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Tom Kerridge in a cream jacket in a kitchen© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Tom Kerridge's incredible 12-stone weight loss after following famous diet

The Tom Kerridge Cooks Britain star was previously 30 stone

Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
July 4, 2024
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Tom Kerridge has been inundated with questions about his weight loss secrets since he shed 12 stone in 2015. 

At his heaviest, the Michelin-starred chef was 30 stone, but he adopted his famed "dopamine diet" to lose weight, before tweaking his methods to focus on the long-term benefits of a balanced diet and exercise routine. 

Tom Kerridge laughing in a white tee
Tom Kerridge lost 12 stone in 2015

Working as a chef, Tom knows exactly how to whip up delicious food using British ingredients packed with nutritional value – which he has been sharing with fans through books such as Fresh Start and his latest TV show, Tom Kerridge Cooks Britain.

Take a look at everything Tom has said about his weight loss, diet and fitness…

Diet overhaul

Tom Kerridge poking his tongue out
The Tom Kerridge Cooks Britain star discussed his diet secrets

Tom admitted that his job as a chef saw him taste-tasting a lot of indulgent food and relying on quick and easy meals that fit around his work schedule.

"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. And I was a big one to skip breakfast. I didn’t have any," he told GQ.

Tom said his weight loss journey was not a quick fix, but a gradual shift in his goals and habits.

The 50-year-old previously told the Irish News: "For me, it probably took about 12 weeks, maybe longer, before I made the decision, before I actually made the change. It was January, so it was a New Year’s kind of thing. You can’t just walk into changing your life. You can’t just wake up one morning and go, 'This is what I’m going to do'. 

"Particularly for food, which is quite habitual. It’s working out a route that you are going to go down. A very simple example of this is recipes, an understanding of what you’re going to cook. You have to plan going out and buying it."

Tom Kerridge in an apron© Dave Benett
The Michelin-star chef revealed he was snacking on indulgent food while he cooked

Tom also confessed that "convenience food" was one of his biggest bad habits. "Ready meals and takeaways are simple and quick but living off processed food comes at a cost."

He cut out pasta, bread, potatoes, rice and alcohol and started cooking healthier, less processed meals at home with his family.

The dopamine diet

Tom Kerridge eating noodles© Instagram
Tom previously cut out foods such as pasta, bread and rice

Tom created the diet and it centres around Dopamine, aka the "happy" hormone. According to BBC’s Dietitian Emer Delaney: "Dopamine is a neurotransmitter - a chemical that is responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain.

"Dopamine directly affects the reward and pleasure centres in the brain, which in turn affects mood. Its activation occurs for a number of reasons, including the sudden availability of food."

The dopamine diet doesn’t include alcohol, is low in carbohydrates and incorporates smaller portions and regular meals to keep mood and blood sugar levels in check. But fear not, dark chocolate is allowed! 

Some of Tom’s most popular meals include fried halloumi salad and shepherd’s pie with creamy cauliflower mash. Tom deems dairy products 'dopamine heroes', and he includes full-fat cheese, milk, yoghurt and double cream in his recipes.

tom kerridge
The celebrity chef suggested cutting down on processed foods and cooking homemade meals

According to the Lose Weight for Good author, finding the time to eat proper, homemade food together is one of life’s biggest pleasures. "The first step is to cook more fresh food from scratch and thereby reduce the amount of convenience food consumed," he said.

"This is where it all begins – and needs to continue. For non-cooks, this means learning to cook and building confidence. For lapsed cooks, this means dusting off the apron and rebooting old skills."

Exercise routine

As well as food, Tom also changed his mindset about exercise. The Food & Drink star discussed what workout helped him shed weight during his appearance on Desert Island Discs. 

"Exercise is big, so I started off by swimming. I’d swim a mile and I’d swim it really slowly and I wouldn’t give up. It’s a big step to get into a swimming pool being that big. Being conscious of your body and worrying about it," he said.

"It’s not just going to the gym where you’ve got clothes on, you’re just walking around in your pants essentially. Swimming is very good because you become isolated. No one can talk to you, your phone doesn’t ring. You’re on your own."

Leniency after lockdown

Tom Kerridge's weights on a mat© Instagram
Tom has turned to weight training and cardio

Tom has been open about how his diet and exercise routine has changed over time. Following the coronavirus pandemic, he became more lenient since he was unable to head to the gym and spent more time cooking delicious meals at home.

"I haven’t been able to get to the gym, obviously, and I haven’t got any free weights at home, so I’ve lost a load of strength but I’ve taken up running," he told The Guardian in 2020, before confessing he "hates every minute" of his 25-kilometre runs.

The strict no-carb and swimming regime morphed into weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and a balanced diet including indulgent foods such as homemade fish and chips with his deep-fat fryer.

READ NEXT: MasterChef star John Torode's 3st weight loss explained

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