Guillaume Selvais is an epicurean and he claims it. Butcher, butcher, confectioner and brewer, this 42-year-old man also ran the café “Le Comte d’Artois” in Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont for nearly 10 years, before becoming part of the technical team of the center. cultural Le Sablon in Morlanwelz. How did this man who weighed 200 kilos on the scale manage to lose half his weight in the space of 7 years? Guillaume agreed to tell us about his journey, hoping that it will raise hope among other obese people.
Guillaume, when were you overweight?
At the age of 9, I lost my brother. I then “ate” my grief. I was addicted to sweets because they caused the secretion of endorphins, the hormone of happiness. When I was 11, I was weighing 120 kilograms on the scale. I have tried all kinds of diets, from the most drastic to the most balanced. Each time, I started again with a bonus. It must be said that I have a passion for drinking and eating it. That’s the case to say. I have a background in hospitality, I love to cook and have always been active in the event industry. At the beginning, when I took over the café “Le Comte d’Artois” in Chapelle, I was only running on coca zero. Which greatly displeased all the friends who wanted to buy me a drink. Finally, I let my guard down to the point of putting on 30 beers a day …
In seven years, you have lost 104 kilograms. Was there a click?
The decision can only come from you and it must make sense in your life. Without genuine motivation, it is impossible to achieve such a result. I accepted myself as a fat man. It was part of my identity. It was type 2 diabetes that was the trigger. This nasty disease, I had clearly contracted it because of my diet. And my days were in danger. We talk a lot about cancer and not at all about diabetes. Cancer can be identified and combated with treatments. Diabetes is sneaky, it’s a silent killer. He is slowly but surely leading you to your death. In all prepared meals there is too much sugar and too much salt. The industrialist poisons us. I felt responsible for my son Louis, then 2 years old. He had the right to grow up with a dad by his side. It was the consultations with the diabetologist that got me started. It was 7 years ago. I first lost 50 pounds on my own just by eating a more balanced diet. It was only after that that I got into sports. But in the meantime, there has been an operation.
Why did you have an operation when you had already lost 50 kilos?
Because at one point you stagnate. I was very well supervised by psychologists who, little by little, helped me understand how I functioned. I had to choose the type of intervention best suited to my way of living and being. Despite my weight loss, I am and will forever be an Epicurean. After the operation, my stomach was in danger of stretching out like a sock again. This is why I opted for a SADI (Single Anastomosis Duodeno-Ileal bypass with sleeve gastrectomy). An intervention combining a sleeve gastrectomy with an intestinal bypass. This is a recent technique. And I was wonderfully taken care of by the medical team at the University Hospital Tivoli. No pain, no complications and support at all times. Before going to the pool table, I had many psychological talks. This step is really essential and it takes time. I insist on this point.
Today, you weigh 95 kilos for 1m73. Are you satisfied with this weight?
Yes because you can imagine that my diabetes has disappeared. You realize ! It’s incredible, a real victory. I might lose a few more pounds. Besides, I lost 500 grams during the holidays! But to achieve this result, I had to fight an additional fight and not the least against alcohol.
Were you an alcoholic?
Yes, we can say that. After the operation, you can only drink liquid for three weeks. Then, yoghurts, then mixed dishes before returning to a normal diet, but in much smaller quantities. The problem is, your stomach gets full, but your brain keeps clamoring for extra servings. Suddenly, I have to leave the table immediately to calm down, alone in the living room, to wait for my neurons to calm down. I come back to alcohol. Like the liquid, it goes by itself, the temptation is great to send yourself a good dose of endorphins with a beer. In fact, many people who have been operated on end up dying of cirrhosis. This is something that is not said enough. What you should also know is that the operation increases the effects of alcohol six-fold, which is absorbed much faster into the blood. After drinking two spritzes at a friend’s house, I had a total blackout. I went to a psychiatrist begging him to intern me to detoxify me. He reasoned with me. I was not hospitalized, but since then I have not touched a single drop of alcohol. It’s been 8 months.
And yet, you are… a brewer!
This is the great paradox. With Mathieu Burion, we graduated in micro-brewery. We have created “Tech’tu” and “Bî Râte” with blood orange. Since the very media sommelier Éric Boschman spoke about us in “Ten beers to discover”, our orders have soared. But me, it’s over. Not a drop.
What about physical activity?
I go to the gym three times a week, I swim once a week at the Chapelle pool and I walk as often as possible. This helps to stabilize the weight and above all, to feel better about your body. It is a virtuous circle.
Do you feel different with 104 pounds less?
Lighter, of course. But it is also a very destabilizing change of identity. I liked myself as a fat man. I must learn to love myself also in this new body. Statistics prove that after an operation, many couples separate. Me, I’m very lucky with Joséphine, my partner. She is very patient. She supports me. She encourages me. Losing a lot of weight is difficult and it is an obstacle course. You have to know it and above all, live it.