Man sheds 30 stone after common cold lands him in intensive care fighting for life

Harvey Olikh, from Essex, spent four days in intensive care after contracting a common cold in 2019 – and afterwards he vowed to start shedding the weight

Harvey Olikh is lucky to be alive following his ordeal in 2019
Harvey Olikh is lucky to be alive following his ordeal in 2019

A man who once weighed an astonishing 50 stone is looking forward to his first slimmed down Christmas after shedding more than 30 stone in two years.

Harvey Olikh spent four days in intensive care after contracting a common cold in 2019 – and afterwards he vowed to start shedding the weight.

Harvey has now shed 30 stone in two years by fasting as he prepares to celebrate Yuletide as a happy, healthy man for the first time in a true Christmas miracle.

The trimmed down 48-year-old beamed: “This weightloss is a gift that keeps on giving and it’s not just for Christmas.

“It’s like I have woken up after Scrooges’ three ghosts in the morning and I’m alive.”

Harvey has now shed more than 30 stone after turning his life around


Triangle News)

Harvey, then 46, was rushed to hospital in November 2019 – weeks before Christmas – after he caught a cold.

He was so fat his bones hurt from carrying the immense weight, and doctors were amazed he didn’t have a carer and wasn’t bedbound.

He spent four days in ICU battling for his life as his morbidly obese body struggled to beat the bug – and a doctor even allegedly asked him to sign a ‘do not resuscitate’ form.

At the time the 48-year-old weighed 43 stone – more than two newborn elephants – and his weight later ballooned to a whopping estimated 50 stone.

But despite being at “death’s door” all he could think of was his next meal.

Harvey was left fighting for his life after contracting a cold


Triangle News)

He now hopes his story can inspire others


Triangle News)

Harvey said: “I nearly died because my body was so bad.

“I saw death all around me – it was scary. But I was just glad to be alive so I could carry on eating.”

He says a doctor in the ICU warned: “If you live like this, within two years you will be dead.”

Harvey stopped drinking after the stay at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex but continued to scoff thousands of calories a day.

He was too heavy for normal scales but medics weighed him on a bariatric bed while he was in ICU and he was more than 43 stone.

The construction training company owner estimates he then ballooned to at least 50 stone before starting to lose the weight from February 25, 2020.

Harvey would start a typical day by demolishing two Full English breakfasts, followed by KFC chicken fillet burgers and two family packs of chocolates.

Harvey has completely changed his eating habits


Triangle News)

He’d then munch a chicken curry with rice, kebabs and naan bread at the office for lunch, before heading home for a dinner of rice and chicken.

He concealed the full extent of his gluttony from his wife Monika, 39, and his employees, gorging privately.

It wasn’t until the first lockdown that Harvey started tackling his food addiction.

His long-suffering wife of 10 years, who is average-sized, slimmed down even more, and Harvey feared he would lose her unless he shifted his extra weight.

But he was also fed up with being mocked and stared at, and of being too large to fit in seats at theatres, cinemas or on planes.

On one “humiliating” occasion, Harvey tried to book a hotel stay on the Isle of Wight but claims the owners refused him a room as they feared he’d break their antique staircase.

Harvey says he barricaded himself in his room and only consumed water for five days so he’d go into ketosis: when the body has no carbs to burn so instead eats its own fat.

“I went literally cold turkey,” quipped Harvey, of Romford, Essex.

For the next six weeks, Harvey ate just two meals a day within a two-hour window.

His typical weight loss dishes include veg such as broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, served with meat.

He then whittled down to just one meal per day.

After a year, Harvey says he progressed to doing 48 hour and 70 hour fasts.

Astonishingly, he claims he’s now been doing two five-day fasts every month for half a year, otherwise continuing to eat one healthy meal per day.

This means he only eats about 20 meals in an average month.

He is now writing a programme called ‘Fat to Fuel’.

Harvey, who now weighs about 16 and a half stone, says he’s now looking forward to his best Christmas yet.

He added: “I can go to the cinema with my wife, I can go shopping with her, I can go on holiday and go mountain trekking, I can be a boss, run around.

“I have such an appreciation for the small things people take for granted: being able to do my shoelaces up, being able to fit into a cab, not having kids staring at me and parents saying ‘Shh’ when I go into a shop.”

He plans to start working out twice a week with a personal trainer in the new year and he is writing a book about his weightloss journey.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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