Fearing he was going to die young, Tom Kerridge made a life-changing decision that completely transformed him.
The Michelin star chef weighed 30 stone when he turned 40, then lost a staggering 12 stone in five years.
Tom would go on massive drinking sessions which usually started with a pint of Negroni cocktail before going on to sink a whopping 15 pints.
Realising that the booze and hangovers were contributing to his weight gain, Tom decided to quit booze or face the possibility of not reaching 50.
The Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu star has spoken about the secrets to his weightloss.
As well as cutting the booze and adding exercise to his daily routine, Tom made the incredible turnaround with a simple change to his diet.
Tom decided to cut down on the amount of carbs he was consuming and started following a dopamine diet.
This meant eating food thats boosts your levels of the ‘happy hormone’ so it’s easier to stick to the diet.
“It’s impossible to lose weight and keep the weight off for good if you don’t enjoy what you’re eating,” he told The Mirror in 2017.
“The NHS offers really sound advice about how to lose weight so I’ve taken this as the starting point for creating delicious low-calorie dishes people will want to eat every day.
“The cooking techniques mean there’s no compromise on flavour and you’re promised a generous plate of food! I’m hoping this will help more people to lose weight and still love what they eat.”
Dopamine directly affects the reward and pleasure centres in the brain and activation occurs for a number of reasons, including the sudden consumption of food.
Rather than a quick overnight fix, Tom realised he would have to plan what he was eating and which items he would ban.
“As a chef, I was grazing and snacking throughout service. Or I’d be eating cheese on toast and packets of crisps because they were quick and there and ready to go,” he told GQ.
“I was a big one to skip breakfast. I didn’t have any.”
It took 12 weeks for Tom to actually make the change after working out what recipes he would use and which foods he would ban.
Adding foods that are high in protein proved to be a recipe for success.
His diet has included eating vegetables, tinned beans and eggs as well as cutting out sugar, so that it stopped him snacking.
However, he managed to keep the weight off and still enjoyed some treats, including dark chocolate.
Tom called dairy products his ‘dopamine heroes’ and continued using full-fat cheese, milk, yoghurt and double cream into his recipes.
“There is nothing wrong with a flapjack in the afternoon when you get that 4pm lull if everything else is in place,” he added.
A self-confessed workaholic, Tom has grown a business empire which includes his two pub restaurants in Marlow, a central London restaurant, a head chef role at a VIP hospitality suite at Old Trafford.
It was announced last month that Tom has created the new in-flight food for British Airways’ economy cabin.
He also used his experience on losing weight to help others in a number of TV shows, including BBC series Lose Weight and Get Fit with Tom Kerridge in 2020, which is being repeated this month.
Tom admits one of the biggest changes that he faced alone was stopping boozing, but he has lost the concept of celebrating with a drink now.
“I stopped drinking all by myself,” he told The Mirror in July last year.
“I knew what I wanted to do and then I got on with it. It was all about mental strength. I have an addictive personality.
“People ask me whether I’m an alcoholic, but I think it could have been anything, it’s just that alcohol was the thing I found. Maybe I am an alcoholic, I don’t know.
“Some days are really, really hard and some days are easy. Most of the time it’s not relevant in my life. I channel all that old drinking energy into work now.”
Exercise is another important part of his life now and with gyms closed he has been running 20-25km a week to stay in shape.
When asked if he was happy with his weight, he said: “Is anyone ever happy with their weight? As a personality I’m quite extreme – a couple of years ago, I would lift the heaviest weights trying to tone muscle and put on nearly 3 stone. But that stopped in lockdown so I’ve shrunk back down again.
“It makes me feel a bit weak. I’m looking forward to getting back on it and to start lifting again. No doubt I’ll put weight on again… and then I’ll think I need to lose it.”
*Lose Weight and Get Fit with Tom Kerridge