Lose weight or die!
That's the stark ultimatum doctors delivered to a 39-year-old
Englishman, who grew to a colossal 60 stone.
Colin Corfield's battle for survival was the subject of
a poignant and moving ITV television documentary.
Filmed over two-and-a-half years, 'Lose 30 Stone or Die'
depicts his bid to reclaim his life after drug and alcohol
problems in his early 20s sent his weight spiraling out
The Runcorn pub landlord in Cheshire was warned two years
ago that his own body fat could suffocate him.
So he decided to take drastic action and have risky gastric
surgery. It has proved such a success that he has now shrunk
to 16 stone!
In the TV program screened in December 2007 he said life
was "fantastic" and he was looking forward to
his first real Christmas in decades.
"I won't be stuck in a corner watching everyone else,
feeling like I'm putting people out. It's my first Christmas
as the new me."
While Colin has a new appetite for life and can walk everywhere,
work properly, socialise and feels good about myself, it
wasn't always that way.
As a teenager he found it hard to deal with a drinking
domineering father and he turned to food for comfort.
He was obese by the time he reached 30 and when he began
running his own pub, his weight spiraled out of control.
"I was a big fella so I could drink 20, 30 pints
in a day and not get drunk," he recalled.
He ate takeaways at 2am. He snacked on crisps, chocolates
and diners all day.
He tried diets and several times managed to lose 10 stone,
but then he would put it back on again.
By the autumn of 2005, Colin was so big he couldn't leave
his bed and simple tasks like going to the toilet and
getting washed were impossible for him.
"I'd never let anyone weigh me. But I must have been
60 stone. I couldn't walk more than a few steps or go out,"
Whenever I could, he would go up on the roof and hose
myself down with a hosepipe "like an animal"
and he would use a bucket for a toilet.
Nights were especially dangerous. Colin needed an oxygen
mask so his weight wouldn't crush his lungs.
"It was degrading. I was so depressed. I couldn't
see the point of going on," he said, admitting he
had contemplated suicide.
Then he saw a TV programme about gastric surgery and thought
it would work for him.
His family found a surgeon willing to cut away most of
his stomach and his mother sold her bungalow to raise
the necessary £32,000.
But despite Colin cutting down on alcohol and food, and
slimming to 48 stone, the surgeons' instruments were too
small to cope with his size when they tried an operation
in November 2005.
"I was distraught," Colin said, told he had
to lose another 10 stone.
He went back to his diet and hired out a local pool to
swim in private.
He reached his target weight of 38 stone in November 2006
and the drastic surgery finally went ahead.
The doctors had warned him that one in 19 people die during
the procedure but Colin was happy to take the risk. If
I hadn't he would have died anyway, he believed.
Colin has now been left with a stomach the size of an
egg, enough for him to survive on. Instead of a large
cooked breakfast, he now begins his day with a single
Weetabix. He has also replaced the pints with an occasional
"Food isn't a big deal for me anymore. I was addicted
but now I am full after my small meal. Now I feel fantastic.
"I was very, very sad at the time I was heavy. But
I'm not sad anymore - I've got my life back.
"I can go back and watch the match at Everton. I
used to do it all the time before I got too big to get
through the turnstile," said Colin.
- March 26, 2008.