TAMPA (FOX 13) - Twins reflect 10 years after bariatric surgery
Raul and Henry Castillo are identical twins and have been inseparable their entire lives.
"We do everything together, sometimes I even think what he's thinking, we even say it at the same time --we're about as identical as you can get," Henry says.
They also blame their 480 pound weight on their shared love for food.
"We don't have a medical reason why we're fat. We're fat because we eat. Simple as that," Raul confessed to FOX 13 with a grin.
To reverse that trend, both underwent gastric bypass surgery in September 2006 at Town and Country Hospital in Tampa. Dr. Alfredo Fernandez confirmed the need to take them into the operating room.
“We do surgery to help people like them, they are way out of control, they are going to die of this if they don't get it corrected,” Dr. Fernandez said.
The minimally-invasive surgery the brothers underwent reroutes the intestine and converts the once-large stomach into a smaller pouch. The smaller stomach creates the inability to eat as much food, which was evident three months after they underwent the surgery, at their Christmas Eve (Nochebuena) party.
Eating smaller portions helped them drop 100 pounds each during that time.
"I'll get a little black beans here," Henry said as he showed us how his entire meal fit on a dessert plate.
One year later, they had each lost around 230 pounds. They also opened a small restaurant, Castillo's in west Tampa.
"I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful," Henry said.
And today, the restaurant - and its menu - has expanded. Henry said they change the menu every Friday and Saturday to keep things interesting.
In the Castillo's kitchen, we watched Chef Raul prepare dishes for their guests. Along with old Tampa traditions like crab enchilado - a pasta dish smothered in a crab sauce - are his newer creations, like bass covered by a blue crab stuffing.
"Now we come up with a guava pie and mango pie which nobody has because I invented it," Raul proudly shows us with his decadent desserts.
Henry is now about 300 pounds. Raul 315. Both say their business is playing a role in their weights' gradual creep back up the scale.
"We gained 70 to 80 pounds back. Let’s face it, this is 10 years, almost 10 years in a restaurant where you test food on a daily basis," Henry says. "I'm happy with the weight I'm at. Yeah, if I could lose some weight that would be great."
Both credit the surgery for helping them stay 170 pounds under their original weight. Raul has no regrets.
"We got a good 10 years out of it. Like Fernandez says, ‘we're just two happy, fat guys’."