JEFF Allan has become a local celebrity after millions of TV viewers watched him go under the knife to battle the bulge.
The 68-year-old was one of a number of patients at Sunderland Royal Hospital’s specialist ward for the morbidly obese who were filmed for ITV’s Weight Loss Ward.
Jeff’s weight crept up to 36st after an accident he suffered as a dockyard worker in Devonport, Plymouth, more than a decade ago left him less active.
But following a gastric balloon and then a gastric bypass operation last year, which were filmed for the show, Jeff is now 20st and he hopes to lose more.
Viewers saw Jeff visit a consultant who told him he had to lose some of the weight on his own before he could be considered for an operation.
After losing three-and-a-half stone in three months, he had a gastric balloon fitted.
But his body rejected it and he lost eight-and-a-half stone in just 10 weeks, even struggling to keep water down.
And Jeff’s angina was a risk that forced medics to warn him that a bypass could be life-threatening.
But Jeff, married to Evelyn, 68, who plays darts for Hartlepool’s The Park pub, went ahead and has never looked back.
Jeff weighed around 17st in his younger years, but after tipping the scales at 36st in 2010, he took the decision to have surgery as he feared for his health.
“I was in God’s waiting room waiting for the light to go out, that was my frame of mind.
“I had given up, I couldn’t do anything for myself.”
Jeff had a 48-year Navy career but his role became less active after his accident, which caused three discs in his spine to disintegrate and the weight gradually piled on.
His doctor referred him to Sunderland, which was the region’s main unit for weight loss surgery in 2010.
Jeff, of Low Grange Avenue, Billingham, almost starved himself, living on Pot Noodles and Cup-a-Soups to lose the initial three-and-a-half stone before he was fitted with the balloon.
Around a year later, he had the bypass operation, but spent two days in intensive care after his blood pressure plummeted.
He had the operation a year ago this week and now weighs 20st.
He said if it hadn’t been for his GP, Dr Mohammed Khan, setting the ball rolling, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
Jeff, who used to live in Seaton Carew, said he was initially reluctant to appear on the documentary.
But Jeff, who has three children and three stepchildren, more than 20 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, added: “I’m glad I did – since then four or five people have contacted me to say ‘thank you for giving me the incentive to go ahead and do it’.
“From being depressed and almost giving up, I’ve got my life back, even at my age.
“And I’m prepared to enjoy it.”
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