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I'VE LOST 38 STONE; Former fast food junkie battles bulge.

Byline: By NEIL COTTER

A MAN who was unable to leave his bedroom due to his size was celebrating yesterday after shedding 38 stone.

Tipping the scales at a massive 76 stones just a year ago, Patrick Deuel can now feel his ribs for the first time in 25 years.

The 43-year-old American couldn't leave his bedroom for seven months and needed a steady flow of oxygen to stay alive.

But now, while still an astonishing 38 stone, Patrick can even get out for a walk.

He said: "I'm used to looking in the mirror and seeing the Michelin man - now all of a sudden I look like a human being."

Last June, married Patrick, from Nebraska, was pictured sprawled on his belly, incapable of moving and on death's door. He then went under the knife for life-saving gastric bypass surgery and has seen the weight fall off.

Despite having been just six stone in playschool, Patrick defied all logic and piled on the weight. By the age of 13, he was 19 stone.

Neither of his parents are fat and his nutritionist mum Betty prepared only the healthiest of meals for her son but could only watch in horror as he ballooned.

His weight was off the charts - before he could walk or talk Patrick was morbidly obese and struggling with ailments no child should have.

Eventually he gave up trying to be normal and gorged on a diet of pizza, beef jerky, chips and chilli dogs.

He developed heart trouble and diabetes and, between 1997 and 2004, ventured outdoors on only a handful of occasions.

Following the operation, the man from Valentine has fallen in love with life again.

The operation reduced his stomach size, meaning he can only eat a fraction of what he used to.

He still smokes 20 cigarettes a day and about twice a month indulges in mounds of chocolate, ice cream and nachos.

He said: "I look in the mirror now and say, 'Ooh, where did he come from?' Life is infinitely better.

"If I can lose weight anybody can - and I mean anybody. My willpower is basically zero."

Using two walkers, he takes a walk a day under the watchful eye of admiring wife Edie. It's still a battle, though.

He is hoping to shed more weight and then turn his attention to the touring circuit, where he plans to give motivational speeches.

But before that, Patrick will have his panniculus removed, an apron-like layer of fat around his abdomen.

CAPTION(S):

WEIGH TO GO: Patrick Deuel and wife Eddie; OUTSIDE: Walk in February, above BIG ISSUE: Patrick's weight-loss, left
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:438
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