One of the greatest journeys taken on The Harcombe Diet has been the one by Ian Labon from the midlands.
The 18-stone that Ian lost was monumental. But his story is one of success far more than weight loss alone. Like so many people who take our journey, it has given him back a real life which he can finally enjoy.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
From my early 20’s I have always been of large build. I am 6ft and have suffered asthma since 1997.
From the age of 16, I had worked in industries such as saddle making, timber merchants and brass plating factories. You can imagine how this added to my asthma problems!
In 2002, our new-born daughter was seriously ill. I was sacked as a result of taking too much time off work to share time with her as she lay critically-ill in hospital. Then she passed away. She was five-months old. My confidence took a huge hit, as I was grieving and felt useless.
Only a year later, my wonderful father passed away very suddenly.
Fast forward to 2005. I was working as a bridle-maker, and this caused my health to rapidly deteriorate; the use of glues and chemicals triggered multiple attacks daily.
Due to the medication I was on, I had no option but to give up work.
This was the lowest point of my life. In only a few years, I’d lost my beautiful daughter, my amazing father and my job. My health was spiraling down; I had no chance of getting another job.
My health was so poor, my asthma was uncontrolled and I wasn’t physically able to go out every day with my children. I couldn’t do simple family things like visit the park. I spiraled into depression and began to comfort eat.
I began and didn’t stop.
It got to the point where I feared seeing my extended family. I hid myself away indoors and couldn’t bring myself to even walk to the front door for fear of being seen, judged and criticised.
In six years, I went from 19-stone to 36-stone. It was actually higher, but 36-stone as that was as high as my scales went.
What was the final straw to taking control?
It was very simple: in 2013 I had a mild heart attack. I woke up feeling I had to do something to change my life for my four children.
How and when did you find out about us?
I had tried Weight Watchers, Rosemary Connelly, and others that I thought were ‘healthier eating’ diets. But I was still hungry and comfort eating, so I was referred via my GP to weight loss clinic and personal training.
They all did nothing for me.
So I was searching for more diets and came across an article written by Zoe. I still remember it: it was all about a mince pizza base.
I printed it off and started to read about Zoe. I then contacted Zoe via internet to ask where I could buy the books. I bought The Harcombe Diet for Men. I’m actually dyslexic as well, but found it really easy to understand.
The first few weeks I didn’t really miss anything, the third week was the hardest of all. Whereas most people can do Phase 1 in a week or so, I had to stay on it for almost two months.
A few months after starting the diet, I messaged Andy & Zoe to tell them of my progress. They sent me a recipe book and CD, which I also use daily …and my children joined in the healthy eating too!
What has been the biggest benefit to you of getting to your current weight?
Easy: I have my life back!
I am confident and in control, and no longer feel like a freak that people stare at. I no longer feel worried that people are judging me.
And what has this done for me? Well, I feel confident enough to speak to people. I walk my four dogs. I spend time out with my children, go to their school events and parents evenings.
Quite simply, I now enjoy the things most other people reading this will have always taken for granted.
I have also started to convert my garden into an allotment, and do some gentle weight exercises to try to build my strength.
Do you have any advice to our readers?
Absolutely: never give up.
When you hit rock bottom, there really is only one way: up. Never feel like you can’t do something. Keep trying, but don’t rush. Nothing happens overnight.