‘650-Pound Virgin’ Who Lost Weight & Found Love Is Fat Again

david smith 1david smith 2Three years ago, David Smith became the poster boy for the extreme slim-down.

The star of TLC's The 650-Pound Virgin, Smith dropped a jaw dropping 400 pounds, became a trainer, found his first ever girlfriend, and inspired millions to get fit. Yet three years later, he has regained nearly 300 pounds and is morbidly obese once again.

The reason for the setback? On his path from dud to stud, Smith only tackled half his problem.

Focusing on diet and exercise, "I looked really good on the outside but inside I was a terrible mess," he said on Today. "I saw someone who didn't know who they were. All my life I was this monster in my head. And all of the sudden, to be this good-looking guy just blew my mind away. I didn't know how to deal with it."

The pressure didn't help either. Suddenly a public figure, "A lot of people were counting on me to be inspiring. I didn't want to let anyone down. I just didn't know how to cope," he said.

It's a sad reminder that losing weight is not just about what is happening on the outside. Too often, we focus on that number on the scale, a taut tummy, and buff arms. But that almost always guarantees failure.

Like so many others, Smith was only focused on the physical. He never dealt with the emotional issues that caused him to overeat in the first place. It's why people commonly gain back most, if not more, of the weight they worked so hard to lose. And in cases of gastric bypass patients, where it's physically impossible to eat like they used to, they will often transfer that food addiction to something else, like shopping, gambling, or drugs.

Now fighting to be fit again, Smith is praying for a second chance. This time, however, he knows success is about much more than looks. "As much as you work on the outside, you have to work on the inside," he said. "If your foundation isn't built up, you are just going to crumble down."

See more of David's Today interview story here:

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Have you ever struggled to keep off large amounts of weight? What has worked for you?


diets, eating healthy, eating habits

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nonmember avatar HS

Sooo, does he still have a girlfriend?

Whitn... WhitneySM

@HS, yeah I read an article that says she is still with him. Seems like he lost the weight without addressing the underlying issues causing him to eat so much. Feel bad for him.

AMom29 AMom29

That's sad.  I hope he can get back to a healthy weight.

Venae Venae

I saw his show - was so impressed w/him - but ya gotta get therapy when dealing w/that amount of weight loss.  It's not just that you eat too much - there are issues there that need addressing.  Hope he can do it again. 

Mixed... MixedCooke

I am an emotional/stress eater so what helps for me is to not keep any junk food in the house.  Who really binges on fruit when they are an emotional mess?? I also buy bulk but then freeze smaller portions.  L-glutamin has really helped keep my carb cravings in check.  I just started a new supplement called Relora, recommended by Dr Oz, to help block cortisol, the stress hormone which induces the stress eating.

CPN322 CPN322

I actually have the exact opposite problem. I require 3,000 calories a day to maintain my weight and 3,500 to gain, which I desperately want to do. I am an emotional non eater. I can't eat when I'm depressed or anxious and I've struggled with depression and severe anxiety my whole life. It does make sense that in order to get where you want to be(and stay there) physically, you have to work on the underlying mental issue. Best of luck to him!


Mixedcooke - fruit is actually one of the few things I can stomach when I'm depressed. Everyone is different.

Linda Mc Elyea Cole

wow,  too bad hope he can get the help he needs and get back on track.

TiNGo TiNGo

OMG I was just talking about him yesterday because I loved his show with Chris Powell so much! He  seems like such a sweetheart and I hope he gets the mental/emotional help he needs & the physical will follow. Good luck David!!!!

MomLi... MomLily67

Haven't lot hughe ammounts, but when you set your mind to it,  you need all your focus to take it and keep it off., Keeping it off is hardest.  He will accomplish his healthy weight again, now that he  know what went wrong the first time, he still is inspiring and real!!!

MomLi... MomLily67

MixedCooke, great tips, thank you, I am 45 and been stress eating the last 3 or 4 years, that and metabolism slowing down, I have gained, loosing a bit currently, but I will try those supplements. My goal is to loose  10 kilos minimum.


Keeping lots of fruit ready to eat has helped, do love it,

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