Feature

No longer ‘the world’s fattest man’

Ten years ago, Paul Mason ballooned up to 980 pounds.

Paul Mason is one third the man he used to be, said Sarah Lyall in The New York Times. Ten years ago, the former British postal worker ballooned up to 980 pounds, and was labelled “the world’s fattest man.” Mason started overeating in 1986, when he quit his job to care for his arthritic mother. “I had all these things going around my head from my childhood,” he says. “Food replaced the love I didn’t get from my parents.” Every penny of his and his mother’s government checks was spent on food, and he consumed 20,000 calories a day—eight times what an average man should eat. Restaurants and stores ferried him snacks around the clock. “They didn’t deliver bags of [potato chips]. They delivered cartons.” His obesity left him bed-bound, and in 2003 firefighters had to use a forklift to carry him to the hospital. When his mother died, in 2009, Mason decided to seek help. He underwent gastric bypass surgery, started dieting, and is now down to 336 pounds—one third of which is excess skin. At 52, he only wishes he’d taken action before becoming the world’s fattest man. “I don’t like that title, because I wasn’t going to be the world’s fattest man forever.”

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