He is surrounded by fast food at work but an unusual food phobia has left 20-year-old Guy Sykes’ drastically underweight.
While many start the New Year needing to shift a few pounds after the excess of December, Guy, from Berwick in Northumberland, has a different resolution - to pile on the pounds.
At 6ft and weighing in at just eight and half stone, Guy was short of energy and knew he was seriously underweight for his height, despite the complimentary comments he got about his build.
On average Guy was eating a quarter of the 3,000 calories he should have been getting for a man his age and height, having an energy drink for breakfast, no lunch and a tiny plate of pasta for dinner.
A manager at a fast food chain, the media student at Sunderland University was picking at small portions of food during the day and studiously checking ingredients lists in search of onions, of which he has a phobia.
He said: “I wasn’t a picky eater as a kid. I was one of those who’d have to have a clean plate before they could leave the table and would eat the same meals as my parents. I shot up at 14 and as I got older I knew I wasn’t the correct weight for someone of my height but I’ve never had much of an appetite. It doesn’t help that I’ve got an onion phobia.
“I have no idea why but everything about them I don’t like. Onions are a complete no-go for me and they are in so many meals. I’m constantly checking the lists of ingredients of things to see if there are onions as they are in so many meals.”
Despite enjoying dishes such as steak, fish and a Sunday roast, Guy has struggled over the years to put on weight and his image was starting to have a negative impact on his mood.
Wanting help, he applied for TV show Supersize vs Superskinny and tonight his efforts to pile on the pounds with the help of TV medic Dr Christian Jessen will be aired on Channel 4.
Being partnered with someone struggling to lose weight Guy, who splits his time between Sunderland and his parents’ home in Berwick, had to match meal-for-meal the diet of Joanne Allen, weighing in at more than 19st, before the pair embarked on personalised diet plans.
“I was having to eat fried chicken, pizzas, all different kinds of takeaways every three hours a day. I was taking in 6,000 calories and found it really difficult,” said Guy.
He added: “By the end of each day I felt physically drained with the sheer amount of food. We were then given a diet plan and given six weeks to try and change our weight.
“I decided to do it for myself and started making changes eating what I thought would be better. It was a conscious effort each day to make my portion sizes bigger and make sure I had three meals a day as well as snacking.”
In six weeks Guy put on half a stone, and by sticking to his new diet plan, he’s now nearing a one stone weight gain.
Guy, who still works at the fast food chain in his home town said: “During the show I was told it is harder for people to lose weight than put it on and you have to double your daily calorie intake to put on just a couple of pounds.
“I’ve been sticking with it and would like to get up to 10 stone, and if I reach that target I’ll keep going.”