A teenager who shed almost 10 stones in weight has revealed he is more miserable now than when he was fat because of his loose excess skin.
Anthony Caulton, 18, of Oakworth Avenue, Ribbleton, Preston, plummeted from 21 stones to 11 stones 7lbs in just 10 months after kicking out junk food and embarking on a strict gym regime.
However, he says that the dramatic weight loss has left him with folds of excess skin and he has been left demoralised after NHS chiefs turned him down for surgery to remove it saying he “does not meet the criteria”.
Anthony, who wanted to lose weight so he could join the army, says he is now so embarrassed by his body that he feels he cannot join the army as he would be too ashamed to take his top off.
And he has admitted that the excess skin is making him so unhappy, he is beginning to turn to junk food again as a source of comfort and is worried he will undo all his hard work by piling the pounds on again.
Anthony today said: “The excess skin is so horrible to live with and it is making me so depressed.
“I feel more miserable now than when I was fat.
“I lost all that weight through my own hard work and I did it because I wanted a better life.
“When I set out to lose weight, I did it because I wanted a good body, wanted to have a nice relationship and wanted to join the army.
“But even though I have lost nearly 10 stones, I have none of these things.”
Anthony says he lost weight without eating a single piece of fruit or vegetable after discovering some old photographs of himself as a youngster before he became so big.
He was motivated to do something about his weight after remembering a time when he was physically active and full of hope.
Anthony, a former Corpus Christi pupil, said: “I used to love playing football and used to play for Deepdale Juniors.
“I had always been quite big, but after I stopped playing football, the weight piled on.
“Then when I got to about 14, it spiralled out of control and I got bigger and bigger as I kept eating junk food.
“Then last year, I was tidying some things in the spare room when I came across an old shoe box with some of my old football medals in.
“I put one of the medals round my neck and it brought back all the feelings of pride and motivation.
“I decided then that I needed to turn my life around and lose the weight.
“I also wanted to join the army but was told I needed to get down to 12-and-a-half stones.
“I went one stone better by getting to 11-and-a-half stones.
“I did it by going to the gym every day and cutting out the junk food.
“I ate healthier food, but didn’t eat and fruit or vegetables as it was not something I was brought up with, so I didn’t fancy it.
“But what was the point of all the hard work if I now feel so unhappy because of the excess skin?
“Even though I am the right weight now, I feel I couldn’t possibly join the army as I would be too embarrassed to take my top off.
“I feel so depressed about the whole thing that I have started eating junk food again as food seems to be the only source of comfort I can rely on.”
Anthony went to see his GP and asked to be referred for surgery to remove the excess skin.
His doctor was reluctant so after seeing a number of GPs, Anthony was finally referred - only to receive a letter from the primary care trust telling him he had been turned down.
The cosmetic surgery for body contouring policy states that the NHS will not pay for surgery for cosmetic reasons alone.
When it comes to carrying out a tummy tuck, the policy states: “This procedure will be funded only where the abdominal apron is profound and accompanied by functional problems such as intractable intertrigo that is resistant to all other forms of treatment or difficulty walking due to length of panniculus.”
Dr Jim Gardner, NHS Central Lancashire medical director, said: “The primary care trust has a policy in place to help make clear and rational decisions in difficult cases such as this.
“Cases are considered carefully by a panel of experts and there is always an appeals process available.”