501 Pounds: A Story of Love, Willpower and a Bike

Late one afternoon in 2002, Scott Cutshall’s Grand Am rolled toward the leafy Jersey City, New Jersey, neighborhood where he, his wife and their daughter lived on the ground floor of a brownstone apartment.

The car was silent, except for a quiet refrain. “I’m a dead man,” the 38-year-old Cutshall said. “I’m a dead man.”

In the driver’s seat sat his wife, Amy, who had asked him to see a doctor about his weight, which then hovered at 427 pounds, and would later top out at 501. In back sat three-year-old Chloe, who Cutshall cared for as best he could given how little he could move.

The news was not good. The doctor gave him six months to live without bariatric surgery. With it, the doctor said, Cutshall had a 50 percent chance of making it out of the operating room.

“I’m a dead man,” said Cutshall, sobbing softly.

Over the next few years, even as he defied that dire prediction, every doctor, every authority he consulted would give him equally urgent warnings. Everyone told him the same thing: Lose weight or die. At the doctor’s office that day in 2002, Cutshall had voiced the foremost question in his mind.

“Do you think I can lose the weight on my own?”

“No,” the doctor had said. “At your weight, I’ve never heard of anyone doing it.”

Read the rest here.


  1. Frank – wonderfully written piece about Scott Cutshall’s determination to both physically and mentally get back in shape. His story hit home with me as I am coming towards my 1 year anniversary (April 9th 8am) of losing 90 lbs in large part due to riding a sturdy bike 2.5k miles. Down to 225lb, I need to lose another 15lb or so and plan to do 5k miles in 2010. Certainly, the practice of limiting the range of foods to eat helped Scott and it has been critical for me. I know what he means when he says “he would not be here without his bike” – mine is saving and extending my life every day. Thanks again – Peace.

    • Thanks so much for the note, Carl. I’m glad you enjoyed the story too, and good luck with the riding. I hope you get where you’re going.

  2. Your story on Scott Cutshall was amazing. I think I read it a few times over and over as there are so many lessons to be learned. You told it perfectly and, although it seems Scott doesn’t want the publicity, I sense it’s a story that you could develop into a book or movie. We need more people like Scott Cutshall and the world needs to hear their stories. Thank you for sharing this with us! Well done.

    • Thanks Michael and w.r. wise! So good to hear. Scott’s is a powerful story, and a good reminder of what happens when we really put our minds to something.

  3. i have read your story about scott cutshall at least 10times. so well written and inspiring. i have made numerous copies and handed them out to friends, both old and young, who are interested in improving their fitness and health.

    i too am a avid cyclist. but, fortunately for me, losing weight is not a primary concern. cycling fulfills me and its cheaper than paying a psychiatrist.

    it takes a strong mind and incredible will power to overcome adversity. i salute mr cutshall and wish the best for him and his lovely famly.

  4. Frank Bures. Brilliantly crafted piece. Scott Cutshall’s story is nothing short of amazing. You told this story well and true. The only thing the online version lacks is the photo of Scott Custhall ‘now’ looking at a digital image of Scott Cutshall ‘then’ (501 ibs.) with his beautiful daughter sitting on his lap. What a lovely man. And what a wonderful family. Thanks. Scott. Thanks Frank.

    Alberto Martinez – Liverpool, NY USofA


  5. Mr. Cutshall’s life is the “Greatest Story Never Told”. I had several take aways from the article including the shear power of will, taking food for granted, and love of family.

    What really got me was Mr. Cutshall’s moral and ethical compass. His refusal to cash in on his 15 minutes of fame because he didn’t want to give false hope to others in his situation is astounding!

    Fortunately I am a neighbor of his brother Rich back here in Philly. I saw Rich last during an incredible snow storm we had last weekend. He was dressed up in a winter suit riding his cargo bike to the store in the snow.

    Greg Nowell
    Narberth, PA

    • Hi,
      I’m trying to find Scott Cutshall to talk to him about appearing in a tv ad for Jennie-O turkey. The spot would be based on his story.
      If you know how to contact him I’d appreciate it.
      Thank you!
      Pamala Saturn
      BBDO Art Buyer/Broadcast

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