Season 8 of My 600-lb Life is going strong but perhaps a bit more tragically than some in the past since many hopeful patients of Dr. Now's don't seem to be losing enough weight to be approved for their weight-loss surgery.
Episode 8 of the season focuses on Carlton and Shantel, siblings who live in the same house but both weigh over 600 pounds and can barely see each other because neither has sufficient mobility to climb up and down the stairs to each other's rooms.
So, are Carlton and Shantel able to make the changes they need in order to receive Dr. Now's weight-loss surgery? Keep reading to learn more about these siblings and see how they're doing now that they've left Dr. Now's care.
Carlton and Shantel weigh 786 pounds and 638 pounds respectively when we meet them.
Carlton and Shantel are living in Columbus, Ohio at their mother's house when we first meet them. Between Shantel, her husband, and their three kids, plus Carlton, his new girlfriend, and Shantel and Carlton's other brother, there are 10 of them in the house. Carlton lives downstairs while Shantel spends most of her time on the second floor without seeing her brother because the exercise of climbing the stairs often leaves her winded.
"I never go out anymore," Shantel says. "It's been years since I've been out of the house and now I feel like I'm living to eat."
For both siblings, who grew up with domestic violence, food is the way they always "felt love and felt safe." But now, the two realize that they've developed an unhealthy coping mechanism and that their health has spun out of control.
"Food is like a drug to me and I have to have it all the time," Shantel says at one point, explaining that "food is the only thing that makes my day better."
Once they decide to change their lives and seek out the help of Dr. Now, both sibling and their families go "all in" to uproot their lives and make the move to Houston.
Do Shantel and Carlton get approved for weight-loss surgery?
But the trip to Houston isn't an easy one, and by day four, Shantel's pain becomes so unbearable that Dr. Now has to meet her and Carlton at a nearby hospital mid-way.
Upon seeing them, Dr. Now cautions that the brother and sister are in a "very serious situation" and have "a lot of work to do to make a difference ... before it's too late."
"It's a matter of life and death, you need to understand that," he sternly tells Shantel and Carlton, cautioning them about being each other's enablers.
While the two initially have a rocky start losing weight and don't get approved for surgery on their first check-up, seeing therapist Lola Clay seems to work wonders for their progress.
By the siblings' next weigh-in a couple of months later, both Carlton and Shantel lose over 130 pounds: he loses 132 and she loses 136. And while both they and Dr. Now are relieved with the massive strides they've made, the famed bariatric surgeon voices his concerns about their co-dependency once again, given the fact that they've lost almost the exact same amount of weight.
"I'm very proud of Shantel and Carlton," he says nonetheless. "They've worked very hard these past months and have shown me that they're taking this opportunity to change their lives very seriously."
Ultimately, this leads Dr. Now to approve the siblings' weight-loss surgery.
How are Carlton and Shantel now? See them after their weight loss!
Following the surgery, both Carlton and Shantel have a brand new lease on life. Carlton has managed to shed a total of 243 pounds, bringing him down to 544 pounds, and for her part, Shantel loses 215 pounds and is down to a final weight of 424 pounds.
And while their physical health has improved, their mindsets have also done a full 180. Now that they both have regained mobility, Carlton is determined to get back to work to make some money to treat his girlfriend, Monica, right. Plus, Carlton and Monica both want to go back to school. "Let's get a degree," they say on their first date out of the house. "Let's do something!"
As for Shantel, she is reborn into a brand new person following the surgery and weight-loss. She's working to rectify the fact that she wasn't participating in her children's life much before, due to her limited mobility. Now, she's committed to being "active, like I want in their lives." She's beaming with joy and "can't wait to do even more" with her life. "I just feel like my whole future is finally opening up," she says.
We're not crying, you're crying! After a few episodes left us hopeless and a bit dejected, we're so happy that these amazing siblings are more motivated than ever to live their best lives.
New episodes of My 600-lb Life air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on TLC.