Colton Lowe had an epiphany last year: his body was holding him back.
Lowe, 23, suspected that his weight was getting dangerously high and that his health may be in jeopardy, but he wasn’t too concerned. Then in January 2021, he turned the ignition of his newly refurbished Ford Mustang and realized one simple truth. He was too big to safely drive the car.
“That car was the final nail in the coffin for me. I had spent the summer and fall of 2020 getting it to where I can drive it,” the Conroe, Texas native tells PEOPLE.
The car had been his project during COVID, and was supposed to be a culmination of his time, skills and passion. But it has also served as a catalyst for the once 478-lb. Lowe to make major lifestyle changes. Through determination combined with weight loss surgery, he has now lost more than 280 lbs.
Lowe, who works in an auto shop as a parts salesperson, knows his way around a car. He and his father worked on the project together, and his dad found the car. “It was kind of a father and son kind of deal,” Lowe says.