Chef Tom Kerridge is half the man he used to be. And he’s happier than he has been a long time.
The well-known celebrity chef, who spoke to Sean O’Rourke on the Today programme, runs a Michelin two star pub in Marlow in Buckinghamshire called The Hand and Flowers and its sister restaurant The Coach.
He’s a TV regular on Saturday Kitchen, Bake Off: Crème de la Crème, and he’s had his own shows too, including Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food.
But as he built his career, he was not shy about enjoying some of the most indulgent food and drink on offer, both in his own establishments and elsewhere.
“At my best eating and drinking powers, I must have been pushing 30 stone. I am 117 kg now, about 18 stone. Still a big lad, still a way to go. But the hard part is done.”
In particular, he reflected on his own-indulgence in of the most fattening, high sugar, high carbohydrate tipples ever invented by mankind: beer.
“I was an Olympic beer drinker. I was the Sir Steve Redgrave of lager drinking.”
Three years later, and 11 stone lighter, Tom looks back on how he managed to achieve such extraordinary weight loss, and yet, curiously, not miss his heavily indulgent diet of old. And based on his success, he has now written a new book, entitled My Dopamine Diet.
“The name of the diet came in retrospect, looking at how I have done it,” says Tom. By this, he means that he managed to lose weight while still eating food that made him happy. Being a well-known pub chef, it is probably unsurprising that one of his favourite dishes is traditional steak. However, it was traditional accompaniment to steak that was the real killer: the humble chip, loaded with carbohydrates. And by cutting this out, he could focus on the real, enjoyable part of the meal, the steak itself.
In other words, the meal still made him happy. And by maintaining his ability to enjoy his food, he was able to maintain the release of dopamine in the brain, the chemical that stimulates happiness.
“Dopamine…the happy chemical in your brain. I’ve done it because this is food that makes me happy. This is a way of keeping a diet longer term. It focuses on food that you can eat, you like eating, you enjoy eating. So you are not worrying about what you are missing, you are really looking forward to having to your dinner.”
My Dopamine Diet by Tom Kerridge, is published by Absolute Press, and retails at £20 sterling.
And to listen to Tom’s full interview with Sean O’Rourke, click here.
Photo credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
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