'World's fattest man' Paul Mason looks to the future
- 26 December 2012
- From the section Suffolk
A man once labelled the world's fattest has lost five stone (31kg) in the past year and says he is on his way to a "normal life".
Paul Mason, 51, weighed 70 stone (444kg) three years ago and was confined to the bed of his bungalow in Ipswich, Suffolk.
Now, two years after gastric bypass surgery, Mr Mason has started his own jewellery business and is working towards a life where he can learn to drive, go on holiday and find someone to settle down with.
"I've always been interested in the jewellery," he said.
"Eventually, when I'm a lot more mobile and don't need the wheelchair, I will have a proper work shed and a kiln and will melt down scrap silver - and make my own custom-made silver."
He hopes to sell the work online and at a stall in Ipswich town centre.
This, he said, would provide funds to help him reclaim an independence which has been absent while he has been reliant on money from the health service and media interested in his story.
After consuming 20,000 calories a day, nearly 10 times the recommended average, for the best part of a decade, he was dubbed by the media as the "world's fattest man".
"My life has always been run by other people, mainly social services," he said.
"When you get your life back under control it's rewarding, you can do what you want and look at things in a new angle.
"The wake-up call was when the primary care trust wouldn't fund the gastric bypass surgery. I thought that's it, I'm not going to live my life like this anymore."
Mr Mason currently weighs 25 stone (158kg). He wants to lose more but says it is impossible to do so without the help of a further operation.
The NHS, however, has said he has to have a stable weight for two years before the excess skin, about eight stone's (50kg) worth, can be removed.
"It's OK them saying that, but that only applies to people who don't have much weight to lose," Mr Mason said.
"It needs doing now and probably in another four or five years. It doesn't matter how much toning up you do, it's only going to get worse."
He said the excess skin was hampering his efforts to walk, which would help him lose weight.
"My skin splits," he said. "The skin behind my knee tears because of the weight of the excess skin."
Mr Mason is writing a book about his experience and looking into the prospect of consultancy work, talking to people about eating disorders.
If he lost enough weight, as well as going on holiday he would like to travel to Australia and America to follow up invitations he said he had received for TV talk shows.
In terms of his personal life, he said he would like children of his own but "the chances of it happening are a bit remote now".
He would, however, like to settle down with a partner he "got on well with".
Mr Mason's mobility is improving and his gastric bypass surgery means he does not crave anywhere near the thousands of calories he once consumed.
He has spoken about how he barely slept as he went on "24/7" binges of fish and chips, Chinese food and kebabs.
But while he felt that was behind him, he admitted to sometimes having doubts about whether he could achieve his goals.
"You have your bad days but you just think 'ah well, another day tomorrow'," he said.
"But the dark days you've had drive you on and keep you going.
"Five years ago I was stuck in that bed - no life to look forward to, possibly death.
"I wouldn't wish it on anybody."