John and Lonnie Hambrick both began relying on food as a source of comfort at an early age, and now the two brothers are looking to make a change together.
In PEOPLE’s exclusive first look at the season 8 premiere of My 600-Lb. Life, John, 35, and Lonnie, 36, take their first steps toward getting healthy, which includes finding out how much they weigh.
“Neither of us have ever been able to get weight loss surgery and it’s gonna take something drastic like that to give me a John a fighting chance to lose all the weight we need,” Lonnie says in one exclusive clip from Wednesday’s episode, as the pair make their first visit with Dr. Nowzaradan to look into possibly getting gastric bypass surgery.
“This trip is one of hope for me and I’m glad we’re both doing it because I want both of us to get healthy so we can be part of each other’s lives for a long time,” he adds, noting how difficult the process will be for both of them.
After stepping on the scale, and learning he weighs 612.7 lbs., Lonnie says he wasn’t shocked, but felt disappointed “because that’s my highest weight yet.”
“I just hope John’s not a whole lot higher,” he adds. “He’s always been the bigger one.”
Weighing in at 686.5 lbs., John just shakes his head.
In another clip from the episode, the two brothers open up about their history with food.
“By the time I was 8, I was over 200 lbs. and Lonnie wasn’t too far behind me,” John says, noting that they “both started to look to food even more for that happy and safe feeling” after their mother got remarried.
“Our stepdad gave me all kinds of hell because I was always different,” Lonnie says, revealing that after he came out as gay to his religious mother as a teenager, she just “brushed it off.”
“I basically decided to stay in the closet after that. Only my brother knew but I tried to hide my sexuality so I wouldn’t disappoint my mom,” he says. “So eating is what got me through that time. It was the only thing I could control in my life and that made me happy and felt happy. So I just kept eating and getting bigger.”
Coming out to John also put distance between the two brothers for a time.
“When I found out, I didn’t really agree with it because my mom had raised us to be religious so because of that, me and Lonnie had started to grow apart. We didn’t have a relationship for a long time,” John says.
In an interview with PEOPLE, both John and Lonnie, who live in separate Texas towns, shared that the hardest change they had to make revolved around their diets.
“Eating is really hard now but now I’m able to eat the right foods and I’m more active,” John said, as Lonnie added, “the hardest part for me was learning to eat less.”
As for his favorite new habit, John said he loves “playing ball with my son,” while Lonnie enjoys his “daily phone calls” with his brother.
After taking the journey together, Lonnie said he’s realized “that nothing is impossible and I am strong, brave and worthy of everything I have done.”
“If you fall don’t just stop, get back up and keep going,” Lonnie says. “The key to think about is it’s a journey, so if you have a day tomorrow, you will do better. Never give up.”
My 600-Lb Life Season 8 premieres Wednesday, January 1 at 8pm ET/PT on TLC.