Mikey Robins provides an amazingly candid insight into what it is like to be over weight and how it affected his thoughts and activities on a daily basis. It is certainly worth while viewing his story on Australian Story. The turning point was when unfortunately Mikey lost his father at the age of 10. Emotional eating begun and his weight continued to increase, combined with minimal exercise. Mikey’s quality of life has exponentially increased since losing weight post Lap Band Surgery, as he is now participating in a greater degree. I would highly recommend that you listen to the Australian Story. Very motivating
A summary of his story is detailed below.
I’ve been battling with my weight ever since I could remember. My father died when I was a child, and I remember that it was from that point on that I started to overeat. I gave up sports. Without my father there, I stopped playing football as much and then eventually just stopped. I also remember my mother even sending me to Weight Watchers at the age of ten. Oh look, it was done with all the best intentions in the world, you know, to try to deal with a child’s obesity. So, yeah, my weight has been an ongoing issue.
Now that I’m older, I understand the serious health implications associated with excess weight. Honestly, with the help of my wife, Laura, I have tried every diet that is out there, including the “get diagnosed with an ulcer diet”. These traditional diets, however, didn’t work for me. I always felt hungry. Laura will tell you that I’ve been on all sorts of diets in the past. I would weigh around 130–140 kg, would lose about 20 kg, and then I would put it back on again. So, it was just this terrible seesaw for me.
Working in the entertainment industry is very difficult in regards to travelling, and there is poor availability of good food. Not only this, but success brings with it an opportunity to indulge—as I became more able to afford good food, the experience of eating good food became everything for me, and I eventually became that 152-kg man.
To be honest, I just never had a sense of feeling full. The stop button just wasn’t there, and I found myself never being able to put my fork down. As a comedian, I have always used my obesity as a frequent source of comedy in my performances. I can tell you now, the whole happy fat guy thing is a lie. You’re not happy. I was never happy. I mean, I was happy; I had moments of happiness, but I was never happy about my weight. No, fat and jolly, no.
When I heard about this surgery, I knew I needed it. Not only was I overweight, but I also suffered from high cholesterol, abnormal liver function, and had borderline Type 2 diabetes. I even found it hard to move around to complete my normal day-to-day activities. Then, in 2003, I was diagnosed with extreme sleep apnoea. I would stop breathing at least seventy times per hour in my sleep and this was due, in large part, to my weight.
My doctor said: “If I sent you to the top of Mount Everest, your saturation would be 60 percent, so, you know, you’re a guy who’s climbing Everest sixty times an hour”. I guess that really put everything into perspective for me, and it was that diagnosis that made me realise that I needed this surgery. Not only that, but I wanted this surgery for Laura. She is my family. And, you can’t just put someone you love so much through watching you slowly kill yourself.
I didn’t have many concerns before going into surgery. I researched the types of different surgeries available and chose lap band, because I thought it would be the best for me and my current lifestyle. Laura also liked the idea, because the surgery was irreversible and the band was adjustable.
I’ve heard stories of people who’ve had this procedure and not lost any weight. Liquid calories, anything that melts, will pass through it—milkshakes, ice cream, chocolate. But, for me, I eat like a French woman; I eat small amounts of good quality food. I could eat more but I’ve had enough. I will never, ever, ever be that man again. Ever.
Surgery has changed me. I’ve gone from the guy who always had a massive plate of food in front of him to the one with a small rice bowl. I’ve gone from the last man standing in the pub to a one-pot screamer. These days, I bounce around at between 95 and 105 kg; back then, I was bouncing around at between 135 and 152 kg, and I had serious issues with high cholesterol and sleep apnoea. I sometimes do carry a few extra kilos now and then, depending on what is happening in my life at that point in time, but on the whole, my weight has decreased a lot and now I really enjoy being active.
One of the things I used to hate when I was really big was shaving, because it was the one time of the day where you actually had to look at yourself in the mirror. Basically, I was like this big jowl of skin that started at the cheekbones and just sort of hung down there. I don’t mind looking at myself in the mirror now. When you feel embarrassed about the way you look for thirty years, to even just get to the level where you’re not embarrassed is good. And geez, now I can say—Yeah, I can live with that face, that’s not too bad.
As for the life I have now, as compared to how I’ve lived my life for decades, I suppose the biggest difference is the amount of energy. Life’s so much easier. I mean when you’re big, you have all these little strategies to get through the day, such as, you look at a flight of stairs and think, “Oh, is there a lift around?” Or, you look at a chair and think, “Oh, will that take me?” I mean they’re all small things, but over the process of a day, over a week, over a year, over a decade, there are all these little, little things that add up that make your life just a bit more annoying.
Also, I know it seems shallow to say that when you change the outside, the inside will change—but that’s what has happened to me. I do feel a lot better about myself as well. I’ve lost more than 50 kg—I regret that it’s taken me this long to lose weight. But, you can’t beat yourself up about the past. We’re the sum total of the choices we make in life. I look at my life now, and I’m in a very good place, one of the best places I’ve been in years. It’s definitely one of the best changes I’ve made.