Razzaque Ali, from Bipsham, was only 30 when his doctor told him he might have just 10 years left to live.
At a whopping – and life-threatening – 38 stone, he knew he had to take action.
So Razzaque, who has always battled with his weight, decided to undergo a gastric bypass.
And the 31-year-old says it has given him a second chance at life.
He lost seven stone, through dieting with the support of Spire Weight Loss Surgery in Blackpool, to allow the procedure to be carried out. Over the past 16 months, since the surgery, he shed a further 12 stone, well on the way towards his 14 stone target.
Razzaque said: “For years I kept putting it off – I put on such a front for family and friends everything was okay I started to believe it myself.
“I was a ticking time-bomb. To be told when you have just turned 30 your life expectancy is 40, was absolutely terrifying.”
Razzaque underwent surgery in June last year at Spire Manchester Hospital - one of five hospitals which make up the Spire’s specialist bariatric surgery network, including Spire Fylde Hospital.
He remembers his weight steadily increasing as a child – by primary school was on a milkshake diet.
By the age of 15 he tipped the scales at 22st.
A 10-month period living with family in Bangladesh saw him achieve some success with getting his weight under control, but it was short-lived.
A similar pattern continued – he regularly dabbled in diets, only to give up when he didn’t see a difference.
As his weight increased, so did his frustration and despair.
He gave up university and got a sedentary job as a taxi driver.
“It started to feel like my weight was making me give up on everything – time with friends, education at university, my career, my relationship. But it was easier to give up and hide away, rather than face the situation, keeping up this ‘big personality’ on the outside.
“I never used to have breakfast – I’d skip meals until later in the day, by which time I’d be really hungry. I would eat whatever was available.
“I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, and I finally admitted this to one of the GPs.
“She suggested I needed an operation and I was so relieved.
“I knew the surgery wasn’t a quick fix. The fix takes place inside yourself.
“My affair with food is over now. I still go out and socialize with friends over food, but now I have a small side-plate portion and I watch the kind of things I am eating.
“I feel much happier and more positive since losing weight. I go to the gym five times a week and swim every day.
“I want to make the most of my life. I want to get started in a career I love – I’d like to return to university and finish my social work degree. And I want to settle down and have a family.
“At long last, these feel like things I can achieve – rather than my weight taking over.”