“I didn’t like myself”

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Per-Åke Persson is a trained chef and works as a head chef. This is both a salvation and a curse – on the one hand, he knows exactly how to prepare nutritious food, but on the other he is surrounded by unlimited quantities of tasty treats all day long.

Per-Åke Persson. Foto: Christian Andersson“Food is a big part of my life. I know exactly how to create a good meal. The problem is discipline. Tasty sandwiches are a particular temptation of mine.”

He slowly started gaining weight already during his childhood, when his mother prepared a lot of tasty food. When he started working, his weight gain continued. Per-Åke’s weight has gone up and down throughout his entire adult life, a few kilos down and a further few up. In the end he weighed over 120 kg.

“I didn’t like myself when I was fat. I felt that people looked down on me when I was on the beach and that hurt me. But I denied that I had a problem with my weight, bought bigger clothes and stopped looking in the mirror. It was horrible. I have always thought it was wrong to be fat. It is hard to move about, you have pain everywhere, aching knees and you get other diseases.”

A female colleague, who was also struggling with excess weight, succeeded in losing a lot of weight with the help of Weight Watchers. Her success spurred on Per-Åke, who came along to a meeting with her. The encouraging atmosphere where you receive praise from the group and a personal coach, in combination with strong motivation, was a recipe for success. He now tips the scales at about 78 kg.

“Quite simply, I was determined that it would work. And it did. Now I’ve plucked up some courage. It is really fun to buy clothes and I’m happy with my body again.”

Text: Annika Lund, first published in the magazine Medical Science 2015.