400-pound Downey man begins renewed fitness journey

A Downey man who weighed over 400 pounds is on a fitness journey to lose weight after surviving COVID-19. But, the 29-year-old is no stranger to fitness.

Video Transcript

- A Downey man who recently survived COVID is now on a mission to inspire others. Our East L.A. community journalist Eric Resendiz has the story.

ANDREW PASILLAS: Anyone who's big like this and wants to change is my bro.

ERIC RESENDIZ: Downey resident Andrew Passillas weighed more than 400 pounds when he went to the emergency room in December because he had trouble breathing. That's when the 29-year-old found out he was a type 2 diabetic and had COVID-19.

ANDREW PASILLAS: The biggest turning point of my life happened when I was in the hospital and I actually thought that it was going to be the last day of my life, the last days of my life, because I didn't take care of myself.

ERIC RESENDIZ: That turning point was the start of Andrew's weight loss journey.

But Andrew is no stranger to fitness. In his early 20s Andrew says he worked out often and was a sales manager at a gym.

ANDREW PASILLAS: I was 175 with muscle so that made me feel really great. I never really wanted to share that I had a fitness background when I started this just because it hurts me to know that I was once so in love with fitness.

ERIC RESENDIZ: Andrew says he lost his motivation at 23 years old when he didn't get a job promotion he had worked hard for.

ANDREW PASILLAS: I just felt depressed more than anything. Besides my body, I think mentally I wasn't there anymore. And I once I kind of like lost faith in myself and I started falling out of love with myself, I think that's when, besides the looks, I just felt bad. I just felt like I didn't have a purpose in life anymore.

ERIC RESENDIZ: But during that trip to the ER in 2020, Andrew says he made a promise to God.

ANDREW PASILLAS: If you let me, live I will try to help as many people that suffer from being obese. And that's what my mission has been so far, is to help as many people that suffer with obesity.

ERIC RESENDIZ: After surviving Covid-19, Andrew started working out again and says he's lost more than 80 pounds. He's also sharing his progress on YouTube under the name Biggy Bro.

In Downey, Eric Resendiz, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

- What an inspiring story.

- Yeah.

- Keep it up. Ought to check back with him in another few months, he's going to even look even better. And getting healthy, that's the main thing.