MARK Whyberd is half the man he used to be – literally.
The Goring biker has lost a whopping 15 stone 12lbs, after deciding to pay £12,500 for gastric bypass surgery.
The 48-year-old said he had struggled with his weight for more than 25 years, and every time he tried to diet, he would always put it straight back on afterwards.
He had the life-changing surgery when he was at his heaviest – 27 stone 11lbs – and now, 21 months later, he is down to a slender 11 stone 13lbs.
Mark, of Newtimber Avenue, said: “The decision to do it came at the end of 2009. I was having trouble losing weight, and one day I watched a TV programme that featured the surgery, and I came to the conclusion ‘this could be the way for me’.
“I sat down and talked about it with my wife Kathy, and she said ‘thank God for that’ as she had thought of it before and said she didn’t know how to broach it with me. She was very supportive.”
Mark went to his GP and his case was referred to the PCT, which he claims would not refer him to St Richard’s Hospital, where he wanted to have the surgery.
In the end, he decided to pay for the operation privately through Streamline Surgery, and it was performed in February, 2010, by one of the leading bariatric surgeons in the UK, Shaw Somers, at the Chichester-based hospital.
A gastric bypass is an operation to make the stomach smaller and to shorten the length of small intestine that food then passes through.
It allows the food people eat to bypass most of their stomach and part of the small intestine. It means they eat less and some of the food they consume will not be fully digested.
Mark, who blamed his size on a love of food and beer, said: “I have no regrets about having the surgery, but if people ask me I am honest and I tell them it is painful and it can be difficult.
“There are times when I’m out and I find myself staring at other people’s plates at the things I can’t have and wishing I could, but I know that I can’t and most of the time it’s fine, but I’d be lying if I said the urge wasn’t still there.”
As well as reducing his risk of serious disease, Mark said he now has much more energy since the surgery.
“I have a motorcycle, and as I was getting heavier I was using it less and less. Now, I do more miles in a month than I did in the last four years before my surgery,” he said.
“And when we went on holiday to Tunisia last year I was able to go up and down the minarets – I was like a mountain goat. It’s the most active I have been in a long time and it’s been completely worth it.”
For more information about the surgery, visit www.streamline-surgical.com