At 44, Dean Rattray weighs less now than he did in high school.
The Ashburton man no longer lives in fear of his heart stopping while he sleeps. He can go hunting and fishing with his children.
About 16 months ago, Rattray weighed 220kg.
"It got to the point where I nearly lost my job because I was struggling to stay awake," he told The Press.
Rattray had to use a machine while he slept to regulate his breathing after being diagnosed with sleep apnoea.
"I was always big. Even when I was cycling and rugby refereeing, I was about 145kg."
About nine years ago, Rattray moved to a "desk job" and the weight started piling on.
"I was inactive, I ate all the wrong foods."
Soon he was too overweight to exercise, too sick to sleep and too tired to work.
A friend recommended weight-loss surgery and, after doing some research, Rattray scheduled an appointment with Christchurch surgeon Steven Kelly.
The life-changing procedure meant extending the mortgage on his house but "I haven't looked back since".
Rattray underwent gastric sleeve surgery which reduced the capacity of his stomach from about 2.5 litres to 50 millilitres.
He now weighs 94kg, and runs, cycles and goes to the gym. He avoids sugary and high-fat foods and eats small portions.
"I still have bad food sometimes," he said.
- The Press