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Heavyweight loses half his weight

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Post time: 2009-04-28 13:46:06
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By He Na (China Daily)

Changchun -- Yang Chang stands 1.7m tall - and tips the scales at 120kg.

That puts him in the very, very obese category but the 34-year-old Beijing native is still very, very happy.

That's because only last year, Yang weighed in at 240 kg - and was dubbed the Fattest Man in China.

That was the time, Yang recalled, he had to enter even broad doorways sideways; and took up three seats in a bus.

"When I took taxis, the drivers always made fun of me and said I was tilting the balance of the car," Yang said.

Because of his condition, he lost his job as a mechanic at a steel company last year, and had to subsist on the minimum living allowance granted by the local government.

His 2-m waistline was greeted with curiosity and amazement wherever he went. People pointed to him and sniggered behind his back.

Possibly born with an obesity gene, Yang said he easily outgrew his classmates at elementary school; he weighed 170 kg when he graduated from a technical school in 1997.

The following year proved to be tragic: His mother died, and his girlfriend dumped him and went abroad.

Reeling under the double blow, Yang found solace in eating more and confined himself completely to his room for months.

"I could easily wolf down half a kg of rice and 1.5 kg meat at a time."

His weight started soaring, and peaked at 240 kg, making him the fattest man in China.

"I hadn't noticed the change until one day I suddenly found that I couldn't put my leg in my trousers."

He tried many ways to lose weight; but soon after he shed a few kilograms he would then put it back on again.

He even adopted desperate measures.

"Somebody told me that staying up late at night could help lose weight, so I kept doing that for 10 days. Finally, my friends took me to hospital."

He was at his wits' end when last November, he entered a national competition for "charming fat people", where one of the prizes was free treatment at Changchun Kangda Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital.

He hasn't been the same since.

"We worked out a special treatment plan combining acupuncture with 'fire treatment'," said Yu Shuzhong, a doctor who explained the process

"We place a wet towel sprinkled with fat-reducing herbs on the belly. Then the herb is burnt, which produces heat and spreads into Yang's skin through the towel, helping reduce fat little by little.

"Meanwhile, we forced him to go to bed and wake up early everyday. We controlled his diet, devised a nutrition menu and cut his food intake to the amount eaten by normal people, and gradually increased his exercise," Yu said.

"Yang is a determined man. Our treatment wouldn't have been such a big success without his collaboration," Yu said.

Symptoms which usually accompany obesity, such as angina, high blood sugar and fatty liver have also eased greatly, and Yang's organs are functioning normally, the doctor aid.

"Losing weight is a painful and boring task, I almost gave up when I spent the Spring Festival alone in the hospital this year. But after a rethink, I decided to stick to the end," Yang said.

Now that he has almost succeeded, Yang has raised the bar. "I plan to continue the treatment for another six months to cut my weight to 90 kg," he said.

Yu said the goal is realistic and practical, and could even be 70 kg.

To share his experience and help provide hope to more people like him, Yang set up a QQ chat group and made many friends.

During his long and lonely struggle, Yang said one piece of news brought him great cheer.

Mexican Manuel Uribe, listed the world's fattest man in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records, got married last month after shedding 230 kg from the original 590 kg.

"I hope I am as lucky as him and find my love," Yang said.

China's overweight population has reportedly doubled in the past 11 years, and stands at 325 million this year.
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