Would-be soldier who lost 10 stone to join the army is now too ashamed to enlist because of his rolls of saggy skin
Anthony Caulton shed almost 10 stone after embarking on a military-style fitness regime to fulfill his dream of joining the armyThe 18-year-old's rapid weight loss has left him with rolls of excess flesh around his stomach
Despite achieving his goal weight, the teenager refuses to enlist because he would be too 'mortified' to take his top off in front of fellow soldiersHis hopes of getting the rolls removed have been quashed after NHS deemed the cosmetic surgery 'non-essential'
11:16 GMT, 25 October 2012
11:18 GMT, 25 October 2012
A teenage boy who lost almost ten stone to fulfill his dream of joining the army has been left too ashamed to enlist, after his crash diet left him with rolls of saggy skin.
Would-be soldier Anthony Caulton, 18 – who once gorged on 100 packets of Doritos every week – embarked on a military-style fitness regime which saw his weight plummet from 21 stone to 11 and a half stone in just 10 months.
But the teenager's drastic weight-loss happened so quickly it left him with folds of excess skin around his stomach – and his hopes of having the rolls removed have been quashed after the NHS deemed the surgery 'non-essential'.
Military regime: Anthony Coulton, who weighed 21 stone at his heaviest (right), has lost almost 10 stone (left) to fulfill his dream of joining the army – but says his rolls of saggy skin have left him too embarassed to enlist
While sacrificing crisps and sweets has left Anthony's weight well below the cut-off point for enlisting in the army, he has refused to join the forces because he would be too embarassed to take his top off or do press-ups in front of his fellow soldiers.
'I feel nothing but hatred towards the NHS,' said Anthony, from Preston.
'I didn’t ask for a gastric band or anything like that to get a better life – the fact is I did it all on my own through keep fit and eating properly.
'What I don’t understand why women who have flat chests can receive implants off the NHS – yet I can’t have my saggy skin removed because it is non-essential,' the former Preston College student said.
Spare flesh: Anthony says the rolls of excess skin left after his rapid weight loss are making him depressed
Unemployed Mr Coulton, who said he can't afford to pay 6,000 to have the surgery privately, said he is psychologically affected by his rolls of saggy skin, and that getting rid of them would 'change my whole life'.
'No matter how much I train, nothing can get rid of this extra skin around my waist, so removing it surgically is my only option.
'The only way I can live my life to the full and forge a good career for myself in the army is having it removed. It would cost 6,000 to get it done privately, but I don’t have that kind of money.
'I can feel the saggy skin jiggle when I’m running – so I couldn’t imagine getting down to the ground to do press up in front of the guys. I wouldn’t even be able to go swimming as part of the training.
'I just want to feel normal – I’m not asking for the world. I have never asked for any help until now – I lost all the weight on my own by getting on the treadmill.
'But I now feel more miserable now than I did when I was fat because this excess skin is stopping me from what I want to do in life – it is making me so depressed.'
'I would gorge on everything and anything': Anthony, pictured holding his little brother Tom, once ate up to 100 packets of Doritos or Frazzles every week
It was depression brought on by his parents divorce that saw Anthony start to pile on the pounds at the age of 14.
'I would gorge on everything and anything, but Doritos and Frazzles crisps were my favourite – I'd eat around a hundred packets a week.
'Crisps were my favourite – I'd eat around a hundred packets a week'
'And I’d drink a two litres bottle of coke a day – I’d have it by my bed so it was the first thing I tasted in the morning – I was so bad.'
The teenager would spend all of his money on junk food and obsess about what he was going to eat next, but managed to keep his addiction hidden from those closest to him.
'I would stash all the junk in my bedroom and I wouldn’t eat anywhere else,' he said.
'I would eat beans and toast for breakfast every morning and then I’d go without food all day at school so people wouldn’t see me eat.
'I would get called all the fat jibes thrown to me at school, but I didn’t care, I just hated my life and food was my comfort.
'I remember I was 16 when the scales in my bathroom couldn’t even read my weight because I was so heavy – the dial kept going round and round. That was when I was 21 stone – I was only 16.'
'Miserable': Anthony has said he can't afford to pay thousands to have the excess skin surgically removed privately
The turning point came in May last
year when Anthony came across a shoebox full of photographs and medals
from his days of playing for a junior football team.
remember putting one of the medals round my neck and felt a buzz of
happiness – it realised it had been the only in my life when I’d felt
proud of myself and I wanted to get that feeling back,' Anthony said.
'I had always wanted to join the army but was told I needed to get down to 12 and a half stone.
dad would joke and say I would be on my death bed before I’d decided to
do it – and it would be too late. It was at that moment I decided to
turn my life around and lose the weight.'
Anthony enrolled at a gym in Preston
the next day and devised his very own fitness plan which he followed
religiously, building up from walking to interval training then
'It was tough, especially the mentality needed to do it, but I was so determined,' he said.
'After a month I’d lost a stone and the weight started falling off me.
felt really positive and like my life was going in a new direction. I
still felt massive, but every day I trained and every pound I lost meant
I was one step closer to my dream career.'
Determined: Anthony devised his own military-style fitness regime and stuck to it religiously
'Mortified': The Preston teenager says he would be too embarassed to take his top off or do press-ups in front of other soldiers
By February, Anthony was a stone under the army’s goal weight for entry – and his application could go through.
delighted teenager contacted his doctor to seek advice on getting rid
of his folds of loose skin, but despite being referred to specialists
for a consultation he was told he could not have the operation due to
The NHS will not pay for body contouring for cosmetic reasons alone.
'I could go into the army with it but I could never feel comfortable,' said Anthony.
'I am confident in my fitness and mental ability but I have absolutely no body confidence because of it.
'I dream of going to Afghanistan one day but I could never ever take my top off in the heat – I’d be mortified.'
Jim Gardner, NHS Central Lancashire medical director, said: 'The
primary care trust has a policy in place to help make clear and rational
decisions in difficult cases such as this.
'Cases are considered carefully by a panel of experts and there is always an appeals process available.' he added.