TODAY   |  June 06, 2012

‘650-pound Virgin’ regains hundreds of pounds

In this TODAY exclusive, David Smith, subject of TLC’s “650-pound Virgin,” talks about the radical amount of weight he has regained since appearing on TODAY three years ago – hundreds of pounds lighter than he is today. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> on "today's update," the man featured in the tlc documentary "the 650 pound virgin." we first met david smith three years ago, after he lost more than 400 pounds. but now, like millions of americans, he is struggling with his weight once again. nbc's janet shamlian sat down with him for an exclusive interview.

>> it was a staggering weight loss . when david smith was on "today" in 2009 , he had dropped more than 400 pounds. by his own description, the phoenix man who at one point tipped the scales at 650 pounds, went from dud to stud.

>> you confident you can keep the weight off now?

>> i sure hope so.

>> but it was easier said than done. this is david today. he has regained over 300 of the pounds he worked so very hard to lose. david , we last saw you three years ago. you'd lost more than 400 pounds. you seem to be doing great. were you?

>> i wasn't doing too well. i looked really good on the outside. but inside, i was a terrible mess.

>> for awhile david kept up appearances. he made new friends. got a job as a personal trainer at a gym. and he even met his first, and current girlfriend megan . david smith had turned his life around. or so he thought. at your thinnest, when you looked in the mirror, what did you see?

>> i saw somebody that didn't know who they were. all my life, i was this monster in my head, and all of a sudden, to be, you know, this good-looking guy, it blew my mind away. i didn't know how to deal with it.

>> despite several painful surgeries, he still had folds of excess skein. unhappy with how he looked, david turned to alcohol and drugs for awhile. and then, turned back to food.

>> i'd eat in my car before i'd get home. or, you know, if everybody is out, i'd go and eat something really quick, and then throw it away before they would come home.

>> you had to know that as you were tipping the scale the other way again, that with every bite you took you were undoing so much hard work.

>> yeah. it was -- it was tough. you know, a lot of people were counting on me to be inspiring. and i didn't want to let anybody down. but i just felt so bad, and i didn't know how to cope.

>> but he couldn't hide his appearance. david was quickly regressing into the man he thought he'd left behind.

>> i've gained more than 250 pounds in two years. and with all that extra weight so quickly added to my body, i don't know how i'm still living right now.

>> it sounds life threatening.

>> it is. it really is. and the way i'm going, i'm not going to live for too much longer.

>> is that what you think?

>> you know when your body's making a turn for the worst, and i felt it before i went on the 650 pounds, and you know, i'm feeling it again at 500.

>> embarrassed by what happened, david , for the most part, disappeared from view. he lost his job, and his close friendship with his trainer chris was frayed. david says he even considered taking his own life. he does still have megan . but he fears losing her, too.

>> her support means the world to me. you know. i love her so much. and i know i've been through a lot. she stayed by my side through everything.

>> after hitting rock bottom , at about 535 pounds, david says he has started anew. he's back in the gym, and determined to lose all that weight all over again. he'll use the lessons learned from last time, along with something he didn't have last time. megan .

>> he is really, finally ready for it this time. this is the moment i've been waiting for since he started gaining, for him to really want to be healthy again.

>> david knows he's not alone in regaining lost weight. and he realizes the road ahead is another long one. this time, though, he feels certain that change will be for good.

>> as much as you've worked on the outside, you have to work on the inside. and if your foundation isn't built up, you're just going to crumble down. unfortunately, i fell down. but i know i can climb back up.

>> for "today," janet shamlian , nbc news, phoenix.

>> and we are all definitely rooting for him. janet, by the way, asked david what he wants for his future? and he said he's not a selfish person. he just wants a life. we're going