HE’S a charity champion, he’s officially the best taxi driver in the UK – and now Stephen Picton is a super slimmer.
The 42 year old spent thousands of pounds trying just about “every diet known to man” and although some worked on a short-term basis he said it wasn’t long before he slipped into his old ways.
The cabbie opted for a mini gastric bypass operation, a procedure to shrink the stomach, in June this year when he weighed in at around 28 stone.
And in just four months, Stephen has already shed nearly 10 stone, proudly telling the Mail how his life has been transformed by the operation and subsequent weight loss.
But he revealed how the operation was anything but an easy way out, and told of the sacrifices he had to make before and after the procedure to ensure it was a success.
“I was smoking 40 cigarettes a day and I packed in, I gave up alcohol and my addiction to Red Bull, all in readiness for the operation,” said Stephen, who lives in the Blakelock Road area of Hartlepool with wife Sandy.
“And the sacrifices you have to make after the operation are immense.”
A month to six weeks on puree food was the first obstacle Stephen had to overcome immediately after the operation, as his stomach was now the size of an egg rather than a football.
Soft drinks were then introduced back to his diet but he could only eat a few teaspoons of food until he was full to the brim.
And he now has to stay away from bread, red meat, fizzy drinks and sugary products.
“The operation fixes you physically but not mentally, but the results for me have been absolutely fantastic and the compliments you receive are truly outstanding,” said Stephen, who now weighs in at 18st 10lbs.
“Honestly, I had tried every diet going, everyone you can think of, I’d spent thousands of pounds on different diets but sooner or later you give up on them. We’ve all done it.”
The dad-of-four famously raised £50,000 before his 40th birthday, but it was his final charity night the day before he celebrated his birthday when he said it hit home that he had to go about losing weight.
“When I looked at the photographs of me on stage that night I was massive,” said Stephen.
“That’s when I knew I had to do something.”
Stephen has set his target of getting down to around 14 stone, but said he’s already seeing the benefits of dropping so much weight.
“My life has changed,” he said.
“I’m walking and cycling and my breathing with my asthma is 100 per cent better.
“My outlook on life is so much better, it’s as if I’ve had a second chance.
“I would recommend the procedure but people who go for it must know that it doesn’t just work overnight.
“Sacrifices have to be made, but if you are dedicated it’s fantastic.”
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