SHAUN MURPHY revealed stomach surgery was the only answer after struggling with weight issues his whole life.
The snooker star, 40, had a gastric sleeve operation in the summer which removed a large part of the stomach to prevent him from eating excessive amounts.
He took the decision after hitting “the bottom of my mental health” and getting unbearable abuse on the street and on social media.
And the Essex potter feels overjoyed with the difference it has made, shedding four stone in three-and-a-half months since going under the knife.
Murphy told the BBC: “I just wish I had done it 20 years ago, because it does feel as if it’s changed my life for the better.
“I’ve struggled with my weight all my life.
“I was the fat kid in school, I feel like I’ve been dieting ever since I was 15, probably younger, and I just reached the end of my tether with it.
“I’d reached the bottom of my mental health, I was on the ground.
“I was very close to going to the doctor about depression, anxiety, not being able to go out, because I was getting shouted at in the street.
“On social media people were sending me horrific messages and comments and direct messages on Instagram and Twitter.
“And in the end I just thought, I need to do something about this, this is going to be the end of me, mentally and possibly physically.”
Murphy – who became a household name after his 2005 World Championship win as a qualifier – is one of only 11 snooker players to win the Triple Crown, adding the UK Championships in 2008 and the 2015 Masters.
He lost the Crucible final last year to Mark Selby but hopes the severe weight loss will help him improve his game.
The Magician is currently ranked No13 in the world but is eyeing a rapid rise.
Murphy added: “An added bonus to that [the surgery] is that it is going to have a knock-on effect on all aspects of my life, including my career.
“From the basic point of being able to bend over the table better, being able to get lower to the shot.
“If you’re carrying any extra weight that becomes quite difficult.
“I can now eat whatever I want, but I can literally eat very, very little of it.
“I couldn’t tell you the last time I finished a coffee as I can’t physically take that much liquid in one go – if I sit there with a pint of Guinness, I’ll still be sipping away at my first pint while everyone else is on their third.
“So I can still do all the same things. But whereas I would have eaten the whole packet of biscuits before and then been looking for a packet of crisps, that’s me done.
“I’ve tried being very cautious and careful in calorie counting, I’ve been to various clubs and saw success with those methods.
“I just ran out of patience with it. At the World Championships this year I’d ballooned to nearly 20 stone, so I just knew I had to do something about it.”
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