Former sumo wrestlers from Shelley have combined weight loss of 300 pounds
Published at | Updated at
SHELLEY — Two former sumo wrestlers made a decision a year ago to change their lives forever.
Casey Burns, 49, and Scott Edwards, 37, had enough when they both reached the heaviest weight of their lives– weighing 530 pounds each.
“I’ve been big my entire life. I got discharged from the (U.S) Marines because I was too heavy,” Casey says. “Honorably discharged, but I’m too big.”
Combined, the two Shelley men, each towering at 6’4″, have lost more than 300 pounds without surgery within 12 months. Scott lost 150 pounds and Casey, 158 pounds. They both weigh roughly 380 pounds.
“I’m a lot more active,” Scott says.
The two men’s struggle with weight began early. As children, both Scott and Casey weighed nearly 100 pounds in kindergarten.
“I don’t think I’ve been 96 pounds since I was in first grade,” Casey says. “I’ve always been a big ol’ boy.”
Throughout their lives dominating in the heavyweight class was easy.
“I was 330 pounds as an offensive lineman here in Shelley in high school,” Scott says. “I had to lose weight to wrestle heavyweight at 275.”
Some 15 years ago the two became friends through the Snake River Sumo Association. In 2003 Casey won the North American Heavyweight title for sumo,
“Within six months of starting,” Casey says. “Never, ever been done.”
Scott started in 2004 and worked his way to being a part of a third-place team during the U.S. Championships in Vegas that year. But, after several years, a dislocated knee slowed down Scott’s sumo career, and eventually, Casey was out of the league as well. From there it was a downward spiral of eating with no regrets.
“I had no regard for what I was putting in my body. If I could go back to myself, then I’d say, ‘Don’t do that. It’s poison,'” Casey says.
Over a 10-year period, Scott reached his max weight of 530 pounds. When driving for a local trucking company, he says, it was easy to fill up on gas station foods.
“I’d be sore every day just from driving around; I’d be sore getting up in the morning. You could tell that it was just time to make a change,” Scott says.
Last year, individual events brought Scott and Casey to a head, and they both had to make a change.
For Scott, it was his son’s baptism. When he saw the picture of him and his son in a white jumpsuit, his jaw dropped.
“That’s not what I thought I looked like, but obviously, it was a great visual representation of how big I got,” Scott says. “I was disappointed in myself basically at that point.”
For Casey, it was last February nearly losing his life. He suffers from heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
“Blood sugar’s 596, blood pressure is 260 over 160, heart rate’s 160 — I was dying,” Casey says. “I couldn’t breathe. I started shaking really bad.”
Both said the driving force to lose their extra pounds was their families.
“My daughter begged me to not die, and to get better,” Casey says, “Right there I decided that was it, and no pop. Pop is bad. Refined sugar is poison.”
“I just wanted to be healthier and better from them,” Scott says.
Scott and Casey have dramatically changed their diets and exercise habits. Now they focus their diets more on vegetables and proteins and stay away from carbs and sugary foods.
“I cut all my breads out, a lot of the fruits I’ve even cut out,” Scott says. “I don’t go hungry. I eat three meals a day.”
“Any refined sugar is poison, it’s more addictive than cocaine, and it’s killing people. I avoid that at all costs,” Casey says.
Scott says he can go out and play with his kids more. Last year they would walk around the Idaho Falls greenbelt as a family. He says he was even the dad that went on hikes.
“The years before I wouldn’t do that. That wasn’t me. I wasn’t going to do that with the kids,” Scott says. “Now we’ll go outside. It just feels good to be active.”
The two say their next goal is in the 200’s. Scott is looking forward to 250 pounds, and Casey 275.
“What we’ve done, it makes it sound like a fast process–you come in, and 12 months later you lose a whole person, but you got to remember that we have two extra whole people on our bodies to get rid of,” Scott says.
“Don’t give up. No matter what you can’t give up. If you screw up, you can start over the next day,” Casey says.