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With their love of rich food and drink, it’s no surprise that the Hairy Bikers, Dave Myers and Si King, have ballooned. While Dave weighs in at 17st 12lbs, Si is 19st 4lbs.
Now the pair have decided to halt the slide and gain control of their weight, which means rustling up healthy but tasty meals, and taking up exercise. Dave Myers tells TV Choice more about their new series, Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight, which charts their journey and will reveal a trimmer version of the duo by the time it ends!
Was there a moment that inspired your new health drive?
No. It’s something that’s been brewing for a long time. I think a lot of men are dreadful, including ourselves. I think women are maybe more supportive to each other as far as food is concerned. A lot of men will bravado it out. I love food. I was never an overweight child. I love food and I love drink. I love the whole social etiquette to it, and I do it for a living. Si and I are very good at it, but I think there comes a point where you take things in hand. Neither myself or Si, or most of the blokes that we know in the same situation, possess a set of scales. A man’s judgement of whether he’s losing or putting on weight is his belt.
Both you and Si were on medication for blood pressure and cholesterol weren’t you?
We are on the same prescription and I ran out of blood pressure tablets when we were in Italy. There was a time 20 years ago when Kingy would have taken a bottle of vodka or whatever, and I’d go to his room for a drink, but I went round there scrounging some Ramipril. And you think that’s ridiculous. That was one moment when we thought we’ve got to do something about it.
Has it been difficult coming up with recipes for Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight that are healthy but also tasty?
Not really. It’s difficult for myself and Kingy because we’ve always taken the opposite approach. We’ve just gone for the best that we can possibly have. But there’s a friend of ours who is a dietician, and she’s helped us. Also we worked with a dietician at Newcastle University. It’s about rethinking your way.
We had some surprises, like my healthy breakfast. I’d have a cooked breakfast one day and then a healthy one the next. The healthy one I would buy top-of-the-range muesli and pour a hearty bowl full. Then I’d put a banana, a few walnuts and some honey on top, and have it with semi-skimmed milk. That was coming in at 1,000 calories.
Will you be able to keep the weight off?
Yeah. We thought about that because there is no point in going down this route after a 30-year weight gain. I’ve roughly been on about 1,200 calories a day. For an average bloke to maintain his weight it’s 2,500 calories, so I’ve got another 1,200 in the bank.
What I want to do when I’m at home is cook fat-free, or less fattening meals during the week, and then cook the other stuff at weekends or when there’s an occasion.
Have your families been supportive?
Yeah. Our families are in the programme quite a lot. We’ve been quite honest about opening our homes and families to it.
My 17-year-old step daughter, who you’ll see in the programme, is quite feisty. She’s been quite vocal in the programme. I’ve got a pair of Diesel jeans that I bought 20 years ago that I never got into, and they’ve been in the wardrobe since. I bet her 500 quid at the start of this that I could get into them by the end of the series, and if she lost she will be my slave for a year!
My wife’s been supportive. I think my wife was quite happy to have a bit less of me! There an awful lot of clothes that we can now wear that we couldn’t.
Has this been the most personal series that the Hairy Bikers have done?
Yes it has. We’ve never been shy retiring bairns. I mean, standing there in your grundies knowing you’re the fattest you’ve ever been, it’s not very pleasant.
Also it’s the first time our families have been on the telly, and the cooking is done at our homes. We wanted it like that. We didn’t want it to be anything that was unachievable for people. To be fair, what we knew about diet recipes was pretty feeble. We knew about food and cooking, but it’s a way of making it sustainable and making it work. I think we’ve done that.
Did you ever stray from your healthy new regime?
We lost it one night. We drank far too much, felt wretched, and we put the weight back on that we’d lost for the whole week!
Are you hoping that you will inspire other men to get in shape?
I think so. It’s not a sexist thing because the recipes are great for everybody. I think maybe a lot of women will relate to it too. But I think being the over-weight middle-aged men which we are, then we can honestly speak, not preach, to fellow sufferers. I think it will inspire people because a lot of blokes don’t like it. I think for their health as well.