‘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

Friday - - Front Page -

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

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