An embarrassing experience at Blackpool Pleasure Beach kicked off John Aitkenhead’s weight loss journey.
John (47) was turned away from a roller coaster at the amusement park when he was too big for the safety bar to lock into place.
“We had to turn around and go past the queue of people waiting,’’ he said. ‘‘I was so embarrassed for me and my wife, Claire, and decided that things had to change.”
John had been big since he was a child and the weight piled on during his years working as a taxi driver, then as a buyer for a steel company.
“I was sitting around all day at work and at home and my diet was terrible, at least half of everything I ate was a takeaway or packaged food. I could hardly walk around the shops without getting out of breath and my health was suffering with back pain and high blood pressure.”
John joined Slimming World in February 2013 and was shocked to discover he’d hit 24 stone and was morbidly obese.
Despite trying various diets in the past, this time John, from Carronshore, committed fully and now weighs 17½ stone – just one stone from his target weight.
The father of Bobby (23) and Lewis (18) and grandfather to Kyle (3) said: “I found the plan with Slimming World easy to stick to. In fact the first week I thought I must have been doing something wrong as I was eating so much so I was surprised to lose 5lb.
“It’s not just a diet, it’s been a lifestyle change. The whole family eats healthy meals cooked from scratch and I do as much exercise as I can.”
Now John’s slimline frame means old friends regularly don’t recognise him and he’s had to buy a whole new wardrobe.
“I honestly think I’d be dead in 10 years’ time if I hadn’t started the diet. Now I can run around after my grandson and walk the dog for miles. I’m like a new man.”
John is now a Slimming World consultant. His class at North Broomage Club, Larbert, is every Tuesday at 7.30 p.m.