Obese man didn't leave home for four years

  • 01/01/2018
Paul Stevenson began eating unhealthily at age 19, weighing 323kg at his heaviest.
Paul Stevenson began eating unhealthily at age 19, weighing 323kg at his heaviest. Photo credit: Getty

A UK man didn't leave his home for four years because he was ashamed of his obesity.

Paul Stevenson from Derby, England, began eating unhealthily at age 19 after his mother died. He told the Derby Telegraph that he would often eat "about three take-away meals a day", which would usually consist of pizza and chips.

At his heaviest, Mr Stevenson weighed 51 stone (323kg) - too heavy for his set of scales to register. Ashamed of his appearance and poor health, the 36-year-old became a recluse.

"I stayed in my ground-floor flat every day for four years because I was so embarrassed with the way I looked," he said. 

"I couldn't bring myself to open my front door through panic, shutting myself off from my friends and family."

Eventually he realised his lifestyle would send him to an early grave, and he needed to make some changes. The first step was asking for help from a doctor - a local GP who visited him at home.

On his doctor's advice, Mr Stevenson drastically cut down his daily calorie intake from 7000 to 1500 calories. Men are advised to eat around 2500 calories a day to maintain their weight.

In April 2016, he felt he had lost enough weight to leave his home for the first time in four years, a moment he described as "surreal".

"A friend picked me up so I could go to the hospital for a pre-op appointment and I remember it being a nerve-wracking moment," he told the Derby Telegraph.

Before his appointment, Mr Stevenson's friend took him on a tour of Derby so he could see what had changed in his own city during his self-imposed exile.

When he reached a weight of 42 stone (266kg) he underwent gastric sleeve surgery, which was fully funded by the UK's National Health Service (NHS).

After the operation he lost 30 stone (190kg) in just 18 months. While thrilled with his weight loss, Mr Stevenson now faces a new affliction - a significant amount of loose skin that he said is "ruining my day-to-day life".

Unfortunately, excess skin removal surgery is regarded as a cosmetic procedure and is not funded by the NHS. Mr Stevenson recently set up a GoFundMe page where he hopes to raise £15,000 ($NZ28,523) to pay for the surgery.

He has given a number of speeches across England about his weight loss journey, and hopes to help more people with obesity issues in the future.