Walking pet dog Jake once a day has helped Moray man Iain Sabiston shed 10 stone – the weight of two fully grown Labradors – and transform his life.
At his heaviest, he tipped the scales at 26 stone 13 pounds and worried wife Laura warned him if he did not take action he would not live to see their children Tyler, 12, Ava, 10, and Dexter, seven, grow up.
It was the wake-up call he needed and, after shrinking 20 inches at the waist, he can now fit both legs into one leg of a once tight-fitting pair of jeans.
The 39-year-old from Elgin, who previously only fitted into a 5XL t-shirt – the largest size available off-the-shelf – confessed he was not a big fan of exercise or working out at the gym.
Instead the father-of-three, who previously binged on fast food and junk food, put his remarkable transformation down to “eating good food and walking the dog”.
He said: “I’ve not done it with blood, sweat or tears. I cut the grass, ran up the stairs two at a time and walked the dog once a day.
“I’ve never been nor will I ever be someone who goes to the gym to do 100 squats.”
At the thought of not being there for his family, however, he was determined to change his ways and joined a group of 40 women at his local Slimming World branch, losing five stone in just six months.
And, coupled with the help from his loyal pet Labrador, he proved an inspiration to everyone there last week when he reached his goal of losing 10st in little over two years.
He said: “It was a great feeling. Now when I try on one of my old shirts there’s six inches of daylight around the sleeves.
“It’s given me confidence and a belief in myself and, when I’m in a room with friends, I no longer look like the biggest one, which is a new experience for me.”
Mr Sabiston has now swapped his junk food and fizzy drinks addiction for a healthier alternative that includes a variety of fruit and vegetables at every meal.
He said: “My eating habit was horrendous. I’d eat breakfast at home and then 15 minutes later I’d go to McDonald’s. Two hours after that I’d stop off at a pie shop and then be back at McDonald’s for lunch.
“My wife is a vegetarian and she always cooks healthy meals but when I was out and about in the van for work on my own I’d just eat what I wanted and have more rubbish through the evening.
“I was disgusting. But one day I was driving over the Kessock Bridge and my wife told me over the phone that if I kept on going the way I was I was not going to live to see the kids grow up.”
Walks with the dog are also a lot more enjoyable as six-foot Mr Sabiston has a much lighter load to carry with his healthier 16st frame.
He said: “It’s like my wife is not married to the same man. She loved me when I was big and she married me when I was big and now I’m a thinner version of me. She has encouraged me all the way.”
His transformation – dropping from a 56in waist to a 36in – has been so remarkable that even old pals fail to recognise him on passing.
He said: “I went into a shop and a school friend walked past not knowing it was me. I had to go up and introduce myself.”
Mr Sabiston’s new-found confidence even saw him promoted to operations manager at the insurance claims company he works for.
And in his spare time, he has secured regular gigs DJ-ing in Aviemore, as well as at Belladrum Festival last year.
He said: “It has made me a better husband, a better dad and a better employee.”
Example of his daily diet:
Breakfast: A bowl of Frosties, a trip to McDonald’s for a breakfast wrap and six hash browns and fizzy drink, followed by a trip to a baker and another fizzy drink.
Lunch: McDonald’s meal and another fizzy drink.
Dinner: Home-cooked meal of macaroni cheese, followed by crisps and chocolate during the evening.
Breakfast: Bowl of Weetabix and blueberries with milk and a cup of coffee.
Lunch: Bag of iceberg lettuce and chicken.
Dinner: Home-cooked meal including steak, potatoes and vegetables.