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Thread: How darts champ Andy Fordham lost 10 stone

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default How darts champ Andy Fordham lost 10 stone

    Professional darts players are not generally known for their slim physiques. But even in their heavyweight world, Andy Fordham was a giant among men.


    At 6ft tall and a huge 31st, it wasn't hard to see how the bearded 2004 British Darts Organisation World Champion earned his nickname, The Viking.
    So at a recent competition, onlookers were shocked by his dramatic weight loss. Scroll down for more...
    A stroke forced darts champ Andy Fordham to quit drinking, change his diet and lose 10 stone




    The 45-year-old has shed more than 10st since last January, after collapsing at the World Championships in Lakeside, Surrey. He was rushed to hospital where he had 18 litres of fluid drained from his lungs and later suffered a minor stroke.
    Andy was diagnosed with cirrhosis - more than 70 per cent of his liver has been destroyed - and was told that unless he stopped drinking, he'd have only a few years to live.
    He has now vowed to lose even more weight - and this from someone who, as a boy, was so skinny that he was nicknamed The Whippet.
    Andy, who grew up in Charlton, South-East London, was a keen track-and-field athlete and footballer, and even in his mid-20s he weighed only 13st - a healthy weight for his height. But then he took up darts - a sport known for its big drinking culture - and in 1995 became a pub landlord.
    "I hardly noticed I was becoming overweight as it happened so slowly. It started as a bit of a pot belly, which I kept saying I'd do something about but never did.
    "It's not like I woke up one morning and suddenly weighed 31st," says Andy who, as well as being a darts champion, runs The Cutty Sark pub in Thamesmead with his wife Jenny.
    "I never ate a lot, but I ate badly, grabbing convenience foods - takeaways, pizzas, kebabs - because I was always so busy. If I was working behind the bar, I'd snack on peanuts or crisps, and I never exercised. And then there was the drinking.
    "Looking back, I realise I was an alcoholic. I couldn't stop myself. I thought I was in control but I wasn't. I would start drinking as soon as I went downstairs to open up the bar, at around 11am.
    "On an average day, I'd have up to 25 bottles of lager and half a bottle of spirits - vodka, brandy or whisky. Before darts matches I'd drink to calm my nerves. People assume alcoholics slur and fall all over the place, but I never drank to get drunk. Scroll down for more...
    Andy Fordham's massive size - 31 stone - and beard earned him the nickname: The Viking




    "No one really noticed how much I was putting away, except for Jenny. Sometimes she would beg me to stop drinking, but I wouldn't listen. I'm incredibly stubborn."
    By this time, Andy was dangerously overweight. In November 2004 he was forced to withdraw from a major competition due to 'heat exhaustion'.
    Amazingly, subsequent medical tests found his cardiovascular health was remarkably good. However, he was suffering from severely swollen legs and breathing problems, especially at night when he would wake up struggling for air.
    In 2005, Andy took part in Celebrity Fit Club. He lost almost 3st but piled it back on again when the cameras stopped rolling.
    "At the beginning of the series, they made us run round a football pitch," says Andy. "I got halfway and had to stop because I was gasping for air.
    "The Celebrity Fit Club doctors had me on a special low-calorie diet and persuaded me to swop lager for white wine and soda. I was exercising every day, walking at first then jogging. But as soon as I returned home, I went back to my old ways."

    Despite his health concerns 2006 he was suffering pains in his stomach and lungs - he refused to seek medical help.
    "If I'd gone to the doctor it would have meant I had a problem. I didn't want to admit that to myself.
    "I was in complete denial. But I was constantly out of breath - I couldn't walk for more than five minutes without having to sit down. Even putting on clothes was exhausting."
    Things came to a head last January as Andy, a non-smoker, was preparing to play his first round match in the World Championships at the Lakeside Country Club.
    "I was doing an interview with the BBC that afternoon and during the breaks people kept asking me if I was OK because I was wheezing and sweating. I told them I was fine, just a bit out of breath.
    "Then, as I was being led into the competition venue, I started to get pains in my chest and I slumped on a chair, gasping for air. I thought I was having a heart attack." Scroll down for more...
    Half the man he used to be: Nowadays Andy isn't drinking the 25 bottles of lager and half a bottle of spirits he used to do before his illness




    Andy was rushed to nearby Frimley Park Hospital, where X-rays revealed that a huge build-up of fluid in his chest had crushed one of his lungs. He was placed in the hospital's high dependency unit and for a week his life hung in the balance.
    "They tried to drain the fluid by putting a needle in my back, but even their longest needle wouldn't reach because I was too big," he says.
    "Eventually, they made a hole in my back and inserted a tube to drain the fluid.
    "It was done under a local anaesthetic and was quite uncomfortable, but not painful. For the first time, I was frightened. It had finally hit home: I was seriously ill."
    The tube was kept in for around two weeks, over which time 18 litres of fluid were steadily drained from his chest while he stayed in hospital.
    "I started to feel better almost immediately. The doctors told me it had happened because I had cirrhosis of the liver, due to my weight and the drinking. I knew I only had myself to blame."
    Cirrhosis is a condition in which scar tissue forms inside the liver, stopping its normal functions, and is usually caused by chronic alcohol abuse, obesity or viruses such as hepatitis C and B. Andy was told he'd lost 70 per cent of his liver function.
    "The doctors said if I didn't stop drinking I would die," he recalls.
    A week later he was discharged, only to be rushed back into hospital later the same day after suffering what the doctors believed to be a minor stroke.

    "I was talking to Jenny when my speech started to slur and then the left side of my face went numb," he explains.
    "When the ambulance arrived I tried to stand up but couldn't move my left foot."
    Andy was rushed to hospital again, but discharged the same day as the stroke was not considered serious.
    It is thought that it was the natural result of the sudden physical changes causing some of the fatty build-up in his arteries to break off and temporarily block the blood supply to part of the brain. But he was profoundly shaken by the ordeal.
    "I knew if I didn't stop drinking and lose weight I wouldn't be around much longer," says Andy, father to Ray, 21, and Emily, 20.
    "I thought of my children and my wife. For their sakes I knew I had to change.
    "I didn't find it hard to stop drinking as I was in hospital for the first month. I'm still tempted to drink occasionally, but Jenny is always around to make sure I don't slip up."
    Since he stopped drinking, the weight has 'literally dropped off', he says. He also uses an exercise bike 'but the doctors have told me not to go too mad to begin with, because it may put a strain on my heart'. He is also trying to avoid junk food and to eat balanced meals.
    Things are still touch and go, however - if his liver deteriorates any more, he will need a transplant.
    The liver is essential for the body to metabolise food and clean out toxins from the blood. Drinking to excess and being over-weight causes fat to be deposited in the liver cells.
    Eventually, the build-up of fat leads to inflammation, causing permanent scar tissue which stops the liver from working properly - cirrhosis.

    Common symptoms include jaundice - a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by the failure of the liver to remove toxic substances from the blood - fluid retention in the legs and the abdomen, easy bruising, spider veins (similar to varicose veins) and enlargement of breasts in men.
    Accumulation of fluid in the stomach and the chest, which is what Andy experienced, is a complication of advanced liver disease, explains William Rosenberg, professor of hepatology at University College London.
    "Because the scar tissue makes it harder for blood to pump through the liver, water is forced out of the blood vessels and into the surrounding organs where it can accumulate.
    "If a person suffering from cirrhosis doesn't dramatically change their lifestyle, they also risk major internal bleeding and liver cancer, and will eventually suffer complete liver failure.
    "Quite apart from the fact that obesity puts him at risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, if he wants to avoid serious problems with his liver, Andy must never drink again and must keep his weight down," says Professor Rosenberg.
    Andy has accepted this, but admits: "The only problem with playing darts now is that my weight loss has affected my balance. It's been like learning to throw in a new body."

    He insists none of this would have been possible without the support of Jenny, his partner of 28 years whom he married in 2000.
    "When I look in the mirror now I feel small and fragile. People joke that I'm half the man I used to be, and they're right.
    "I don't fit any of my old clothes and feel quite self- conscious at times. Jenny has had to buy me a new wardrobe. "But she has never given up on me. I owe her everything for standing by me, and that's why there is no way I'm going back."

    The incredible shrinking man: How darts champ Andy Fordham lost 10 stone | the Daily Mail

    Wow what a change!

  2. #2
    Elite Member sparkly's Avatar
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    What is 10 stone? Does that mean 100 lbs?

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i have played darts for 30 years. i have met Andy. everyone was concerned he wouldnt live another year. i'm glad he's doing better.
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    A*O
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    1 stone = 14 lbs.
    10 stone = 140 lbs (or about 60kg)

    And I don't believe he lost all that weight that quickly just from quitting drinking. I think he's been on the Star Jones Diet, ie gastric surgery and won't admit it. Either way he certainly looks a lot happier and healthier.
    Last edited by A*O; December 31st, 2007 at 09:49 PM.
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    Elite Member Palermo's Avatar
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    uh, why is he sitting there holding a beer?

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdebagain View Post
    i have played darts for 30 years. i have met Andy. everyone was concerned he wouldnt live another year. i'm glad he's doing better.
    Really? I love darts, I bet you are well good at it.

    I'm glad he lost weight too.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honey View Post
    Really? I love darts, I bet you are well good at it.

    I'm glad he lost weight too.
    i used to be. well, i still am, but i dont travel anymore. i miss it!
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    Elite Member sparkly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    1 stone = 14 lbs.
    10 stone = 140 lbs (or about 60kg)

    And I don't believe he lost all that weight that quickly just from quitting drinking. I think he's been on the Star Jones Diet, ie gastric surgery and won't admit it. Either way he certainly looks a lot happier and healthier.
    Oh ok, thanks. It clears up the confusion. That's quite a bit of weight for someone to lose. That's like 2 supermodels.

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    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    His head looks totally photoshopped on in the second picture.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    so wtf explains the hair and lack of personal hygiene in both shots?
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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdebagain View Post
    i used to be. well, i still am, but i dont travel anymore. i miss it!
    That's so cool you played. I am rubbish, I just like watching.

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkly View Post
    Oh ok, thanks. It clears up the confusion. That's quite a bit of weight for someone to lose. That's like 2 supermodels.
    Two supermodels, so true.

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    Elite Member Karistiona's Avatar
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    Wow good for him! He still looks like hell and he's a total chav but at least he's healthier. I'm also wondering wtf he's doing holding a drink if he has cirrhosis of the liver. Eejit.
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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    My dear GAWD is he ugly! Sorry but he was horrific before and now just looks like a shrunken, withered up version of the same Hideousness! creeps me out either way!

    *not saying he is a bad person or anything..but damn he looks so bad and looks like he smells so bad..ugh
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    Elite Member blissfullyunaware's Avatar
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    Default omg!

    Quote Originally Posted by Palermo View Post
    uh, why is he sitting there holding a beer?
    lmfao! seriously, why is he? I guess he hasnt learned anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    so wtf explains the hair and lack of personal hygiene in both shots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    My dear GAWD is he ugly! Sorry but he was horrific before and now just looks like a shrunken, withered up version of the same Hideousness! creeps me out either way!

    *not saying he is a bad person or anything..but damn he looks so bad and looks like he smells so bad..ugh

    You guys are hilarious sometimes, thanks for the laugh , I needed it.

    (another shocker for me....I had no idea "professional darts players" even existed. Gotta love the U.K)
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    ^^^ in England its a big deal. it is in the US as well, but more so for the men than the women. i couldnt do it because they didnt pay us as much in prize money, and i had to keep a regular job as well.
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