When Paul’s mother died, he couldn’t attend the funeral, because at 980 pounds, it was difficult for him to leave the room of the elderly care facility where he had been staying for the past three years.
Paul, who had earned the title of The Heaviest Man in the World, said he was disgusted with himself and realized that his body would fail within five years if he continued to overeat.
He decided he wanted to his life back and began seeing a therapist to help him deal with the deep-seated issues that triggered his addiction to food. Then, Paul had gastric bypass surgery, and he eventually lost more than 600 pounds.
“It’s more painful to address the issues than it is to have the surgery," he says. "The surgery is only a tool. It’s your mind that you need to change.”
Psychotherapist and addiction specialist Mike Dow explains that many patients with a food addiction have an emotional need they are medicating. He says carbohydrates, such as sugar and flour, release serotonin in the brain, similar to the illegal drug ecstasy, and high-fat foods release dopamine, similar to cocaine.
“If people can address those emotions, then we don’t have to put something in our mouth to get those chemical responses,” he says.
Paul shares how his fiancee has helped him on his journey and says his next step is having plastic surgery to remove the more than 100 pounds of excess skin that hangs off his body.
For more information and to donate to help with Paul's medical expenses, visit his YouCaring page.