An open letter to the NHS & Jeremy Hunt (Please Pass This On)

20 01 2013

An open letter to the NHS & Jeremy Hunt

Readers of my blog http://39stonecyclist.com  know that I am someone who REALLY wants to make a difference to people in the world who are suffering from obesity or eating disorders.

 39 stone cyclist, Gary Brennan, Before, During & After , Weight Loss

For new readers, I’ll be quick, I was 39 stones (546 Ibs), I cycled to work I DIDN’T have a weight loss operation, I am now 13 stones (182 Ibs), I was on TV for the removal of excess skin as the NHS wouldn’t fund it, I am now an Anti Obesity Crusader.

 

 

I am always happy to tell people that over and over again in the hope that the next time I do it will save someone’s life, in the fashion that I saved my own.

It’s been 4 and a half years since I started my own journey, I have been through a lot in that time.

Two and a half years were spent losing the weight, there were accidents, weight gain, broken bikes, broken dreams (albeit only temporarily ), battles, tears, joy, being at rock bottom, building myself back up.

For the last 2 years, I have kept a stable weight of between 13 and 14 stones, there have been eating disorders and not just my Selective Eating Disorder, accidents (a theme maybe). After the rebuilding came the adding of polish, becoming a more than accomplished cyclist, public speaker and multi award winner.

But through it all, I kept grounded and humble, people tell me all the time how much of an inspiration I am, but I don’t get carried away. I’m more than aware I’m just a former fat bloke from up north with all of the usual failings, faults and issues that everyone else faces in a day to day battle with modern life. It’s just that one day I fell in love with the humble bicycle, I set up a blog to keep myself going, that then turned into a blog to keep myself on the straight and narrow by helping others. But it’s nothing no-one else couldn’t do with a bit of planning, thought, application and a bit of good old fashioned will power.

Last year I contacted the Government, The Shadow Health Secretary, The actual Health Secretary and the Department of Health, I pointed out my story, not for personal gain, but to simply say that the NHS needs to look at prevention, needs to look at other ways of beating obesity, throwing Weight Loss Surgery at someone as soon as they walk through the door DOESN’T WORK, Sadly my offer to help was met with a DEADLY SILENCE, so I guess I now have nothing to lose with an open letter.

 

obesity stats 39 stone cyclist

I was approved for the surgery and the first thing I did was research EVERYTHING about it, the risk, the reward, the success rate etc etc.

That lead me to one place, Obesityhelp.com, an American portal for everything obese, be it Gastric Bands, Bypass, Duodenal Switch or my method, the only thing we ALL had in common was a desire to get better, a desire to no longer be morbidly obese.

I signed up, I was in the minority, being English, I had to learn to talk in Pounds not Stones, I had to learn a WHOLE new culture but to be honest, it was so immersive that it worked, I found out REALLY quickly that being successful wasn’t down to what operation you had.

For it was easy to “Cheat” any of the Weight Loss Surgeries.

The ONE thing every successful person on that site had in common was that they used the tools they were given and worked hard.

The tools could have been Surgery, or like me, a bike and a bit of inspiration.

The other tool everyone needed was their head, for obesity is a MENTAL HEALTH problem and until you fix what makes you over eat, an operation or a bike or whatever, won’t help you in the long run.

 

_44342178_global_obesity_map416

THAT I BELIEVE IS THE REASON for the 5% stat. Only 5% of morbidly obese people lose weight naturally and keep the weight off.

So why are the NHS still trying to fix mental health issues with physical operations?

I believe I have the key to that; it’s simply a lack of understanding.

I offered the Government et al the keys to fixing the pandemic that is sweeping the nation, I as one man can’t fix it, but put me in the right place, with the right access, responsibilities and funding and obesity rates WILL stabilise , stagnate then REDUCE.

Sure it’s a bold claim, but I have lived it, I know the mind of someone who has been SUPER SUPER MORBIDLY OBESE.

The way we fix this is by getting SMARTER, by starting with prevention and then by motivating people to put right the CAUSE of the obesity they are suffering from before we even attempt to think about looking at what that obesity has caused.

If you fix the cause, you fix all the co-morbidity issues and there is also a reduced need for things such as excess skin removal etc, honestly, all we need to do here is be much smarter.

 article10500480271218c0rg4

So, NHS, Government, Mr Hunt, Or any Private Healthcare Provider, if you REALLY want to stop this ticking time bomb, I’m available on wearyellowcommuter@gmail.com , I cant change the problem on my own as one lone voice, but I want to make a REAL difference in this world, I know its achievable, all I need is your backing. If you want this problem fixing, I’ll await your contact.

End of letter.

 —————————————-

 

But Dear Reader, you can help too.

The link below is an online form to the Department of Health. Copy and paste the above letter onto the online form and click Submit.

http://www.info.doh.gov.uk/contactus.nsf/memo?openform

Do the same with the Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health at huntj@parliament.uk

And Andy Burnham the Shadow Secretary of State for Health at andy.burnham.mp@parliament.uk

Also you can find your own MP’s email address here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ whack in your Post Code and that will bring up your own MP and contact details. Email them this letter too.

This is not a Party Political Issue even though it is a Political Issue, hence the cross party emails.

For my readers across the world, please bombard your political representatives with my letter above. Every little helps.

As we all know, the only thing Politicians are interested in is weight of numbers in an issue and votes, so please take the trouble to do this!

Let me know via the comments section of my Blog if you do take the trouble to let our leaders know that we want change and we can help!

You’re all brilliant supporters and I know that you are all fighting your own fight pretty much with your own will power or a small circle of supporters or through blogging. Just think what WE could achieve if we had a Global change in attitude!

As Margaret Mead famously said

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Thanks for reading,

Cheers

Gaz

 





My Time Working on Channel 4′s Embarrassing Body’s: Part 4/4, how I look and feel today.

18 01 2013

So 2 weeks ago you all saw me on channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies

 

Where I had a LOT of much needed excess skin removed, a Manchester radio station (Key 103) this week asked, “Why would people go on Embarrassing Bodies and not their GP, do they get paid”

I told them, what i’ll tell you, NO, you dont get paid, however, I got the treatment I NEEDED but that the NHS refused to give, despite initially indicating that if I kept at a stable weight , they would….

 

So I was forced with either a life of a HUGE amount of VERY lose skin, or , a few moments on post watershed TV.

 

It was an easy choice TBH, sure , 5 million saw my weener, but 5 million also saw the story of , you CAN lose 27 stone by simply cycling to work, no gimmics, no operations , no pills, no clubs, just good old fashion HARD WORK  .

IMG-20121025-WA0008

 

Thats the Embarrassing Bodies “Stairs” though I filmed on them, it didn’t make the final cut.

 

Neither did the scene whereby my kids and are I were playing in the park, although considering the episode was more about sex, Im rather grateful it didnt TBH

My fat friend and me, the camera crew and a park, dodging the rain, welcome to Manchester

My fat friend and me, the camera crew and a park, dodging the rain, welcome to Manchester

 

So, where are we today, WELL as you saw on the show, there is still excess skin, but to think one single operation would fix all that , just wasnt realistic, so thankfully Mr Juma and the Spire Murrayfield have agreed to a revision , whereby more skin will be taken and hopefully  the desired results will be achieved. Channel 4 and Embarrassing Bodies may also cover that procedure too, so watch out for more clues :0)

 

Overall I am happy and more able to function normally and I wouldn’t change going on the show for anything , sure I wish it would all have gone in one go, but these things are simply character building and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them, but was the pain of the weightloss and the plastics worth it…………i’ll say nothing but I will leave you with these..

 

..YOU TELL ME !

SICK.jpg

 

#teamgaz

#teamgaz

 

no cycling, no fat





The Comeback, Part 3 Of My Embarrassing Bodies Series.

12 01 2013

after such major surgery, there was always going to be a long lay off, I was told a minimum of 6 weeks, now in order not to get into trouble with, EVERYONE , I wont say after how long the Comeback took BUT

It was one mile, it was slow, it was hard, it hurt, it wasn’t 6 weeks tho (could be longer, could be less)

a few days later, I stuck in a shift of 10 miles, including a VERY slow Mottram Moor

 

It felt like i’d gone back a few years.

 

Over the coming few weeks , I was to be on and off the Comeback as I ended up getting an infection (It wasn’t through any fault of my own or related to the rides)

 

I’d agreed to do the Great Manchester Cycle in May and REALLY didnt have a lot of time to get in shape , it was going to be close, REALLY close, but as my readers will know, I did make it that day, I came in the top 100 but truth be told, I wasnt fit, I dropped back on the last lap, I’d used up all my energy reserves , or more simply put, I just wasnt fit enough to get the placing that I wanted. I didnt disgrace myself at all, but I was hungry , I wanted so much more , In the end, that desperate desire drove me onto train harder than ever for Blackpool 3 months later.

Great Manchester Cycle, with my 2 super awesome kids

Great Manchester Cycle, with my 2 super awesome kids

 

The above  shows me on the day of the Great Manchester Cycle, with my 2 amazing kids, looking not to shabby, just over 2 months from the major surgery you saw on Channel 4.

Next up is the final part of this series , trust me, you dont want to miss it.





My Time Working on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Body’s: The Surgery,Filming,Recovery : Part 2/4.

8 01 2013

Soon the day was here, I worked the day prior to surgery and thought that cycling home would be one of those days where I really put myself into the red, in order to deal with the building emotions, but I didn’t, I set a fast time but never really pushed, I made sure I got a good time but I never pushed until it hurt, there was a calm in the air.

With that, I got home, had a nice relaxing bath and attempted to settle my nerves, ironically, the night before the surgery, the new series of Embarrassing Body’s aired, so I watched that and with a 4am get up, I drifted off to sleep, I wasnt the same person I was before my theory test, who did everything to rid himself of emotions, no, I’m once again changed, I know that we are human, we have emotions and they are these for a reason, dont hide or regress them and you will be ok.

The morning of the surgery was REAL FOGGY, so bas, i’d never seen it like that in my life, never mind drove in it. It was a welcome distraction to be honest.

Once there I was booked into Room 39 (for the former 39 stone cyclist, how cool) , there was little to stop the whirlwind of efficiency  , seldom seen on the NHS, that the staff at the spire offered.

With a flash, it was all done, I was in the gown and stockings.

Diggin it Gaz

Maverick Tv arrived, there was some filming done of me and Mr Juma and me waiting around, cycling mag in hand, of course :0)

Then the long walk to theatre, again this was filmed, from a couple of angles and Maverick then stepped back while the show started, I was stood next to the trolly and happened to look down on to the table I can remember thinking “Shit, so many needles, it looks like death row”  , as I lay down, I think with that thought my pulse raced as a nurse got hold of my hand,

I recall thinking “Oh thats cold in my arm”

The next thing, it was 8 hours later and it was all done.

I was in recovery talking about how the Unicorns had been playing with me in the pot of gold near the rainbow, I then saw the crew walking away and asked the nurse to make sure they don’t steal my bike 🙂

I felt pretty much ok in recovery, just chilling and chatting (Crap) but then there was an issue, I needed to pee but I couldn’t, tube number one, say hello !

Just a few hours out from surgery

Stay tuned for more.





My Time Working on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies : The Surgery,Filming,Recovery : Part 1/4.

7 01 2013

 

It was way back almost 2 years ago now, when I sent off my application, after getting a fair bit of help from a good friend, to be on the channel 4 tv show, Embarrassing Body’s , I had this dream that they would fix everything, in reality, needing a “Full body lift” that was never going to happen.

But Maverick TV saw my application and took a shine to my story, this would end, 9 months ago, with me getting the excess skin removed in my 2 most problematic area’s  , my stomach and my pubic area.

“Audition” Time

Back in January I was called to Birmingham and a series of posts began, called “The Game”

Clue number one was this picture of me sat in-front of a BAFTA given to Maverick TV

See the BAFTA Now ?

That was the day that was going to change my life, forever !

As me and the crew wandered over to the actual Embarrassing Body’s studio, it was a FREEZING cold January Lunch time , I’d driven the 100 miles from home, alone, despite just passing my driving test weeks prior, the time for my life to change, was now.

As we entered the studio I was amazed at how big the place was, it was also FREEZING cold inside, the crew told me they were unable to put the heating on as they were not producing a show, it was about minus 5 and I was about to get my kit off, in front of a camera, awkward !!!!!!!

The first part was fun and relaxed, I chatted to the camera, on the actual green sofa on the actual set and felt very very relaxed.

In the “Dressing Room” Getting Ready for the second part of the audition.

The second part, was showing off the issues I had and in fairness the crew made that quite relaxed too.

Now it was a case of submitting the tapes to Channel 4 and waiting.

Pretty soon the call came that C4 had accepted me and I was given the details of who would become my surgeon.

A few weeks later I was off to “The Spire Murrayfield, Wirral”  hospital to meet the most amazing Surgeon ever, Mr Ali Juma

Clue Number 2, Me at the hospital

Not long after meeting Mr Juma, it was confirmed what work he could carry out and that the hospital too, were also happy to allow this, it was then time for me to head back to Birmingham to meet the “Tv Doctor”.

The third and final clue was this

A clue you wouldn’t get until after the TV Show airs, for that was the shirt I was wearing.

Filming and the Doc

Filming at the EB Clinic  was a LONG and SLOW process but at no point did it feel like a drag or a pain, I was loving every second of it to be honest, the crew were a great laugh and the doctor, Dr Pixie , was also a pleasure to work with.

Gaz & Dr Pixie, “I’d Have My Coat On Too, If I were In a Dressing Gown”

The next bit of filming was done with the Surgeon, Mr Juma was fun both on and off camera and always retained the Patient-Dr manner, reminding me that the cameras didn’t matter, only my welfair did.

There was then a little more filming of the “Back Story”, this is where I got to get filmed cycling, how cool is that? (But im guessing, you’ve seen that on tv by now)

and also playing with my kids in the park and taking my fat friend with me.

My fat friend and me, the camera crew and a park, dodging the rain, welcome to Manchester

That filming was done 4 days before the surgery, on a busy Saturday afternoon in the park, it was amazing how many people stopped and watched or asked questions.

To be continued, This is part 1 of 4…..There’s a lot more to come. ….!





Want To Lose Weight For The New Year ?

2 01 2013

Well, We are here to help. We ???

Yup

Gary Brennan , Me and My Fat Friend

See “We” Know a thing or 2 about the subject and we figured that for the new year, there might be some people out there searching for weight loss tips

1: The most simple tip to lose weight EVER is “Eat less and move more” – Common sense I know but it’s what every single weight loss plan is based on, TRUST ME !

2: Control the AMOUNT you eat at each meal time – make sure your meals are low in fat. This is not set in stone for instance you might want to also think about calories or portion control.

3: Get weighed – Measure your body, hips, thighs  chest, arms, neck……what can be measured can be managed. Always weigh-in on the same day in the same clothes on the same scales at the same time of day.

There is no point starting on a weight loss plan unless you get weighed first. This is very important. You need to be able to monitor your progress to know how well you are doing and that any changes in your lifestyle and eating are reaping the rewards or where you are making mistakes.

4 Keep a food diary – write down what you eat and what exercise you have done. Make sure you look at Calories n vs Calories out and try to ensure that Calories out is MORE than Calories in – If it helps you write down your feelings.

5.Smarter Shopping The golden rule here is to NEVER EVER  go food shopping hungry. You make the decision to eat biscuits and crap food’s when you buy them in the shops, not when you take them from the cupboard. Don’t buy them in the first place.

6, Make a Goal list – write down achievable goals.
*New for 2013* 7. Know your trigger foods, If you know you are likely to gorge on salty snacks or chocolate, keep tempting treats out of reach.
.
*New for 2013*8. Find a food replacement,Exercise, read a book, or ride a bike rather than snacking. Learn to listen to your body’s clues about hunger versus boredom, for example. Exercising 30 minutes a day, four to five times a week, is recommended. “When eliminating or reducing certain foods from your diet, pick one or two to start,”
.
*New for 2013* 9. Reward yourself ,When you achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself, splurge on a pair of shoes or some other non-food treat. While dieting may feel like a slow process, it’s a lifestyle change. “Doing it slowly will help you stick with it and make you feel like you’re not giving up everything all at once,”
.
*New for 2013* 10. Sign up for a ride with #Teamgaz, Im looking at doing one organised ride a month, for all ablilitys, not ready for that yet ? then just follown #teamgaz on twitter @39stonecyclist and keep up with the ethos of healthy living and a positive mental attitude and you’ll soon be riding in a group of other #teamgaz members
.

If my first ever goal, at 39 stone, was to ride to Blackpool in 3 hours and 10 mins, I would have failed on my journey VERY early on, so my goals were simple ones like tie my shoes, shop in regular stores, as the express train that is the 39 stone cyclist picked up speed and rumbled on, the goals got bigger, harder and more focused, to the point where I can now average 20mph on the bike, I can do “Joel Lane” and not only do I shop at regular stores, I even tie my shoes in them while shopping in the bargain basement section and stuff FITS

:0)

Good luck with your own journey in 2013, may it be a happy, healthy and successful one

Gaz

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 gaz in radioshack kit

no cycling, no fat

Towards the end of 2012, still on a successful road








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