Formerly Fat, Latterly Lapsed 4

By the fall of 2019, weighing 500 pounds and coming up fast on 60 years of age, a broken man financially, physically and mentally, Paul Mason was back in England, in taxpayer-funded housing, with round-the-clock care. Journalist Adam Aspinall wrote for the Daily Mirror:

The world’s former fattest man is begging the NHS to save his life after being admitted to hospital four times in the past five months.

Speaking from a secret location, a desperate Paul told the Mirror: “The NHS have saved my life time and again. I could be dead without them. I’m determined to get my health back so I don’t let them down — I just need them to help me one last time… I have thought about taking my own life but I cannot let it come to that.”

In mid-2021 his medical situation was worse. Along with the gastric bypass needing repair, and the broken stapled parts inside him, and the wrecked knees, now one hip needed serious attention. But meanwhile, the COVID pandemic had drastically changed the social and medical landscapes. Of everything they needed, everyone was getting even less than ever before.

With all those problems, plus the misery of arthritis, Paul Mason was in constant distress. So he did what he always had done — he ate more. Reporters Adam Aspinall & Holly Hume quoted him as leading off with potato chips:

Crisps have always been my go-to snack. I use them to keep the edge off because I’m in terrible pain through the arthritis and I have a doctor who will not give me any proper pain relief. She said I’ve just got to live with it.

On top of that I wasn’t getting the minerals I needed due to my gastric bypass needing to be altered and that made by depression worse which led to me becoming very unhappy.

Despite the doctor’s caution with pain meds, Mason attempted suicide by overdose. Then, toward the year’s end, the long-awaited documentary, 10 years in the making, was finally wrapped up and released. By now Mason was a significant figure to many people who empathized with his struggles against obesity, and possibly with his unrelenting tendency to be his own worst enemy. The television premiere of “The World’s Fattest Man — 10 Years On” garnered wide attention.

By this time, he was living by himself in what the British call “sheltered housing.” He had gained even more weight and seemed, in his public pronouncements, to solely blame the pandemic for his epic backsliding. Reporter Jaymi McCann quoted the ITV synopsis of the production:

This unique documentary, filmed over 11 years, charts how Paul Mason from Ipswich took his life to the extreme, reaching nearly 80 stone (1,120 lbs.) as his food addiction became out of control.

While surgeons try to fix his body as his weight is on a rollercoaster, the question needs to be asked: is the real battle in his mind? Can therapy provide an answer to his compulsive eating?

At last, Paul, once the world’s fattest man, is going to face his demons in order to tackle the addiction which has devastated his life.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “World’s fattest man begs NHS to save his life with £100k weight loss surgery,” 09/29/19
Source: “Former world’s fattest man Paul Mason took overdose after pandemic weight gain,”, 11/03/21
Source: “Paul Mason now: What happened to the ‘World’s Fattest Man’ as ITV documentary catches up 10 years on,”, 11/03/21
Image by Leonard J. Matthews/CC BY-ND 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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