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  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,, 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.



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.


So, NHS, Government, Mr Hunt, Or any Private Healthcare Provider, if you REALLY want to stop this ticking time bomb, I’m available on , 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.

Do the same with the Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health at

And Andy Burnham the Shadow Secretary of State for Health at

Also you can find your own MP’s email address here: 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,







12 responses

20 01 2013

Gary – unfortunately this isn’t the way to do it. As much as I admire you for losing the weight you did I have been an avid reader of your blog.
I don’t recall you EVER mentioning your wife or kids until this last 6 months or so – where your blog turned into some kind of begging letter.

I honestly thought it had been hijacked by a fraudster as it was so pathetic.

Also – after following YOUR journey the only person YOU were interested in was YOURSELF. You could have done so much more to help other people in a similar situation.

What you have done is very commendable – but why haven’t YOU attempted to help anyone – seeing that you work for the bloody council you seriously can’t expect the big wigs to do anything!

Get support from the Doctors on EMBARRASSING FAT BODIES and your surgeon – then people may take note!

20 01 2013

Who have you helped? From the blog I have read it is Morbidly Obese, lazy, selfish father & husband. Loses weight, blogs and boasts about it. Doesn’t mention his wife or kids, lies about his age – On TV they said you were 35 – you always made out you were younger, has helped no other fatties.

Then starts BEGGING for money in an illiterate way.

Tell us WHO you have helped…

22 01 2013

The road to redemption is one that I may need to travel up on

However I refute the majority of your claims.

22 01 2013
mike waller

what utter rubbish, ed you are a key board nija, go away your comments are not true or welcome here for those that enjoy and are given hope.

gaz keep up the good work!

22 01 2013

If just seeing someone lose weight, would stop overs putting on weight we would have solve it all by now, since there are many many more of these stories going back a long time now.

Certainly there needs to be more, I agree really with op.

28 01 2013

Ed you really do come across quite unpleasantly in your post.

I’m not going to address your attacks about Gaz’s relationship and kids except to say you’re obviously fortunate enough not to have had your life thrown into disarray by such an occurence or to have any friends who have had to suffer through the same. I sincerely hope you never do, it’s not nice. It’s hardly surprising that the situation would make an appearance on the blog considering how central it must have suddenly become to Gaz’s life. Either that or you know him and have a personal reason to have a pop.

I will however answer your last question. Gaz has helped me.

He has done this in two ways:

Personally I found his blog partway through my weight loss journey. He has helped me by inspiring me to carry on pushing that bit harder with my cycling, to go further and faster and continue losing weight by taking the time to show that it can be done and proving that it is possible by investing his time and energy in keeping this blog regularly updated and telling his story regardless of personal embarassment or privacy. It’s not easy to put this sort of stuff in the public domain and when you do you just have to override any self consciousness and go for it. You see selfishness and boastfulness, it is also easy to argue the opposite.

He has also helped a growing number of my friends and family who have come to me asking for advice or help about cycling after seeing the amount of weight I have lost so far. In addition to helping them in whatever way I can with advice or practical help I have shown them Gaz’s blog, without exception they have been blown away by his achievement and inspired themselves. Knowing what Gaz has been able to achieve has straight away put them in the mindset that they can do it too if they just do it at their own pace and stick at it. Some of these guys are seriously heavy MCC members who’ve been riding motorbikes instead of pushbikes for 10-15+ years! Just knowing that it is possible at all at their sort of weight is a massive boost to them and has helped persuade and motivate them to trade horsepower for pedal power on the work run!

I agree wholeheartedly with Gaz that mental health is a major contributor to ongoing obesity especially the negative spiral that excess weight can cause which results in a belief that there is nothing that can be done about it and fuels a despondent attitude with a knock on effect on all areas of life and also the rise in numbers of people seeking out and being referred for weight loss surgery when other healthier options are available. While I’m sure that Gaz’s solution is not the right one for everyone I am certain that for a lot of people it is an avenue worth pursuing. The ongoing health benefits to people who do take it up and stick with it, along with the potential for a knock on reduction in NHS expenditure over the course of their lives make it something worth looking into.

I’ll be forwarding this to my local MP, the Minister for Public Health Anna Soubry, when I get home tonight.

28 01 2013

Thanks rich

I’m sure I know who ed is

And I wouldn’t worry about “them”

As for sending this to your pm, well thank you, the program on c4 tonight showed weight watchers isn’t the answer and the NHS are paying them millions, I’d cost much less

31 01 2013

Are you Gary’s ex?

20 01 2013
Matthew Cravitz

Hi Gaz,
Have cheerfully forwarded your letter to my MP, who happens to be Eric Pickles AKA Fat Eric. Who know, maybe he’ll take heed and become thin Eric.
All the Best,
Matthew (fat but becoming thinner)

20 01 2013

Thanks mat

Much appreciated :0)

10 02 2013
Kenneth McCoy

Ed…I don’t know you or what your (obvious) mental problems are, but your attack on Gaz is what’s pathetic. If you’re not seeking treatment for your mental problems, you should seriously consider it.

Who has Gaz helped? I started reading Gaz’s blog (amonst others) when my weight was in the obese area. Motivation gleaned from Gaz’s posts has inspired me to drop enough weight to run three marathons so far. There are probably thousands of people who have read and been inspired by Gaz’s posts!

Tell me Ed…who have you inspired lately in a positive fashion? Yeah, that’s what I thought mate.

26 02 2013


I have a question about your blog, could you please email me? Thanks!!


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