A man who weighed 58st and was scared to have sex with his wife in case he crushed her has lost 40st – and says the pair have got their mojo back.
Paul Tuthill, 44, from Inverness, Scotland, got so large that medics were unable to find scales to weigh him on.
The weight-gain started after the dad-of-three hurt his back in February 2010 by slipping on some stairs. As the injury grew steadily worse, so did his mobility, Paul couldn’t work, which meant he started gaining weight really quickly.
Before the accident, Paul had been a fitness enthusiast and weighed a healthy 16.5st, but after having to give up work he put on over 42st while housebound.
The weight impacted Paul’s mental health and he became depressed – in late 2017 he made multiple suicide attempts. His sister Maureen Warren – because so worried that she offered to pay for gastric surgery, which ultimately turned Paul’s life around. He managed to lose over 24st before the op.
Paul – who is married to Pauline Tuthill – is now a healthy 15st and has been working as a tour guide in the Scottish Highlands.
‘I got so big I was sleeping in the living room with a commode as I couldn’t use the toilet,’ says Paul.
‘My sex life with my wife was non-existent. I couldn’t go on holiday or days out with my family. At my biggest, I don’t even know for sure what weight I was as the scales only went up to 54st but I think it was about 58st.’
Paul was incredibly unwell at that size, his legs swelled to a metre in circumference, he says he could ‘feel that [he] was dying.’
‘I was a broken human being,’ he says. ‘The surgery, and some wonderful people who helped me, saved my life. I have to pinch myself these days when I think of how far I’ve come.’
At his heaviest, Paul had to rely on carers to look after his daily needs including washing, eating and using the toilet.
He even had a specialist wheelchair which had to be shipped in from Denmark.
‘I’ve since worked out that the strong pain meds I was on were making it almost impossible for me to control my appetite,’ he explains.
‘It wasn’t that I was eating that badly, I just had zero portion control.
‘I was so big that I couldn’t shower, or wash myself, I couldn’t wipe my own bum. My wife became my carer as well as working and looking after our children. But I couldn’t see a way out of the mess I was in, my back was still in excruciating pain everyday and my mental health was in tatters.
‘It got to the point where every night I wished I was dead, I felt I was holding my family back, I wanted it all to be over.
‘It got so bad that I made multiple attempts to take my own life. I even chucked myself on the floor of my room so they wouldn’t be able to get me up when they found me.’
When Maureen offered to pay £15k for gastric surgery that he had been denied on the NHS, Paul decided to make a change for the better.
He stuck to a restricted intake of 1800 calories a day and started drinking lots of water every day. The pounds began to drop off him.
‘I went from 58st to 46st in just a few months but I was told that still wasn’t light enough to have the surgery, I was told I definitely wouldn’t survive the operation,’ he says.
‘I left the appointment feeling extremely demoralised, but I didn’t want to give up so I kept up my calorie counting and managed to get to 34st by April 2018.’
After reaching his goal, Paul was booked in for mini-gastric bypass surgery in May 2018.
The five-hour operation was a success and Paul went on to lose a stone a month after sticking to his healthy calorie diet, and he was able to return to college in 2018.
But progress was slow, and Paul found that even with the weight loss he still wasn’t able to walk very well.
‘I reached out to physiotherapists, I did online research, I set myself small goals and gradually I started to see improvements,’ says Paul. ‘I just wanted my life back.
‘I went from wheelchair, to zimmer frame, to crutches, to one crutch, to a walking stick, to no walking stick with in three months. It felt amazing to be able to get about independently again.
‘People would clap me as I toddled about the college campus, some of them would even walk with me.
‘When I got down to 25st I decided to get back into cycling, it’s just been amazing.’
In the last two years, Paul has lost a further 10st – and he says his entire life has been transformed for the better.
‘Before we simply couldn’t function as a family,’ he says. ‘The kids were living with a guy who would clearly be dead soon.
‘I can go for family walks now and go away with my wife. We were unable to even sleep in the same bed for years and now we can our sex life is back on track which is great.’
In December 2020, Paul had a nine-hour operation to remove excess skin – and surgeons removed over 11lbs of loose flesh.
‘There was so much skin that it was actually really hard for me to use the toilet as it would hang down over my privates and get in the way,’ says Paul.
‘I’m really proud of how far I’ve come, it’s been small little goals and small stepping stones that have helped change everything.’
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