An obese couple lost a staggering 30 stone between them to become parents after struggling to conceive for seven years.
Dustin Hall shed a phenomenal 22 stone and his wife Raquel, 34, lost eight stone after doctors told them that losing weight was their only chance at parenthood.
The 37-year-old underwent a gastric bypass in July 2016 and adopted a high-protein, low-carb diet to take him from a massive 38 stone to a svelte 15-and-a-half stone in just two-and-a-half years.
Raquel, inspired by his success, had the same operation in December 2018 – and in April 2020 she discovered she was pregnant.
The couple, from Lathrop, Northern California, USA, became parents to Presley on December 21, 2020 and insisted that their weight loss journey made parenthood possible.
Dustin, who works in insurance, said: “The only reason we can have kids is because we lost a significant amount of weight and we kept it off.
“I couldn’t be an active father at 38 stone. I couldn’t even tie my own shoes at that weight.”
Raquel, who works at a non-profit, said: “We had been trying for seven years and you do get discouraged.
“I had never seen the two lines on a pregnancy test before.
“I felt like we did it, we got healthy and we accomplished this. Being a mum is worth every second of weight loss, every calorie burned, every sweaty moment in the gym.”
Dustin’s doctor had warned him that if he did not shrink his bulky frame he could die within six months.
“He said that if I didn’t turn things around, I might not be here in six months,” the dad added.
“I was having a hard time breathing in the middle of the night. I couldn’t tie my shoes.
“I couldn’t walk more than 100 yards without having to sit down.
“The conversation with my doctor scared me into shape.”
Dustin underwent the procedure where a surgeon creates a small pouch in the stomach to restrict how much food it can hold.
He also drastically overhauled his diet, avoiding fast food and instead building meals with chicken, fish or seafood, fruit and vegetables.
Dustin added: “I was really uneducated about food. I would commonly have anywhere between 13,000 to 15,000 calories a day.
“I would go to Taco Bell and have 2,500 calories for lunch. I drank two or three 2-liter bottles of soda a day.
“I’m now focussed on nutrition and whole foods and staying away from processed food.”
It took him two and half years to shed all the weight and go from a 7XL to a large top size.
“I did HIIT workouts. I also looked at why I used food as a coping mechanism,” he continued.
“Mindful meditation was really important for me – just taking a few moments to practice breathing.”
Raquel was motivated to lose weight herself when she realized that her husband weighed less than she did.
She added: “He already had a six pack by the time I started. It really hit me when all of a sudden he weighed less than I did – I didn’t want that.”
Raquel also suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that makes it harder for women to get pregnant.
“I never ovulated even with medications and so my doctor said that my chance to become pregnant was to lose weight,” she said.
“I followed what Dusty did. I had a gastric bypass and I went low-carb.
“We stuck to our program and I worked myself up to going to the gym six times a week.”
Soon the couple’s dates involved exercising together instead of going out to eat.
“Dusty and I would go to the gym together on Saturdays,” Raquel said.
“We’d go hiking together – our dates began to look different.”
Raquel’s exercise and diet regime took her from 298lbs to 183lbs.
Despite their weight loss success, the couple was still astonished when Raquel became pregnant.
Dustin said: “We randomly took a test and it showed a very faint second line.
“We decided to get a second test and it popped up saying pregnant.
“My eyes lit up, I looked at my wife and I was speechless.”
Dustin is convinced that he and Raquel are parents thanks to their staggering weight loss.
“My pursuit of getting healthy was so that I would be able to pick up my child and get down on one knee to play with her,” he said.
Raquel added: “Losing weight allowed me to get a life I didn’t know I could have.
“It is still the most amazing dream and even better than I imagined.”