A 680-pound kindergarten teacher who had parents fearing he might fall on his young students has lost a total of 124 pounds with the help of bariatric surgery.
George Covington, 45, from Georgia, documented his weight loss journey on the first season of the TLC series Too Large, revealing he was determined to shed pounds in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend Cencera.
‘For me, every day is a mental battle. I never imagined that this could possibly be my life,’ he explained at the start of the episode. ‘I teach kindergarten, and I probably weigh as much as 14 of my students combined.’
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Story: George Covington, 45, from Georgia, documented his weight loss journey on the first season of the TLC series Too Large
Before and after: George went from 680 pounds (left) to 556 pounds (right) with the help of bariatric surgery
Hard to handle: George admitted that many parents complained about their children being in his class because of his size, and one mom feared he would fall on one of the kids
George’s students clearly adored him, but he admitted that many parents didn’t want their children in his classroom because of his size.
‘A lot of parents, they go to the front office and they complain about their kids being in my class,’ he said. ‘You know, “Is he gonna be able to do this?” I had one parent, she said, “What if he falls on the kids?”‘
George shared that he had ‘always been big,’ saying he could remember being put on diets when he was in preschool.
‘Even in elementary and middle school, nobody called me George,’ he explained. ‘Everybody described me as, “Hey, that big guy.” So, I was always defined by my size.’
George said he had a girlfriend in high school, but when they broke up, she told him that no one else would ever want to be with him.
‘It kind of made me feel like I wasn’t good enough because of my size, like I wasn’t worthy,’ he recalled. ‘After that, I stayed to myself or appeared to be happy and jolly when deep down inside I was miserable.
Confession: ‘When I come in my classroom in the morning, I normally stay at my desk all day because I can only walk about 10 feet or so before I have to take a breather,’ he said
Lucky? George noted that most people his size don’t even have a career, but he knew he wasn’t really living his life to the fullest
Getting around: George said he had to place chairs and tables around is classroom to help him get around because he couldn’t walk on his own for very long
‘Food was definitely a defense mechanism. Once I became a teacher, I didn’t exercise that much, and that’s when the mobility really became an issue.’
George admitted to feeling guilty about not being able to be as active with his students as he would like.
‘When I come in my classroom in the morning, I normally stay at my desk all day because I can only walk about 10 feet or so before I have to take a breather,’ he said. ‘So my coworkers may take my kids to lunch. They may take them to the buses.
‘I would love to be able to sit on the floor and teach with my kids or take them on field trips,’ he added. ‘That does make me feel bad because it does feel like they’re missing out on something.
‘Most people my size, they don’t even have a career, so I’m very blessed for what I do have, but there’s so much that I don’t have.’
George noted that he didn’t have a wife, and he wasn’t able to go on proper dates because of his immobility. But, despite this, he considered himself a ‘hopeless romantic’ and was still pining for his friend and co-worker Cencera.
Looking back: The kindergarten teacher said he struggled with his weight his entire life and could remember being put on a diet when he was in preschool
Memories: When he was younger, George was in the marching band
Blow to his confidence: George had a girlfriend in high school, but when they broke up, she told him no one else would ever want to be with him
‘Cencera and I, we were in a relationship,’ he said. ‘We dated for about a year, and then she broke things off. Now we’re friends, but I’m still in love with her.’
Cencera explained in her testimonial that George’s weight was an issue in their relationship, though she didn’t completely rule out the possibility of them getting back together.
‘George is so sweet, and I still do care for him, but I think he needs to do what he needs to do to lose the weight, so he can go out more,’ she said. ‘Right now just isn’t the time, but no one knows what the future brings. So, we’ll see.’
George started thinking about losing weight after someone took a picture of him sitting on a couch with Cencera. He said it was clear to see in the photo that he was ‘not mobile’ and was ‘miserable.’
‘I know that I’m dangerously overweight at this point in my life,’ he told the cameras. ‘I have shortness of breath. I have sleep apnea. I sleep with a CPAP machine. My body retains water. My legs, they swell up. So, it’s hard for me to get around.
‘I get tired when I’m walking from one room to another, so I have chairs placed throughout the building where I can stop and rest. Every day I’m living, but I’m not living. I’m ready to do something. I’m ready to change my life.’
Love: George dated his friend and co-worker co-worker Cencera for a year before she broke up with him
George was still pining for Cencera and wanted to lose weight in an attempt to win her back
Start of it all: George started thinking about losing weight after someone took a picture of him sitting on a couch with Cencera. The picture made it clear he was ‘not mobile’
George is one of seven children, and his younger brother Willie explained in his testimonial that their entire family had always enabled him by fixing him food and cleaning his house.
‘When it comes to his health, we’re terrified,’ Willie shared. ‘Sometimes when he calls and it’s a wee hour of the morning or night, I’m afraid because anything can happen at this stage with the size he is. So we want him to get help or we’re going to lose him.’
George made the decision to meet with Dr. Charles Procter, a bariatric surgeon in Atlanta, in the hope of qualifying for weight loss surgery.
‘I’m definitely starting to get nervous about getting on the scale,’ he confessed. ‘My biggest fear is that he says that he can’t help me. This surgery is my last resort.’
George, who is only five feet seven, learned he weighed 680 pounds.
‘You’re one twisted ankle away from becoming immobile the rest of your life and not being able to work with those kids ever again,’ Dr. Procter warned him.
Last resort: George made the decision to meet with Dr. Charles Procter, a bariatric surgeon in Atlanta, in the hope of qualifying for weight loss surgery
Hard work: George, who is only five feet seven, learned he weighed 680 pounds. Dr. Procter told him he needed to lose 75 pounds on his own to qualify for weight loss surgery
Changes: George overhauled his diet and started working out
The surgeon gave him three months to lose 75 pounds to qualify for surgery, which required George to overhaul his diet and start working out. When it was time for his weigh-in, it was revealed that he had only lost 65 pounds.
Dr. Procter gave the teacher another two weeks to lose the final 10 pounds, and during that time, he spoke with a bariatric psychologist about his weight loss.
Not only did he not reach his goal, but he was also upset that Cencera only wanted to be friends. The psychologist helped him understand that he was struggling with low self-worth and trying too hard to make people like him.
While he still cared for Cencera, he realized that he had plenty to offer and shouldn’t have to convince her to want to be with him.
George had to have his final weigh-in at home during a video call with Dr. Procter because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but his hard work had paid off. He had lost the 10 pounds and qualified for bariatric surgery.
During the procedure, Dr. Procter discovered that his patient had dangerously large gall stones and removed his gallbladder as well as two-thirds of his stomach.
Life-changing: Dr. Procter removed two-thirds of George’s stomach during the procedure
Success: Four months after the procedure, he showed off his 124-pound weight loss, revealing he was down to 556 pounds
New love? At the end of the episode, George invited his longtime friend Latrice over to his home for a dinner date to show her he was ready to be in a serious relationship
Four months after George’s surgery, it was revealed that he lost a total of 124 pounds and weighed 556 pounds.
To celebrate, he put on a band uniform — a throwback to his time in his high school’s marching band — and did a march in front of his friends and family to show off his progress.
George also told the cameras that he was feeling more confident than ever and was no longer pursuing Cencera.
‘I think the two of us are going to always be friends, but I do feel like it’s time for me to move on and find someone who is going to value me the way that I will value them,’ he said.
At the end of the episode, George invited his longtime friend Latrice over to his home for a dinner date to show her he was moving in the right direction and ready to be in a serious relationship.
‘What’s next for me is continuing to lose weight, get under 300 pounds, experience new things, go places I’ve never been before that I always wanted to go, and hopefully find love,’ he said.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk