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A MAN'S A MAN.. AND NOT FAT; Five fatties get back in shape for Burns Night .. now the kilt is their delight.

Byline: By Lindsay Clydesdale

MEN often feel too embarrassed to do anything about their middle-aged spreads ... but these five took control of their diets and slimmed back into their kilts in time for Burns Night.

There are more obese men than women in the UK and death rates from weight-related conditions, such as coronary heart disease, are five times higher for men.

Despite this, males are significantly underrepresented in weight-loss programmes with fewer than one in 1000 overweight guys attending a slimming club.

Our five took the plunge with Slimming World. From Jim who couldn't walk because his obesity made his polio worse, to Andrew who went along to keep his daughter company and ended up shedding five stone in seven months, they tell how losing weight changed their lives.

JIM McDONALD

WAS: 21st 9lb

NOW: 13st 9lb

WEIGHT LOSS: 8st

DISABLED Jim,50, started going to classes in March 2006 after a comment from his wife Linda.

Apolio victim, it was difficult for Jim to be mobile, which caused him to put on weight, which in turn made exercise difficult.

"My health was bad," he said. "And one day I walked into the kitchen and my wife said she could see my stomach five minutes before my face."

He soon found a Slimming World class near his home in Dumbarton and before long Linda and their kids, Lorna, 17, and nine-year-old Jamie, could see a big difference.

Now Jim, who works with Glasgow Community and Safety Services, has shrunk his waist from 54in to 38in.

"I've added 15 to 20 years to my life according to my consultant," he said.

"Before, I couldn't walk far, had breathing problems and was on oxygen every night. That's all gone.

"It's not a diet - I still eat really big meals but I have good food instead of pizza and pies.

"I love curries but now I make my own which are healthier.

So I don't feel deprived at all."

JOHN MacFARLANE

WAS: 15st

NOW: 12st

WEIGHT LOSS: 3st

LGV driver John took just five months to reach his target weight.

"After years of eating the wrong kinds of food, having continual indigestion and being exhausted after a weekly game of five-a-side, I decided to do something about it," he said.

John, 41, of Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, took advice from wife Pauline, who was aSlimming World member.

He said: "It was just laziness and comfort eating. "I lost the weight by healthy eating as any exercise was out of the question due to me having ahip replacement in early summer.

"Looking back now, I think losing weight made the recovery a lot quicker."

Now John and Pauline are keeping the whole family, including their three daughters, Megan, Caitlin and Rhiannon, healthy.

"I would recommend this plan to any man who is looking for a healthy way to enjoy food," he said. "I was always the one who thought I would never be able to do this and now I say if I can, you can.

"It was great to be able to wear my kilt again."

ANDREW WILSON

WAS: 20st 4lb

NOW: 14st 11lb

WEIGHT LOSS: 5st 7lb

KEEPING his daughter company was Andrew's reason for going to Slimming World... but he soon lost pounds of his own.

The 44-year-old project development officer with North Lanarkshire Council had seen his weight creep up over several years but hit his target weight in just seven months.

He said: "I'd always been overweight, always called Big Andy. I ate the wrong stuff and too much of it, but I tuned into the eating plan quite quickly. I like plain food and a lot of meat, so now I eat a lot of chicken.

"I also like to have a beer and I've been able to have a drink the whole time I've been losing weight."

Andrew, of Cumbernauld, is married to Anne and has daughters Karen, 19, - his slimming partner - and Lynn.

He said: "At my heaviest my waist was 44 inches - and that was with my belly hanging over it.

"Now I'm a 34-inch waist. It's good being able to buy clothes in normal shops. Sometimes I think I'm bigger than I am so I have to try everything on so I don't buy XXXL.

"My wife is very happy with the change but she knows I did it for me."

SCOTT McCORRISKEN

WAS: 17st 7lb

NOW: 12st 7lb

WEIGHT LOSS: 5st

ELECTRICIAN Scott, 36, was suffering from health problems because he was obese.

He was at risk from diabetes and on beta blockers for high blood pressure, when a supervisor at work raised his concerns.

"I was showing a friend at work snaps of me and my wife Michelle on holiday last year when he said he was concerned about me," said Scott, from Alexandria. "I started looking through old photos and could see myself getting heavier over the years."

Although he was nervous about slimming classes, Scott said it's been worth it.

"I was a bit embarrassed to go to start with but there's no shame in it, especially when you start losing weight," he said.

"I'm a new man. I'm only a young guy but I felt like I was in my fifties.

Now I play badminton, swim and help out at football training."

Even better, his health has been transformed. He said: "My blood sugar level is back to normal and although my blood pressure is still a bit high, I'm off all the medication."

ALEX McCAFFERTY

WAS: 17st,1lb

NOW: 14st 1lb

WEIGHT LOSS: 3st

ADISEASE called chronic myalgia, which causes serious pain, has stopped Alex,47, from being able to move easily.

It meant he had to retire early from his job as a postman in 2003 and it had an impact on his wife Angela and daughters, Laura, 21, and Kirsty, 11.

"The disease makes you seize up and I couldn't move, so that made me gain weight," he said. "Then I suffered a heart attack so I knew I had to do something."

Alex has already lost three stone since joining the slimming group in August and is feeling massive benefits in lots of everyday ways. Before, he couldn't even manage to climb the stairs at home, but now he can move about much easier.

"I want to lose at least another couple of stone," said Alex, from Glasgow. "It's already made such a big difference to me. I've never eaten so much in all my life and I lose weight, it's great.

"If it wasn't for the people in my group, I would still be lying about not able to move and not able to lose weight.

"I thought these classes were just for women, but I went along because I needed to do this.

"More men are joining all the time and that's great because it really can change your life."

PICTURES: BILL FLEMING STYLIST: JULIE HANNAH

FOR INFORMATION ON SLIMMING WORLD CLASSES IN YOUR AREA, CALL 0844 897 8000 OR VISIT WWW.SLIMMINGWORLD.COM

ALL KILTS FROM SLANJ, GLASGOW. TEL: 0141 248 7770

CAPTION(S):

JIM McDONALD; JOHN MacFARLANE; ANDREW WILSON; SCOTT McCORRISKEN; ALEX McCAFFERTY
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 24, 2008
Words:1191
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