“I felt as if I was on death row” : One of Britain’s fattest men is opening the UKs first gym for super obese people – after he lost a staggering 31 stone
One of Britain’s fattest men who used to guzzle more than 100 pints of coke a WEEK is opening the county’s first gym for the super obese – after he lost a staggering 31 stone.
Married Graham Waugh, 45, piled on the pounds when depression and anxiety trapped him indoors for more than a decade, pushing his weight to a crippling 52 stones.
He gorged on 12 takeaways and 21 family bags of peanut M&Ms a week, all washed down with a can of coke every half an hour – or more than 16 pints a DAY.
But determined Graham – who also used to smoke 80 cigarettes a day – turned his life around after his big brother suddenly died, giving him a new lease of life.
He shed a stone a month thanks to a rigorous gym routine, strict diet and two operations – thought to be one of Britain’s biggest weight losses.
The father-of-two from Stopsley, in Luton, Bedfordshire, is now drawing up a business plan for the UK’s first gym for overweight, obese and super obese people.
He said: “All I could concentrate was food. I felt like I had nothing else in my life.
“I would eat lunch and instantly think that was for dinner.
“I felt as if I was on death row – I know how these people feel – but now I got lucky and it worked out.
“It hasn’t been easy but I feel like a totally different man.
“I was expecting to be dead by now. I feel like I have cheated death without a doubt.”
Graham had always been larger than his peers and would get in trouble at school when he would try to make people laugh to avoid being bullied.
But his weight spiralled out of control when he suffered from heart palpitations aged 27 – weighing 27 stone – which caused him to panic and become a recluse.
He recalled: “I was scared. I kind of went into a hidey-hole and became a recluse for the best part of 15 years.
“I was hidden away from people. I pushed family away. I pushed friends away.
“I had severe depression and anxiety and I just didn’t want to socialise with anybody.
“I just felt that I didn’t want anybody to see me the size that I was and the only time I was really happy was when the curtains were shut at night time.
“I never left the house for about 15 years. The only time I did leave was to go to the hospital in a specially adapted ambulance.
“My life was dark. I was waiting for death to be honest with you, that’s the truth.”
But when his brother Stuart, 40, died of a blood clot in the brain in 2008 and it made Graham think about changing his life.
He signed up to an obesity clinic and found out he weighed a whopping 52 stone – double what he expected.
“He was the only person that I actually told about my weight, and one of the last things he said to me was you need to get your weight off.
“It spurred me on and I thought he didn’t have a choice and I’m sitting here being selfish and just waiting for death, just giving it away.”
He started dieting in 2012 when doctors said he needed to lose weight to have a sleeve gastrectomy – a weight-loss procedure to remove part of the stomach.
Graham was instructed to go on an all-milk diet for three months, and lost six stone before the operation in July 2012 at Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
The six-hour op also saw surgeons remove an ‘apron’ of skin – which reached Graham’s ANKLES – and that alone saw him lose more than FIVE STONE.
“It was one the most amazing feelings,” said Graham, who has two grown up children with wife of 25-years, Sarah, a financial controller.
“Before the operation I felt like there was a 20 stone man sat on my legs and when I woke up it wasn’t there.
“There was a phenomenally high risk having the operation but I didn’t care.
“I was waiting for death anyway, at least this way I was going out trying.”
Following the operation Graham started a proper diet, replacing his five-meal dinner with vegetables and chicken, and cutting out fizzy drinks, fags and sweets.
He lost seven stone, getting down to 33 stone, before a second operation to remove part of his intestine – to reduce food intake – in December 2013.
As soon as he was able he joined Active4Less gym in Luton and started going for two-hour work outs at least four times a week, burning up to 4000 calories at a time.
He has lost a whopping 12 stone since February 2014 and now weighs 21 stone, and plans to keep going until he loses another six stones.
He has now met two business partners and plans to open a gym for clinically obese people, BIG Health & Fitness.
“I have been one of the fattest man in Britain and I understand what it is like.
“People don’t really understand the mind of an obese person.
“Walking into a gym is really hard when you are big and I want to show people it can be done.”
Breakfast – Nothing
Lunch – Large portion of takeaway chips
Dinner – Large chicken kebab, two burgers, portion of chips and extra portion of kebab meat.
Snack – Three family bags of peanut M&Ms. More bags of peanuts. Can of coke every half hour.
Breakfast – Porridge
Lunch – Egg white omlette with tomato and mushroom with cheese
Dinner – Chicken, vegetables and small portion of gravy.
Snacks – Ice pop.