Ex-Long Buckby semi-pro rugby player - who became a food addict after breaking his neck in a scrum - sheds nine stone

Ian can now fit into one leg of the trousers he once wore at 25 stone and his daughter in the other leg.
Ian can now fit into one leg of the trousers he once wore at 25 stone and his daughter in the other leg.

A former semi-professional rugby player from Long Buckby has shed nine stone since recovering from a food addiction he picked up after suffering a serious injury.

Twenty years ago Ian Stuart, 54, was playing for his village side when he went into a rough scrum.

The hit left him with a broken neck.

"It was horrendous," said Ian.

"The pain was incredible and I knew I had done some damage. I spent months in a restrictive collar while my vertebrae mended."

Before the injury to his neck, Ian was heavy but considered fit and healthy. But after the neck break, he found it difficult to get about as he once did and rugby was a thing of the past.

"I loved my bread and as a fit rugby player, I didn’t give much thought to how much food I was eating," said Ian.

But when his rugby career ended, his love of bread didn’t. In fact, as time went on, Ian found himself eating more and more.

"I hate to admit it, but I became a food addict," he said.

"Losing the rugby affected me and I lost all motivation. I lived for takeouts and beer.

"I was comfort eating and couldn’t stop and by 2011 I weighed 25 stone."

This resulted in trouble with his kidneys and heart issues. On top of that Ian was also a type 2 diabetic.

"When you are that heavy you can think about doing things, but you can't do them," said Ian, who is married with two children.

"Cutting the lawn becomes a chore when you get tired and out of breath so easily."

In 2016, Ian's GP offered him a gastric sleeve to curb his appetite as long as he could prove that he really wanted to lose the weight.

"He gave me a referral to Weight Watchers and told me to see how much weight I could lose on my own.

"It was really difficult to go against my food addiction and my journey was very up and down. But on July 19, 2017 I had lost 10 per cent of my weight.

"I was now 20 stone and ready for surgery."

After the surgery, Ian continued his journey with Weight Watchers and now weighs 16 stone, having lost nine stone on his journey back to health.

"Surgery is not an easy way out, its hard. Going to Weight Watchers taught me the control I needed to overcome my food addiction. It inspires me. It sets boundaries. I don’t want to go back.

"I don’t binge eat anymore, I am not addicted to food - I enjoy it.

"Ten years ago, I gave up drinking alcohol and together with tackling the food addiction, I have found a new love for life.

"I have things I now look forward to and cutting the lawn is no longer a chore."