When Tom Kerridge found his weight-loss journey flagging, he turned to new ingredients and new ideas to help him find his fire again
Five years ago, when I first set out to lose weight, I didn’t really have any specific targets in mind. It was basically about wanting to be healthier and feeling fitter so I could enjoy life more. At my heaviest, I weighed around 30 stone and it wasn’t easy, but I lost more than 12 stone through cutting out carbohydrates (pasta, bread, potatoes and rice) and alcohol, as well as swimming every day. I won’t lie: it was bloody hard work! But it felt amazing to see such positive results.
Saying that, something important I’ve learned in the past couple of years is that life is not a linear journey, especially when it comes to weight loss and health. Although I’m in a lot better shape than before, I’ve noticed that the scales are starting to creep back up again and that my clothes aren’t fitting quite the way I’d like them to any more. I could tell you the same old excuses about being busy at work, family commitments and responsibilities at home, but I know you’ve heard them a million times – you probably tell them to yourself! Whether I like it or not, there’s no denying it: I’m heading into middle age. I may still feel like the young man who loved to party, but my body is telling me otherwise. It’s now or never, and I don’t want to go back to where I was.
My initial weight-loss strategy concentrated mainly on what I was eating, but now I know that it’s to do with fitness as well. The food you eat directly affects your ability to stay fit, so the two working together is the secret formula for getting maximum results and maintaining those results long term. It’s all about finding a way to make both of these things a priority in your life.
People sometimes worry that they’re going to become boring or lose their personality if they start looking after themselves a bit more and change the way they eat. But remember that you’re still you! In fact, in a way, you’re even more you than you were before, because you’re now making decisions that are all about you. You’re taking control of your life in a way you weren’t before.
Sometimes I do miss those scrappy carefree days, when I ate and drank what I liked, and life was a bit more chaotic and spontaneous. But I wouldn’t swap how I feel now to go back to who I was then. Never. I love waking up with a clear head and having so much more energy to put into my family, and as a chef and businessman. I have more clarity and focus in all areas of my life. I love feeling healthier and buying clothes that fit me more easily. And I definitely don’t miss being out of breath just walking up a flight of stairs. It makes me happy knowing I’m looking after myself for my family and for me. I did it, and now you can do it too.
Extract taken from Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge (£22, Bloomsbury). Photography © Cristian Barnett