As one of the most memorable participants of TLC’s “My 600-Lb Life”, thousands of viewers have been asking themselves where Mark Rutland is now. Surprisingly, Mark – who appeared in the show’s eleventh season – turned down bariatric surgery and said that he wanted to shed all his weight naturally, which set him apart from most of the participants in the series.
At the time of filming, Mark was 42 years old, lived in Florida, and weighed a staggering 715lbs. Having lost over 150lbs (70kgs) by himself already, Mark believed that he could lose the weight on his own without going under the knife. In an informative interview with Distractify, the Florida native said of his weight loss journey: “I found purpose again, a mission that was so insurmountable that – for me to accomplish it – would take everything I have, plus I would have to get stronger and develop traits I don’t have.”
Mark was openly displeased with how he and his family were portrayed in “My 600-Lb Life”, but is also thankful that the world saw him at his lowest point. As of April 2023, he has stuck to his guns, and is losing weight without bariatric surgery or other similar procedures. Most of his time is spent working out, and trying to help people who find themselves in similar situations, which has been enormously helpful in keeping Mark motivated.
Anyone who wants to keep up to date on Mark’s weight loss journey can follow him on Instagram, where he boasts over 2,000 followers. Apart from working out with certified personal trainers such as Alejandro Porcuna, Mark exercises with his family members and friends, and is making sure to document every step of the process to help inspire his fanbase.
“My 600-Lb Life”: Success Stories
Only time will tell if Mark successfully reaches his goal weight without bariatric surgery. With that said, “My 600-Lb Life” is full of heartwarming success stories, with patients defying the odds and turning their lives around.
Christina Phillips, a Season 2 participant, also weighed over 700lbs at the start of filming. As is the case with many of Dr. Now’s patients, Christina’s food addiction stemmed from childhood trauma and an unstable upbringing. After gaining so much weight that she hadn’t been able to leave the house for two years, Christina realized that enough was enough and vowed to reach her goal weight to qualify for gastric bypass surgery – and then lose a further 500lbs (225kgs). By the end of her episode, Christina weighed a mere 183lbs, and has since been able to form a family, give birth to two sons, and enjoy all that life has to offer.
Chuck Turner is a fellow Aeason 2 alumni who began overeating following the death of his first wife. During filming, Chuck lost over 400lbs (180kgs), thus greatly improving his relationship with his resentful second wife. After diligently working with Dr. Now for 12 months, Chuck turned his life around for the better, and made up for lost time by doing fun activities with his young son. Although Chuck later divorced his second wife, he returned to the dating scene shortly afterwards, and is believed to be in a stable relationship with a mystery woman.
In Season 4, viewers were charmed by bedridden mother-of-five Milla Clark. Despite leading an unfortunate life, and suffering the loss of her husband during filming, Milla never gave up and was more determined than ever to reach her goal weight. Stunning Dr. Now and her family with her perseverance, Milla also lost over 500lbs after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
James Jones, who also appeared in Season 2, had a family history of obesity, however, he was determined to break the cycle after watching his father die from weight-related health issues. After flying to Houston and adapting to Dr. Now’s strict weight loss regime, James shed over 510lbs (230kgs) and has maintained his new and healthier physique ever since.
For contestants to be approved for gastric bypass surgery, they must lose a certain amount of weight within an allotted time period, which can only be done by following Dr. Now’s strict high-protein, low-carb, and low-fat diet plan. The restrictive 1200-calorie diet plan always comes as a shock to participants, as they must grapple with cravings, mood swings, and other side effects of their food addiction.
It has often been said that the participants’ weight loss journey is both physically and mentally taxing, and things don’t get any easier after gastric bypass surgery. After the procedure, participants start off with a liquid diet, and eventually eat solid food again in small quantities as their body adapts to the change. They must also continue exercising and putting the work in to ensure that they don’t put the weight back on, which has happened many times.
Dr. Now has been blasted for the way he talks to and treats his patients, however, his tough-love approach has been praised by others, and in a compelling interview with People magazine the TV star explained: “Many [patients] refuse to admit they have any emotional compulsions or compulsive psychological disorders driving them to overeat.”
According to the surgeon, having supportive family members and friends is especially important if patients want to have a successful weight loss journey. “Families can either be enablers or encouragers,” he said. “They either have to change their dynamic with those enablers, or separate from them if they want to succeed.”
As mentioned, Mark was displeased with TLC’s depiction of his family, as they were perceived to be unsupportive and unhelpful. From what we can see on his social media, however, the Rutlands are determined to help Mark reach his goal weight, no matter what.
Season 11 of “My 600-Lb Life” premiered in February 2023. Despite a 12th season not being confirmed just yet, the show is likely to be renewed by TLC, as it’s one of the network’s most popular offerings. There were also rumors of Dr. Now being fired from the show after disgruntled former patients filed lawsuits against him, but these were promptly debunked.