‘I lost 35kg on the hypnotism diet’
Years of commuting between Dubai and the UK left David Christopher with an addition to junk food and stress-related psoriasis but he has turned his life around
T he loud ring of the telephone – the wake-up call I’d requested – roused me from my sleep. I rubbed my eyes and stumbled out of bed to get ready for a series of meetings. But in the bathroom, I paused in front of the mirror. Resting my hands on the washbasin I stared at myself. And the sight wasn’t pretty. My weight had been creeping up, mainly because I had been having a lot of fast food over the past four to five years and now, at 5 foot 10 inches (1.78m), I was 135kg – the heaviest I’d ever been. Even worse, I had recently developed psoriasis, a debilitating skin condition that started off as a few small red patches on my legs, but was now covering virtually my entire body.
“What’s happening to you?” I asked myself. My face was puffy and my skin patchy and flaking.
Staring at my reflection, panic pulsed through me. I was losing control of my life. It was all work, and travel, but my body – and happiness – was suffering. I was too busy to schedule a visit to the doctor so suffered in silence for a long time.
As the CEO of a multinational company, I was constantly on the go, splitting my life between Dubai, the UK and Spain. I was hardly ever at home and missed my wife, Elizabeth, 38, and kids Eliott, 13, and Scarlet, seven. But I believed that working hard to give my family security was still the most important thing I could do. For years I managed to keep a lid on my stress. But when I hit 40 three years ago my lifestyle began to catch up with me.
Because I was moving between countries, often living out of hotels, it felt like I had very little control over my health. I was too busy and honestly did not even have the time to think about it. My eating habits were chaotic when I was away from home. It was either fast food like burgers and fries or pizzas at the airport, which I ate on the go, washing them down with soda in the hope of boosting my energy levels, or rich food in restaurants at the hotels I was staying in. In fact it was only when I went home that I actually ate a balanced diet and my wife was becoming increasingly concerned every time she saw me. “You need to take better care of your health,”
I’d somehow got lost. The weight gain was annoying but the psoriases was destroyingmy self-esteem
she would often tell me. She also used to encourage me to take up a sport or join a gym to keep my weight in check, but I used to tell her that I was too busy, and that was the truth.
N ow I hated what I sawin the mirror – a fat man with red, scaly skin. It just didn’t look like me. I’d somehow got lost. The weight gain was annoying and upsetting but the psoriasis was truly changing me. Before I’d been confident. But now the patches of raw, itchy skin – called plaques – were destroying my self-esteem. I was covered in them – my hands, my face, almost every part of my body was affected – and I felt self-conscious when I spoke to clients and colleagues. Some unkind people actually made me feel worse, asking, “It’s not catching, is it?”.
My family was very supportive and understood I felt self-conscious. But they didn’t know how to help me apart from my wife pleading with me to find time and see a doctor.
Finally, two years ago, I did see a doctor when my psoriasis became worse, but his reply was worrying. “There’s no known cure,” he said.
I was left reeling. All they could offer me were steroid creams, which helped to alleviate the symptoms, but
My previously severe psoriasis has now virtually gone