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I had partners in the past who said that I snored, some said I snored like a train, but I really had no idea of how bad it was. It was actually my friends who said that it wasn’t just snoring, and that it sounded like I was struggling to breathe. So eventually I went to the doctors and they referred me to the sleep clinic. I went in overnight and they did all these tests. It came to the results and they said this is a severe problem. Turns out that I had been stopping breathing for up to 10 seconds at least 50 times an hour. Ian Paton before shot - taken February 2014

It’s funny because for years I’ve been buying ibuprofen by the bucket load! Every day I’d have a headache that just wouldn’t seem to go and for me it was just an ongoing thing: I’d eat ibuprofen. I thought it was all connected to working hard, being stressed out running a big company and working closely with computers. I remember once I went into a phamarcy and asked for a large pack because I was sick of buying them so frequently and the pharmacist said I was crazy that if I’d had this headache for so long then I should get it checked out (Why is sleep so important for weight loss?).

When I got the CPAP machine I was probably around 20 stone. It didn’t work for me straight away. It’s a mask that you have to wear at night and it took a while to get it to work well for me. Over the next couple of months I put on another couple of stone but then something just clicked and I suddenly started getting the magic eight hours of sleep. I started getting eight hours of kip every night and everything became easier and life changed.

So at this point in February 2014 I was 22 stone – the heaviest I’ve ever been.

The other big thing that changed at that time was I started going to the gym. I hadn’t really exercised for years before that point but I had a friend who wanted to tone up before his holiday – he was already thin, but he just wanted to get a bit more muscly. He wanted me to go with him but I was desperate not to go! I remember once I was sat in the car eating a bag of crisps and he rang. He wanted to know where I was and what I was doing! I said I was busy. I said I hadn’t had a chance to wash my kit. I said I didn’t want to. It didn’t matter, I tried every excuse in the book but he texted and said, “See you at the gym.” I went and loved it.

Ian Paton 'after' shot taken October 2014 with Julie, Fitness Manager at Falaise Leisure Centre

Ian with the inspirational Julie from Falaise Leisure Centre.

Slowly it changed. To start off with I was cycling, rowing and walking on the machines. I took it so slowly. At first even 20 seconds of any of them would leave me panting. But I kept going and I did a little bit more at each session and you will not believe that if you are getting the sleep you need and working out how quickly your body will adapt to get into shape.

The final piece of the puzzle for me was getting my eating sorted. Previously, I was snacking way too much and not giving myself a chance. I had no schedule for eating and I just fit it in around everything else: big mistake. I really didn’t do a diet, like Atkins or anything but I started to make better choices and most importantly I took a lesson from the Chinese. I’ve done a lot of work in China and it’s striking that restaurants aren’t open late in the evening. Everyone eats their tea at 6pm and then it all closes down. I really think that’s one of the reasons that the Chinese seem to struggle a lot less with obesity. I really would advise stopping eating late at night!

To be honest the food that I was eating a nutritionist would probably look at and say it’s a load of crap. I’d have like a Pot Noodle thing for lunch which was 300 calories. Then for breakfast I’d have four slices of wholemeal toast with Marmite, so that’s around 400 calories. For tea I’d just have a roast dinner or a pie and chips with beans. It definitely wasn’t a diet! The key for me though is that I didn’t eat late in the evening and I ate at 7am, noon and 5pm. After the gym in the evening I wasn’t interested in eating.

That’s all the changes that I made and over seven months it’s allowed seven stone to drop off me. It’s slowed a bit more now but I’m still losing a couple of pounds a week and loving going to the gym. If you’re struggling with weight loss and you you’ve ever been told you snore then go and get it checked out. What I know now is that my body was craving sugar bursts because it needed that energy desperately. My body was being starved of oxygen through the night and that impacted on hormone levels and the functioning of my body. That was the big change and it could be for you too.

Are you worried you might have sleep apnea? Why not get it checked out? The test is painless and it could lead to a massive change for the better like Ian’s found.