey said that he didn’t become this big on his own, as he’s not the one who’s buying the food – his father acknowledged that he had a part in Casey gaining more weight. The dietician said that Casey wasn’t taking a lot of responsibility, and kept blaming his parents for how he’d got to where he is now. She reminded him that it all boiled down to the decisions and choices that he made.
Fighting with his cousin
Casey had a moment of weakness and ate something unhealthy, and his cousin Amy confronted him about it. He felt that Amy was attacking him, and so was on the defensive. He later explained that she might have come at him the wrong way, but her heart was in the right place. Casey then talked it out with her, and they apologized to one another for how things went that day.
Undergoing bariatric surgery
Both parents were supportive of Casey, and did all they could to help him lose the required weight. As Amanda, Amy, and Ed had the procedure done first, they all helped calm his nerves when he was having second thoughts out of fear. On his last visit with Dr. Procter, he’d lost 80 pounds and was approved for surgery.
Dr. Procter performed a vertical sleeve gastrectomy on Casey, saying that whenever they were operating on a patient of Casey’s size, they needed to take a lot of precautions because the things that could go wrong are much harder to deal with. Fortunately, the surgery went well.
The lives of Casey and his cousins improved significantly after that. A get-together was organized to show their family and friends their transformation – it was six months after Amanda’s surgery, and she weighed 517lbs, about 230kgs, having lost 127lbs or 56kgs. Her cancer had stopped growing, but she had to lose more weight to undergo an hysterectomy. After five months, Amy weighed 250lbs about 110kgs, having lost 138lbs or 60kgs, and was able to join her father in a Spartan Relay. After four months, Ed weighed 317lbs or 140kgs, having lost 124lbs or 55kgs, and could play with his daughters. After three months, Casey weighed 525lbs, having lost 186lbs, 233 and 83kgs respectively.
Life after “Family by the Ton”
Fans were so happy to see a different side of Casey, as he shared on his social media accounts what he had been doing after the show. His profile on Instagram indicated that he was at his heaviest at 845lbs – he turned 37 in November 2021, and as he weighed 255lbs he said, ‘I’m the healthiest I’ve been since high school.
I’m the happiest I’ve been since forever, and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more or loved myself more.’ He was five pounds away from his weight goal of 250lbs. Casey continued to work hard to stay fit and healthy. Instead of staying indoors and playing video games, he was out hiking and going on adventures with friends. His dad once wished to be out on a lake on a boat with his son, and it finally happened. Casey had been experiencing a lot of firsts, as he had been restricted by his size for most of his past life.
His April 2020 Instagram post revealed that for the first time in what seemed like a decade, he had a real job at Home Depot, and his first 12-hour shift was at their warehouse in Locust Grove, Georgia. Casey said that this was another step in regaining control of his life, and becoming a functioning member of society. By September, he received the much-coveted “Homer Award,” which was given to employees in recognition of their ‘excellent service and compliance with core values.’
The "skinny" legend
He's the 🐐 https://t.co/aC4l6h5w8r
— Casey King (@CaseyKing_FBTT) March 18, 2022
He wanted people to know how much he had changed from the person he was in the show.
One of the things that Casey was often asked about was his skin, as it was known to most people that an obese person might lose the extra weight and fat, but the excess skin would remain. He posted his photo showing all that, and before he knew it, Ethan Klein, the host of a YouTube channel called H3podcast, started a GoFundMe page in January 2022 for Casey’s skin removal surgery. The goal was to raise $15,000, but it was now over $18,000. Casey was beyond grateful for the outpouring of support from strangers.
Casey is now living a life that he only dreamed about, and said, ‘I don’t know for sure how many years I added to my life, but I know I’m going to appreciate every single day of them.’ He said that one cannot change the past, but he could do something to change his course in the future. He believed that he had done that, and he was better and stronger for it.