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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
'I have turned my life around'
Colin with his old trousers
Colin's waist used to be much bigger
Colin Ord knows all about the misery obesity can bring - but he has managed to start to shed the pounds.

Colin would start his day with toast covered in thick butter, and follow it up a chocolate bar during break at school.

Sandwiches, more chocolate and biscuits would follow during the day, and then he would eat junk food when he got home in the evenings.

When you are 33 stones nobody wants to know you. I was very, very isolated.
The weekends were even worse: he would regularly gorge on super-sized meals in fast food restaurants packed with more than enough calories to last a whole day.

As a result, by his early teens he weighed 33 stone.

He believes there were a number of factors why his weight spiralled so out of control.

"One of the things was that I didn't really take much activity when I was younger. Computer consoles were available, and I would sit playing on them.

"That was a lot more interesting than going out and trying to play a game that I was never very good at.

"But the two main factors were more food related. First, I was an only child, and my mother did not want to refuse anything.

"But second was the way that food was marketed towards my age group. You would see promotions on the television by fast food restaurants tied in with films, and you would get little toys, etc.

"Children of my age were very interested in that, and I would eat those foods. But I wasn't aware of just how damaging those foods were to my health, and at that time - during the late eighties and early nineties - neither was my mother, it wasn't as big an issue as it is now.

"I just became larger and larger, and it spiralled from there."

At his heaviest, Colin said he had no self-esteem at all.

Colin and friends at the camp
Colin at the weight loss camp
"I would walk down the street, and somebody would scream out a name. I would feel absolutely shattered, as if your whole world was falling apart.

"When you are 33 stones nobody wants to know you. I was very, very isolated.

"You do feel very resentful towards people who do not know you on the inside, and don't realise how much you hurt."

Salvation came for Colin in 2001 when he was put in touch with the Carnegie International Weight Loss Camp run by Leeds Metropolitan University.

He was initially reluctant to sign up, but did go along for three weeks - and had a whale of a time.

"It was a brilliant experience. I was able to play sports which secretly I had wanted to do, and just generally have a good time losing weight by taking part in activities which I had never been able to take part in, and learning about the right foods to eat and the right way to eat them.

"I brought all that information back home, shared it with my mum and dad, and we created a plan for a healthy lifestyle.

"I went back to the camp the following year, and over the course of the two years I have lost eight-and-a-half stones.

Obesity is a symptom of the consumption and convenience-led culture within which we live
Nathan, Birmingham, UK

"It has been an amazing change for me, and my confidence and self-esteem have been boosted exponentially.

"I have still got a lot of weight to lose, but hopefully I will do that in the next year."

Last year Colin was asked back to the camp as a member of staff to share his experiences and knowledge with other young people who have a weight problem.

"I have turned my life around, My eating habits have changed 100% from what they were.

"I don't eat any fast food or chocolates anymore. I stick to more organic foods."

But Colin still has little time for food companies who specifically target their products at young people.

"They are very irresponsible in the way that they market food to young children. They are not making explicit just how damaging this food is.

"When you have got five children who are all screaming for the latest fast food, you can't really refuse them. It is very hard on parents to say no."

The BBC's Vicky Young
"As a 15-year-old, Colin weighed 33 stone"

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