A south Belfast student who has lost nearly six stones is set to raise money for a children’s charity when he runs the Virgin London Marathon at the weekend.
Ian Wasson has dropped from 20st 12lb to 15st in two years, and now he’s putting his newfound fitness to the test by taking part in his first ever marathon on April 17.
The 26-year-old says: “I’ve always been a bit of a couch potato and started putting weight on in my teens. I tried lots of diets, but nothing ever helped me keep the weight off, and while I loved sport I spent my time watching it on television rather than taking part. I’d always watch the London Marathon on TV and thought the runners must be mad — now I’m going to be one of them!”
After years of yo-yo dieting, Ian heard about a new slimming group in Malone and decided to go along. He says: “My mum and sister were getting increasingly worried about my health, and their fears weren’t unfounded. I’d started getting pains in my joints regularly and we have a family history of diabetes.
“But it was an incident on a plane that really fuelled my decision to try Slimming World. At more than 20st, I struggled to fit into the seat and fasten the seatbelt. I seriously thought that if I got any larger I’d have to start buying two seats.”
After joining the group, Ian changed his eating habits and soon discovered that eating well didn’t have to be tasteless.
Initially Ian didn’t have the confidence to exercise but after shedding his first stone he joined his local gym.
He started playing tennis and golf, as well as trying his hand at kayaking and coasteering.
He says: “I started running after one of my friends suggested I sign up for a 5k race in aid of Haiti. I found it so exhilarating I was hooked. I don’t feel self-conscious or like I’m holding people back any more. Now I want to experience as much as I can and catch up on all the opportunities I missed when I was overweight.”
Now Ian’s lost 5st 12lb, gone from a 46” waist to a 34” and dropped from a size XXXL to a medium. On top of his own transformation, he’s also inspired his family, friends and colleagues to lose weight too.
Ruth Shaw, who runs the Malone Slimming World group, based at the Wellington Park Hotel, which Ian attends, says: “I am so proud of Ian. He’s a completely different man from the person who walked through the doors two years ago.
“Everyone in the group has been with him all the way, supporting him on his weight-loss journey and now they’re cheering him on to success in the marathon and pledging their donations too.”
His marathon team is raising money for the NSPCC.
To sponsor Ian visit |www.justgiving.com/wasson.