‘I chose to live’: Musician loses nearly 500 pounds

A South Carolina man is hoping to inspire others after he completely changed his life by losing nearly 500 pounds. (Source: WHNS)
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 9:53 AM PDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WHNS/Gray News) – A South Carolina man is hoping to inspire others after he completely changed his life by losing nearly 500 pounds.

Jared Burger is a drummer who has toured across the country with his band, a lifestyle he said contributed to him weighing 675 pounds.

“I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I would step on the scale, and it would max out,” Burger said. “Weighing 675 pounds is just an unsustainable way to live.”

After being faced with a wide range of medical issues, his weight became a life-or-death situation. Burger was suffering with liver issues, sleep apnea, severe anxiety and a thyroid disorder. It was at that point Burger made the decision to do something.

“I had the option to live or die, and I chose to live,” Burger said.

For the first time, he started paying attention to what he was eating and limited sugars and carbohydrates. He also stopped drinking alcohol completely.

“I am coming up on three years sober now,” he said.

Burger also got a gym membership and started walking on the treadmill and lifting weights every single day.

“Going to the gym is scary,” Burger said. “It’s not shameful because you are choosing a better situation for yourself.”

These major lifestyle changes helped him lose 300 pounds.

After losing that weight, he took a trip to Denver, where he discovered cycling. On his trip, he found a local bike rental shop where he rented a bike and rode around downtown Denver.

When he came back home to Greenville, he continued to rent a bike until he decided to purchase one of his own.

“At that point I had become obsessed. Cycling is the closest thing you can get to being a kid. It is the most freeing feeling ever,” Burger said.

Burger fell in love with riding his bike along trails, climbing Paris Mountain, and even competing in races.

He now rides his bike more than 200 miles a week.

Burger has now officially lost 475 pounds.

Due to this massive weight loss, Burger has more than 40 pounds of excess skin that he needs surgically removed.

“It has caused hernias and skin infections. It’s really scary; you never know when that’s going to go septic,” he said.

However, Burger said his health insurance will not cover the procedures because it is considered cosmetic, so he is hoping to raise $19,000 by hosting a benefit concert on May 25.

The skin removal will be over the course of three separate surgeries and requires quite a bit of recovery time.

Friends have also set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the money needed for the surgery.