This couple is really living up to that “in sickness and in health” vow — before they’ve even tied the knot.
Engaged Long Island natives Kenny Turner and Lauren Harvey lost a whopping 330 pounds combined after falling in love in 2018 — and together faced life-threatening concerns over their mental and physical health.
“I avoided almost all social settings and any event where I would have to be out in public,” said Turner, 37, of his self-loathing-fueled social isolation. “Everywhere I went I felt like the biggest person in the room and that everyone was staring at me and judging me.”
Turner had reached a massive body weight of 410 pounds, while Harvey, 35, tipped the scales at 296 pounds.
“I know the weight put a strain on the relationship just because of how uncomfortable I was in general — but didn’t really understand the extent until later,” Turner, a civil servant for the state of New York, told Media Drum. “I knew she was my soulmate. Lauren found a way to love me at my worst and to bring what little joy I had out.”
Turner knew that he needed to get healthy for his own sake and for his relationship with Harvey. However, he previously scoffed at the idea of weight loss surgery—until Harvey informed him that she was thinking of going under the knife herself.
The devoted “reverse enablers” duo decided to undergo vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) surgery in fall 2019.
Turner has now streamlined to a fit 211 pounds, while Harvey has slipped down to 163.
“The thought of being able to have someone to go through this process [with] eased a lot of my anxiety, so I finally decided to move forward with having the surgery,” he added.
For Harvey, she also felt motivated by Turner to endure the stomach staple procedure. The surgery drastically reduces the size of the stomach by taking out 85% of the organ. Therefore, patients are able to eat tremendously less — especially in the first year after surgery — and lose the weight.
“Prior to meeting Kenny, losing weight was always about being pretty and skinny, and that hopefully I would become pretty and skinny enough to find someone to love me,” she said.
“I am so incredibly lucky that things did not work out that way. When I met my now-fiancé, I was close to or near my highest weight,” Harvey gushed. “It didn’t matter. He loved me anyway. He loved me for me and not because of, or in spite of my weight. That was a game changer for me,” she went on.
Her diet is now full of protein, as VSG patients are told to keep it their number one food group. She primarily eats egg whites and low fat cheese for breakfast, grilled chicken and salad or vegetables for lunch and a skinnytaste recipe for dinner.
Turner downs a protein shake and banana for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, he eats three to five ounces of lean protein, two ounces of greens, and two ounces of complex carbs.
He also exercises at least four times a week, doing strength training, cardio and muscle workouts.
Harvey’s workouts consist of cardio and strength training, daily walks and weekend hikes.
“When I was bigger, I truly didn’t really know how much in life I was missing out on,” Turner said. “Now, I feel very present in the moment and more active in just day to day tasks.”
Harvey chimed in, “Weight loss does not make all of your problems go away, but it does enable you to face them head on without using your weight as an obstacle or excuse to work on those problems.”