In a recent interview with The Times, the outspoken 51-year-old revealed the reason behind this, saying his wife, Tana (41) basically gave him an ultimatum: Lose weight or their 12-year-old marriage is over.
“Tana was not impressed with the way I was,” the Kitchen Nightmares host said. “I was overweight, 18 stone [114kg]. I looked like a sack of s**t.
“I look at the pictures and think, ‘How did Tana stay around?’ because Tana has got better-looking and more gorgeous. And there she is, getting in bed with a fat f***.”
He admits his wife is a big “fitness fan” and she told him he was “getting fat”.
At the time he was working long hours which left him with little time to eat proper healthy meals, so he resorted to snacking, Daily Mail reports.
“It was painful. I used to look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘Holy s***!’ So it was a big wake-up call.”
Despite his busy schedule he hired a personal trainer and started “focussing on getting super-fit.”
“You get consumed by the work. You get sucked up . . . All of a sudden your ‘me time’ is zero.
“I don’t want my industry to kill me. I know how unhealthy chefs are at the top level. Stress. Suicide. There’s a big downside to cooking loads for a living. It’s lethal: From obesity to heart attacks to cocaine habits. I was scared for my life.”
Holidays with family friends, retired footballer David Beckham and his fashion designer wife, Victoria, also motivated him. As did the death of his father at the age of 53 due to a heart attack.
“That’s only a couple of years’ time. I’ve got this reminder to get fit, it’s scary. I get the fear on a daily basis.”
Hiring an ex-army captain he went on a military-style regime involving long-distance swimming, rowing and three hour-long workouts on a gym bike every week.
Today he’s a fan of endurance events and weighs a healthy 87 kg. “I’m enjoying life now.”
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One of the most incredible feelings ever sat in the water on the start line minutes before the cannon goes off @im.kona good luck to all the athletes taking part and a big thank you to all the supporters and helpers @iamspecialized_tri @ironmantri ,let the island come to you. Best wishes and race safe. Next year I'm coming back can't wait