MKR winner shares how he lost more than half his body weight
A CRUEL joke among friends prompted a life changing decision for Dan Mulheron.
The former My Kitchen Rules winner once tipped the scales at 155kg and was sick of being the punchline.
With support from wife Steph and daughter Emmy, Dan made the bold move to have weight loss surgery.
Now, 85kg lighter and one year on from having gastric sleeve surgery he hasn't looked back.
"When you are a big person every minute of the day you are thinking about your weight," he said.
"I no longer do that, I have space to think about other things instead of worry about my weight."
Taking the leap to get surgery wasn't without hesitation.
Three years ago, Dan pulled out of the same operation last minute.
"I was 120kg at that stage and I was going into the pre op and Steph had just left with Emmy," he said.
"I rung her and said 'come back and get me, I am not doing this'."
It took a few more years and tough experiences before the time was right.
"I honestly believe if I had gone through with it at 120kg I would still be 120kg today," he said.
"I would have lost 40kg easy and put it all back on."
With renewed energy and a new outlook on life Dan hopes to change the perception that weight loss surgery is an easy path.
"There is a lot of negative stigma around weight loss surgery," he said.
"A lot of people who haven't had weight problems see it as a cop out.
"It's the hardest thing I have ever done and it's still a really tough mental battle.
"I was 155kg and eating endlessly so I'm still in the process of training my brain to know how much I can eat."
The cafe owner said he knew the past year was just the start.
"I think my next 12 months will be toughest," he said.
"The weight is off now so I think it will be easy to become complacent and get lazy."
Spending time travelling post surgery, Dan discovered how few places catered to his diet.
The trouble of find something suitable to eat inspired him to launch a menu specifically for people who had also been on the same journey.
"It is really hard to find menu that caters without being a pain," he said.
"Our weight loss menu is made up of a sampling of our standard menu but it makes sure everything has some nutritional value."
Surgeons removed 85 percent of Dan's stomach during the procedure.
Only able to eat small portions, Dan said it is essential the meals were made of the right nutrients.
"Everything has to have some nutritional value or it isn't worth it," he said.
"I wanted to share with people in the cafe what type of meals have worked for me.
"You hear a lot of other people who go back to their old ways.
"They obviously eat smaller amount but the same food as before.
"When you can only eat 15 per cent you have to think of food as fuel."
The menu has been extremely successful with people travelling from outside the region to have a taste.
"I love talking to other people who have come in and have had the surgery," he said.
"We talk about the experience, how much weight they have lost and how great they feel."
"I am no expert... I just know what's worked for me, so it's great when people have tips for me and I give them my tips."
His advice for anyone else thinking about going down the same weight loss path is to not listen to what other people think and do what is best for you.
"Do your research and make sure you're in the right head space. "When the time is right don't worry about it, it is the best thing you will ever do."