Paul Mason 644 Pounds: How Did 'World's Fattest Man' Get To This Point? [VIDEO]

By Jason Van Hoven on February 8, 2013 11:12 AM EST

Paul Mason, formerly called "the world's fattest man," lost 644 pounds following gastric bypass surgery in 2010 after weighing an astonishing 980 pounds just before going under the knife, according to reports.

Yahoo Health reports, though, that the 52-year-old Mason, an Ipswich, England native, actually lost 70 pounds before he received gastric bypass and lost 644 pounds, which means he weighed his heaviest at a whopping 1,050 pounds just before the surgery. However, the media still dubbed him "the world's fattest man" - a title that previously belonged to Manuel Uribe of Mexico - at 980.

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Now, Mason weighs 336 pounds - still technically obese - and is managing his food intake that used to be compulsive.

"My meals are a lot different now than they used to be," Mason told the New York Times. "Food is a necessity, but now I don't let it control my life anymore."

Mason's weight issues can be stemmed from a childhood that was marked by verbal and physical abuse from his father, a military policeman turned security guard, and sexual abuse, starting when he was just six, by a female relative in her 20s who lived in his house and shared his bed.

After Mason left school, he became a postal worker for Britain's Royal Mail and became engaged to a woman more than 20 years his senior. Then, his fiancée abruptly left him without reason.

"I thought it would be for life, but she just turned around one day and said, 'No, I don't want to see you anymore...goodbye,'" he said.

Things got worse when Mason's father died and he was forced to care for his arthritic mother, who was in a wheelchair.

"I still had all these things going around in my head from my childhood," he said. "Food replaced the love I didn't get from my parents."

When he left the Royal Mail in 1986, Mason said that he weighed 364 pounds.

That's what eating turned into chaos - about 20,000 calories a day to be exact.

Mason spending every cent of his own money and his mother's social security checks on food, so he stopped paying the mortgage. His family's house was repossessed, and they moved into a smaller place.

Mason ate so much that he could no longer get out of his room willingly. As a result, he stayed in bed, on and off, for most of the last decade.

Throughout, social service workers did everything for him, including changing his incontinence pads. Local convenience stores and fast-food restaurants showered him with burgers, french fries, fish and chips, and chocolate, enabling Mason to consume nonstop.  

At his heaviest, Mason reportedly needed seven caregivers, working in three shifts around the clock, to cook his meals, change his pads, and turn him over every three hours to prevent bedsores, according to ABC News.

Mason just spent his days eating and sleeping.

"You'd be awake most of the night eating and snacking," he said. "You totally forgot about everything else. You lose all your dignity, all your self-respect. It all goes, and all you focus on is getting your next fix."

In 2002, Mason needed a hernia operation, so the fire department had to break down the front wall of his home and load him into an ambulance with a forklift. At that time, he weighed 784 pounds.

Sometime after the hernia operation, Mason's mother died, and he considered suicide. Then, the turning point came in 2010 when Britain's National Health Service finally authorized his gastric bypass surgery, after turning him down three times.

The surgery shrank the size of Mason's stomach to about the size of an egg, which led to the rapid weight loss of 644 pounds.

Still, Mason's biggest problem remains his 100 pounds of excess skin, which chafes and tears and prevents him from exercising all that much in order to reach his ideal weight of 210 pounds. Although he's able to stand, he often needs to use an electric wheelchair to get around. Therefore, he wants another surgery to get rid of it.

"I feel like I'm still trapped, with the excess skin," Mason said. "It's horrendous."

The NHS has reportedly spent more than $1.5 million on Mason's medical care but hasn't authorized the complex skin operation, known as an apronectomy, which would cost about $47,000 if done privately. He's been told that he must wait until his weight has been stable for at least two years to validate that he's a good candidate for the operation.

As Mason awaits word of the apronectomy, he has ambitions of launching a jewelry business, learning to drive, going on a vacation, and, yes, finding a girlfriend.

Nowadays, Mason eats meals that include such toast for breakfast and a baked potato for lunch. He also sees a therapist twice a week.

"I do look back and think I should have got to grips with myself earlier," he told the Times. "But I think I can use what I've gone through as a tool to help other people."

Mason said that once he's more mobile, he wants to talk to kids at schools and hold support groups for people grappling with food addiction.

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