A man who subsisted on a diet of sweet tea and was as heavy as a 12-year-old boy has changed his lifestyle after appearing on a hit Channel 4 programme.
Borehamwood man Mick Wickes, 57, will feature in an episode of Supersize vs Superskinny on Thursday, in which he swaps his meagre diet for that of 22 stone 3lb takeaway addict Charlene Shattock.
Mr Wickes, who works as a caretaker at Allum Hall, weighed just eight stone before the show but signed up hoping it would give him the advice and support he needed to change his diet.
He said: “For years I have been eating one tiny meal a day and 25 cups of tea a day, each with five sugars.
“I have tried to gain weight, eating a lot of pasta and high carb foods but nothing seemed to work, I even lost weight.
“I weighed eight-and-a-half stone when I was 12 years old and weighed eight stone when I started the show. I could buy my clothes from the children’s section of shops, which was a little embarrassing.
“People kept asking me if I was well and being gentle with me because they didn’t think I was strong enough, even though I have more than enough energy to do my job.”
The programme was filmed over the summer, and Mr Wickes, who has appeared in a version of Frankenstein, said it had been a very enjoyable experience.
He said: “I couldn’t believe how much food some of the people who appeared on the show ate. The woman I was paired with ate a huge takeaway meal, more than I would eat in a day, every hour.
“Everyone on the show, no matter supersize or superskinny, was lovely though, you couldn’t hope to meet a nicer group of people.”
The “eye-opener” for him was when host Dr Christian Jessen made him confront a 40litre vat of teabags and a massive glass container of sugar, which was the equivalent of the sugary tea he drank in a year.
“I hadn’t realised I drank so much tea, it really made me think. He also said sugar had been suppressing my appetite.”
Mr Wickes, who is a well known figure around Borehamwood, said he had cut down his daily tea intake to ten cups, each with three sugars, and was trying to eat breakfast and lunch.
He said: “I found it very helpful indeed as they showed me food that actually helped me gain weight, including fish. It was a wonderful experience and I’ve put on half a stone.”