Tom Kerridge credits 'happy' diet change with helping achieve 12st weight loss

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Tom pictured in January 2018, looking slim and happy (Image: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Laz)
Tom pictured in January 2018, looking slim and happy (Image: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Laz)

Successful chef and pub owner Tom Kerridge is well known for creating mouth-watering dishes, but also for his incredible weight loss journey. The Masterchef the Professionals star, who appears in The Hidden World of Hospitality with Tom Kerridge on BBC Two tonight, completely turned his life around after fearing he was going to die young.

When he turned 40, the Michelin star chef weighed 30 stone, and would go on massive drinking sessions, which usually started with a pint of Negroni, an Italian cocktail made with gin, vermouth and Campari, before going on to sink a whopping 15 pints.

However, after a massive drinking session, just before he approached his 40th birthday, he realised he had to make a change, and decided to ditch alcohol. Speaking on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, he said: "I went cold turkey. One day that was it. I have completely destroyed alcohol for myself."

Tom Kerridge credits 'happy' diet change with helping achieve 12st weight loss erideuiqtqiqdrinvTom weighed 30 stone when he decided to turn his life round (PA)

As well as ditching booze, he managed to lose a staggering 12 stone in five years thanks to a simple change to his diet. He decided to cut down on the amount of carbs he was consuming, and started following the dopamine diet. This focuses on eating dopamine-inducing foods which are delicious and satisfying.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, he claimed he was "mortified" by how he used to look. He said: "Say we live to 80. Well, I thought, I'm halfway there. And then I thought... I'm not going to get there. If I'm like this, I'm not going to make it."

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Tom Kerridge credits 'happy' diet change with helping achieve 12st weight lossTom lost a whopping 12st thanks to overhauling his diet (BBC/Bone Soup Productions LTD/Richard Hill)
Tom Kerridge credits 'happy' diet change with helping achieve 12st weight lossHe ditched the booze completely (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Montblanc)

Dopamine is a "happy" hormone, which transits signals between nerve cells in the brain. Eating food causes dopamine to surge in our body, especially after eating sugary, fatty food. But in theory, protein-rich food should give the same effect, and is a lot better for you.

"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 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."

Tom Kerridge credits 'happy' diet change with helping achieve 12st weight lossTom follows the dopamine diet (Phil Harris)

Tom realised this wouldn't be a quick fix, so had to make a plan for what he would eat, and which foods he needed to remove from his diet. It took him 12 weeks to make the change and decide which recipes he would use. He told GQ: "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. I was a big one to skip breakfast. I didn't have any."

In order to achieve his transformation, Tom added foods that were high in protein, including vegetables, tinned beans and eggs, as well as cutting out sugar so that he wasn't tempted to snack. Tom, who wrote a book about his health journey, eventually lost the weight, while still enjoying some treats, including dark chocolate.

Because he followed the dopamine diet, he was still able to enjoy dairy products, which he called his "dopamine heroes" - such as full-fat cheese, milk, yoghurt and double cream. He added: "There is nothing wrong with a flapjack in the afternoon when you get that 4pm lull if everything else is in place."

Tom Kerridge credits 'happy' diet change with helping achieve 12st weight lossTom eats plenty of protein (BBC/Bone Soup Productions LTD/Richard Hill)

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 also important for Tom in order to stay in shape.

Tom, a self-confessed workaholic, has grown a business empire including two pub restaurants in Marlow, as well as a restaurant in central London and Kerridge's Fish and Chips at Harrods.

*The Hidden World of Hospitality with Tom Kerridge airs on BBC Two 8pm

Ariane Sohrabi-Shiraz

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