An Uddingston man who endured nearly 30 years of ill health after a back injury caused his weight to balloon has won a UK slimming title.
Ian Strachan shed 11 stones and has been named Cambridge Weight Plan’s Man of the Year.
In 1986 he suffered a serious back injury which gradually got worse and ten years later caused him to retire from Royal Mail at the age of 44.
Bedridden for eight months, he turned to painkillers and alcohol. Then his wife, Maria, died suddenly aged 49 and, suffering from depression, his weight went up even more.
High blood pressure, sleep problems and arthritis in his knees followed, and by late 2014 Ian was unable to walk. He had to use a wheelchair, needed bigger cars and had to go online to find size 6XL clothes to fit him.
Early last year Ian was weighing more than 26 stones and in terrible pain. He was told that his excess weight had led to the loss of cartilage in his knees and knee replacement was the only option. However, surgery was possible only if he lost weight.
Ian said: “Life was passing me by. I knew I had to do something. My case was reviewed by the Cambridge team and I started on their plan in June 2015. The early days saw some incredible weight loss which encouraged me to keep going.
“With the weight loss my activity increased. I was able to walk again without the aid of a wheelchair. Tests at the Sleep Clinic found I no longer had sleep apnoea and no longer needed a mask to help me breathe at night.
“The biggest turning point was the visit to my knee surgeon in February this year. He was astonished at the amount of weight I’d lost.
“Throughout this year I have still been losing weight and, at 15st 7lb, am lighter than I’ve been for decades. I am walking, shopping, socialising and enjoying life again.
“I can buy clothes from high street shops, enjoy my family and grandchildren, and play the sports I love.”
Ian, who says wife Mary Jane has been a great encouragement, is a volunteer with the Yooz recycling charity in Bellshill. The wheelchair he used is now for sale in its warehouse!
He still keeps in touch with his knee surgeon, explaining: “I don’t need the knee replacement surgery just yet although my knees are still worn out and the spine still arthritic, but the weight loss has made a tremendous difference.”