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Life In The Fat Lane: Part 3

Monday, February 9th, 2009 Life In The Fat Lane: Part 3

We have come to the final part of our report and we can look at Ricardo lobo-Morell’s story.

Ricardo aged 33, lives in the East end of London. Three years ago he weighed himself for the very first time. He had to go into Boots so he could use one of their weighing machines. Alas he weighed in at 30 stones.

Shock and horror, he realised something was to be done with immediate effect. He says, “I thought, ‘Bloody hell, I’ve got to do something about it.’ I felt like I was on display in the shop and I knew everyone was thinking, ‘Oh, look at the fatty on the scales.’ A few weeks later, on the tube, I was sitting on one of those pull-down seats and it broke underneath me. I was so embarrassed but I just made a joke to cope with it. That was it - I knew I had to do something.”

More significantly, what is apparent is that the chronic health problems that campaigners and experts are worried about will become more common. Obesity has become a huge problem, if you forgive the pun.

Notwithstanding, for Ricardo, he went on to develop type 2 diabetes and as a consequence has to inject himself with four different types of insulin on daily basis. Lobo-Morell further adds, “I’ve got high blood pressure, high cholesterol, problems with my knees.”

Sadly, Lobo-Morell cannot remember a time when he was a normal healthy weight. Indeed, he was referred to dietitian after dietitian and was not met with much empathy. The lack of response was such that he was merely given diet sheets. Simply nobody addressed the real causes.

Ricardo readily admits to taking money from his mothers purse on the way to school in order to buy chocolate. He claims his mother would try her best. However, even now when Lobo-Morell’s parents visit, his mother will invariably supply him with some food. Thus compounding the problem.

Lobo-Morell believes that eating appears to be more of a habit, with no serious overtones of emotional issues. He argues, I’ve never been a binge eater but I graze in the evenings. Cheese is the big thing I love. I just love my food, the wrong food, and for me the big thing is portion size. My stomach is so huge now that a little portion is not going to fill me up. I’ve never felt full. The only reason I know when I’ve felt full is if I think I’m going to be sick.” Why can’t he stop? “I don’t know. [Eating healthy food and doing exercise] is easier said than done. I know what I need to do, but when you’re as overweight as I am - nearly 24st - the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away and I have zero will power.” One of the worst things, he says, is thinking about how other people might see him. “This might sound weird, but when I see other fat people it disgusts me. I’d hate people to think that about me, but I know they probably do.”

As a psychiatric community nurse, Lobo-Morell has attempted many different diets and he has also taken the obesity drugs. Ricardo is fully aware that he needs to cook healthy foods and supplement with lots of fruit and veg. However, he readily admits to simply just not liking this type of food. Hitherto, he has been trying to eat healthily and lose weight because after more than two years of convincing surgeons he is a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery, his appointment has finally been booked. “People think it’s a quick fix, but it isn’t. It’s major surgery. I have lost friends over it who think it’s the easy way out and aren’t supporting me. I want to get my life back and start afresh.”

Moving on and in conclusion there needs to be a method of preventing this sought of weight gain in a specific way and fundamentally at a young age. For Lobo-Morell, he believes “fat camps” would have worked for him. “Food is only part of why someone is obese. There’s the psychological stuff, and if you can target that it would help. I was never offered anything like that. I have only seen a psychologist now I’m having surgery. I’m a mental health professional so I know the importance of that.”

Post operation, he explains “I had mixed emotions on the day,” he says. “It was strange walking into the operating theatre and getting up on the table. When I woke up I was in quite a lot of pain, and I immediately regretted having it done because I was attached to lots of drips and I felt quite claustrophobic. But that didn’t last.” He lost one and a half stone in the three days he was in hospital and the weight has been gradually coming off since then. “I’ve got no regrets,”

It is hard for this young man to stick to the special diet of of pureed food for six weeks before he can introduce solid food. “But I don’t feel hungry. I don’t miss the food I used to eat. My diabetes has got much better, my blood pressure is OK. It is early days, but I do feel positive”.

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