Obese man sheds 5 stone after coming out as gay
Ben Gunns says the stress of hiding his sexuality caused him to find comfort in fast food and alcohol.
As a teenager, Mr Gunns says his struggle with his sexuality led him into an unhealthy spiral of depression, binge eating and drinking.
By the age of 20, he weighed over 20 stone and was almost morbidly obese.
Mr Gunns told The Daily Mirror that the reason he sought solace in food and alcohol was because he could not face up to the fact he was gay.
“I was living a lie and trying so hard to cover up my sexuality,” he said. “I felt so ashamed of being gay.
“I was comfort eating and drinking to excess every weekend to blot out those feelings.
“I was always a bit chubby growing up but it was during sixth form, when I really felt the pressure to get a girlfriend, that my weight got out of control” he explained.
“Then it became a vicious cycle. I was unhappy with the way I looked and reached for more quick fixes with food and booze.”
However, once he eventually built up the courage to admit his true feelings to his friends and family, Mr Gunns said the weight became much easier to lose.
He says his five-stone weight loss has transformed his life.
“It’s so great to get compliments when people haven’t seen you for ages,” he said.
“I have ambitions to become a TV presenter. When I was obese I wouldn’t have tried.
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“But now I’m working freelance researching and transcribing. I’m behind the scenes but now I have the confidence to work on getting in front of the camera.”
A recent survey found disturbingly high levels of depression, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts among gay men.
The survey – published in FS magazine – surveyed over 600 men to learn more about depression and poor mental health in the gay community.
The survey found that 24% of gay men admitted to trying to kill themselves, while 54% admitted to having suicidal thoughts.
A further 70% said low self-esteem was the main reason for their depression and suicidal thoughts.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and need to talk to someone, visit samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90.