Weight buster 'guilty and privileged' over his state-funded skin removal

A Hamilton man who has lost 147 kilograms says he feels both guilty and privileged that he's now getting publicly-funded surgery to remove the excess skin when others miss out on the procedure.

Hamilton man Wiremu Bayliss, 40, used to weigh a whopping 275kgs and now is left with heaps of excess skin. Source: Seven Sharp

Forty-year-old Wiremu Bayliss is more fortunate than Christchurch woman Elora Harre, both of whom have told their stories to Seven Sharp this week.

Ms Harre raised more than $12,000 to fly to the United States to have her loose skin removed after shedding 55 kgs through diet and exercise.

Elora Harre from Christchurch dropped a massive 55kgs, leaving her with tons of excess skin. Source: Seven Sharp

Christchurch Hospital apparently lacked the resources to do the procedure.

Mr Bayliss, who a few years ago weighed 257 kgs, says "just moving around was a chore".

But he shed 147 kgs by "walking down the street" and slashing his diet from "four fried eggs, half a dozen sizzler sausages, four heavily-buttered toast, a can of baked beans and bacon for breakfast". 

He also had some surgery, but says "by the time we looked at the bariatric surgery, the gastric sleeve option, I had already lost about 60 to 70 kgs".

Unlike many others, Mr Bayliss will soon have publicly-funded surgery to remove the 10 to 12 kgs of excess skin around his gut, which he says will cost the taxpayer about $25,000.

He says he feels "guilty and privileged as well" to be having this procedure on the state when others miss out.

Mr Bayliss says his life is "hugely sweeter" without the weight, and with the skin removed he'll be able to run beside his daughter without having to wear a compression shirt and shorts so his skin doesn't "flop everywhere".

But he's not out of the woods just yet, and doing exercises at home while avoiding the temptation of sweets sitting on the table, Mr Bayliss vows to stick to his goal "not to go back to those jeans, not to go back to the shirts that I used to wear".