Tom Kerridge: Lose Weight For Good on BBC2
A Michelin-starred chef and a lower calorie diet plan wouldn't normally go hand in hand, right?
Tom begs to differ. With this TV series he was out to prove the 'd' word doesn't have to mean 'flavourless, bland and unexciting food'.
"I’m hoping this will help more people to lose weight and still love what they eat. They’ve all got strong reasons why they want or need to lose weight. So they’ve agreed to cut down their calorie intake, and in return I’m providing them with recipes they can make and enjoy at home.” Says Tom.
(If you'd like to know what your calorie allowance should be to lose weight, you can take a free trial of the wlr tools.)
The lowdown of the series
Tom Kerridge helped 13 people Lose Weight for Good over the 6 episodes of the series.
The dieters all came from Tom's local area and were a pretty diverse bunch. Amongst the group there was a vicar who loved horse riding but was too big for the smaller animals, a man who worked in a gym but didn't use it, a mum of four who had issues with comfort eating.
How does Lose Weight for Good Work?
Tom shed 12 stone himself over 4 years andwanted to use his culinary skills and expertise to inspire and help his diet gang to lose weight.
Tom used a low-carb plan for himself but said,
'That alienates a lot of people because they find cutting out bread, pasta and rice can be too restrictive.'
He felt that if you took something out of someone's diet that they love, they would hate it and they wouldn't stick to it.
He had devised a diet plan that followed NHS guidelines and is based on the principle that if you eat fewer calories and get moving, you will lose weight.
Yay! Just like the principles behind WLR!
There were some surprising additions to his menu - baked doughnuts instead of fried and kebabs that weren't all greasy and full of fat.
Review of Episode 1 - Comfort Food
The first episode focussed on comfort eating – a really good place to start in my opinion.
Tom met the diet gang at his pub over a lower calories breakfast, which included doughnuts!
They were supplied with a diet pack that included 15 recipes to be used over the following two weeks.
Tom cooked some of these recipes for us on the show and they looked absolutely gorgeous!
The Apple and Raisin Muffins at 190 cals each were very popular at the initial breakfast meeting. To cut back on fat and sugar, Tom used bananas instead of butter and sugar.
The One-Layer Lasagne made my mouth water! Tom roasted the lean beef mince before adding it to the sauce. He also replaced the pasta sheets with courgette – a bit like an Italian Hotpot.
To cut calories without losing flavour, the creamy topping is made from ricotta, grated mozzarella and a tablespoon of dried parmesan. It came out of the oven with a beautifully browned, crispy top. Gorgeous and only 495 cals per portion!
For takeaway lovers the Southern-Style Chicken is a must. To make is 385 cals per portion (3 pieces), it’s baked instead of fried but still has a crispy coating. A real, guilt-free treat.
The diet gang
This episode introduced Louise, Ozi and Leigh. All three have comfort eating issues. (Like a lot of us eh?)
Louise, 27 and 14 stone 9lbs, said that she ate to make herself feel okay.
‘Whenever I’m happy or feeling really sad or stressed, that’s when I will binge.’
She worked in a pub and found there was temptation everywhere, especially the crisps and nuts and drinks after the shift. Tom said,
‘Your social life doesn’t have to change but your outlook to social situations does change.’
Leigh’s problem seemed to be making time for herself. She was 39 and 20 stone 1lb and a very busy mum of four. Her time was spent focussed on the kids and she quite often got to 2pm without eating anything and would be starving!
‘I might not eat til about 2 o’clock because I haven’t thought about myself and then it’s binge, binge, binge, binge, binge, binge!’
For Ozi, loneliness seemed to be the issue. He was a full time stay at home dad who moved to the UK two years ago, leaving his support network and friends behind. He was 36 and 20 stone 2lb. He said that the biscuit barrel was his best friend.
All three seemed to be enjoying the new foods Tom had them cooking and eating. Louise said,
‘It’s flavours that I’ve never thought to put in something before. I’m learning something new each time I cook.’
The program was definitely coming from a sensible place with regards to weight loss – no fads, no products, just simple calorie counting – we loved it!
The gang lost 73lbs accumulatively over the first two weeks, so they were off to a good start.
Review of Episode 2 - Quick and Easy
We all have busy lives which is easy to use as an excuse to reach for convenience foods rather than spend time in the kitchen cooking something healthy.
This episode introduced 3 of the diet gang that lead really busy lives and have struggled to follow diets in the past because they don’t have a lot of time to spend prepping food or they have very little confidence in the kitchen.
In fact, one of them hadn't cooked since he was in the Scouts!
The diet gang
David was 45 and a commercial director for an airline. He weighed in at 23 stone 1lb. He never cooked! His new calorie limit was 2400 cals per day. He said,
‘Because I don’t have too much time, doing things that are quick and easy would be massively helpful to me.’
David was really worried about his health – heart attack, stroke etc.
Next up was Kayleigh. She was 31 and weighed 20 stone. She had a busy lifestyle taking care of her autistic son.
His sleep was an issue so they didn't get a huge amount of sleep at night. Her new calorie allowance was 1900 cals per day. She said,
‘I used to get like a sandwich and a steak slice, instead of just having a sandwich or a steak slice on its own. I’d have both.’
Kayleigh was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and wanted to lose weight to improve her health. Type 2 diabetes can be resolved with weight loss.
Wound care specialist nurse Sam is 38 and weighed 15 stone. Her job meant that she ate erratically. And was quite often tempted by biscuits and sweets from patients on the wards.
‘I tend to eat on the go so it’s often quick, sugary foods or something very carby. Sandwiches, stuff you can pull in at a garage and quickly ram down your throat.’
Sam was getting married at the end of the year and didn't want to start trying on dresses until she had lost some weight.
Getting married is quite often a motivation for weight loss that we come across at wlr – it’s good to have a goal in mind.
Since the first meeting, the diet gang had created a messaging group and were staying in touch with each other, giving support and chatting about how things were going. Tom said,
‘This is great news because it’s been shown that you are more likely to lose weight when you diet with others.’
That’s why wlr has the forums for members to encourage, support and share with each other! J
As mentioned earlier, David never cooked. So Tom popped round to help him out with a chicken casserole. Once cooked, David, his wife and two kids sat down to sample his ‘Dad Dinner’. It looked gorgeous and seemed to be a hit with the family. David said,
‘I can see with the cooking that actually gives you control over what you are eating. You can’t help but love what you’ve created for yourself to eat in the evening because I’m actually involved in the process.’
I’m sure his wife was very happy to see David in the kitchen!
Pasta is not that high in calories – the issue normally lies with the sauce. Tom’s first recipe was for Pea & ham pasta. This dish is cooked in just 10 minutes but isn’t stingy with taste.
Tom used ‘snail’ pasta but said penne or fusilli would work just as well. He also used anchovies for flavour – he said don’t view them as fish, see it as a salty flavour kick to anything you add it to.
For the creaminess that you would normally get with a carbonara style dish but without all the calories, he used half fat crème fraiche. This dish was 585 calories per portion.
His next recipe was for courgette fritters that he got Sam to make for lunch. She got her cooks tool kit that all the diet gang got at the first meeting, out of the top cupboard and the items inside still had the label on! Tom said,
‘So the label’s still on it, the tool kit was in the cupboard, highest up!’
The courgette fritters take around 20 minutes to prep and cook and were served with a fresh salad for a great lunch. At 218 cals for four, a quick and easy lunch that doesn’t break the calorie bank.
The next recipe was Scrambled Cajun Eggs. Eggs are a brilliant start to the day and will help combat mid morning snacking because they will keep you fuller for longer.
Light single cream, 4 eggs, red onion, green pepper, kale, baby spinach, Cajun spice all combined to make a really tasty looking brekkie that came in at just 310 cals and sets you up for the day.
Tom says that denying ourselves our favourite foods is setting us up to fail. So his next recipe was for French apple tarts with 0 fat Greek yoghurt and maple syrup topping with chia seeds.
Using low fat puff pastry, some crisp, sharp, green eating apples, a little dollop of apricot jam, this recipe looked delicious and would make a great, lower calorie pudding. Each tart was 325 cals.
The next recipe was an easy pizza made from flour tortilla, chopped tomatoes, puree, half fat grated mozzarella, dried parmesan, garlic, oregano, anchovies, olives, sun blush tomatoes, capers, salami, courgette, mushrooms and Parma ham – loads of topping on these beauties! 440 cals per pizza.
Tom invited David, Kayleigh and Sam over for a fish supper. He made Fish-in-a-bag Chinese style. Well, I say he made, he showed the diet gang how to make their own. I could almost smell the deliciousness through the TV!
A really straight forward dish but impressive enough for a dinner party. Served with a portion of jasmine rice, the fish dish was 550 cals per serving.
The diet gang had lost 63lbs in the last two weeks. Even Ozi, who actually gained in the first two weeks, was now seeing a downward trend on the scales. Sam had lost 9lbs and Kayleigh had lost 11lb. David had managed to lose an impressive 1 and a half stone!
A steady weight loss of 1-2lbs a week is recommended, however, starting from a higher weight, David was experiencing a higher weight loss, even though he was eating the same recipes as the others.
This is pretty normal for someone of David’s size but the boost he must he must have felt would help keep him going!
Review of Episode 3 - Special Treats
(First aired Wednesday 18th January 2018)
This episode looked at special treats and we met the three members of the diet gang that regularly go to restaurants and enjoy dinner parties. The recipes included an indulgent chocolate pot and Tom showed one of the diet gang how to cook a low calorie three course meal for friends.
The diet gang
Jenny was a Church of England vicar with a real passion for food and dinner parties. She weighed in at 15 stone 4lbs and her new calorie limit was 1500 per day. She said,
‘It’s in the bible actually, about feasting and fasting but I think I’ve lost track of the fasting bit of life!’
Jenny’s reason for committing to a diet is because she loves horse riding and would like to be able to ride the smaller horses, but she was limited because of her weight. She ultimately wanted to lose 5 stone. Her and Tom talked about the 12 weeks that they would be following his recipes and then continuing it beyond that as a way of life.
Sandra was an event manager. Her job meant that she was often wined and dined and she attended food tasting events regularly. She often went out to dinner parties and her life seemed to revolve around food.
She weighed in at 14 stone 3lbs and her new daily calorie allowance was 1500. She said,
‘Eating food and drinking, they’re one of the pleasures of life.’
She'd been looking for a dietary plan that fits with her lifestyle for a while. She said,
‘I’ve tried lots of them. You know, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, so therefore I’m trying several diets before I find the right one.’
She wanted to look good in her graduation pictures when she finished her master’s degree.
Kai was a photographer. He quite often got home really late and would be starving. So on the way home, even knowing that he would be going out for dinner, he would stop and get something to eat. His weight was 17 stone 12lbs. At 6’2” (and being a man) his new daily calorie allowance was 2100.
Kai loved food but he didn't cook – his fiancé normally cooked everything. Tom popped in to help him prepare an 800 calorie, three course meal for a dinner party.
Kai’s weight gain actually came from two sensible choices he made a few years ago – he gave up drinking and then quit smoking. He said,
‘I just thought anything I was doing without drinking was a bonus at that time. But nobody said to me, you know, you’re eating 10 pieces of toast! With thick butter and marmalade on. So I noticed my weight shoot up after I stopped drinking and smoking.’
Kai was getting married soon and wanted to look good for the big day.
The whole diet gang decided to meet for a family BBQ, all set up by Ozi. Everyone brought a low cal food to either go on the BBQ or as a side and, even though the weather wasn’t great, they all had a fab time – just another example of how changing your eating habits doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life and that surrounding yourself with people on the same mission can really help you reach your goal!
The diet gang were about half way through the 12 weeks in this episode. And because they had all lost weight, their calorie count needed to come down a little. Tom explained that to them and said the new count would be from now. For most of them the change would be quite small.
Jenny had lost 8 ½lbs so far, Sandra had lost 11lbs but Kai had lost a stone and a half! The group's overall loss was slowing down a little, as you would expect, but they were ticking along nicely.
Beef stroganoff was first. This creamy dish looked amazing and by tenderising the rump steak and flattening it, Tom made a small amount of steak go a long way! Instead of using stock, he used beef consommé which is lower in calories. This came in at 795 calories per serving. Quite a lot of calories but for a special occasion it’s a delicious dish.
Italian style sea food pot. Loads of veg and taste in this dish with a bit of orzo pasta and loads of protein with the fish. This pasta recipe came in at 400 calories a portion.
Tomato, ricotta & basil salad was the next recipe. Tom’s new take on a Tricolore Salad. He swapped mozzarella for ricotta and made a low calorie, no oil dressing for the salad meaning the calorie count for the dish was just 150. He also took a blow torch to the tomatoes to give the whole dish a lovely charred taste. A great starter or a lunch.
Tom made the Coffee & chocolate custard pots for Jenny and Sandra to taste. He added an unconventional aromatic flavour to give the desert a kick – ground cardamom! These were really simple to make with low fat ready-made custard as the base and just 155 cals each. The girls said their ideal desert would involve chocolate and cream – these were just perfect!
Another recipe that Tom had sent to the group was Soy-glazed salmon salad. With ginger, garlic, light soy sauce, mushroom ketchup and hot chilli sauce as a marinade. 320 calories!
Review of Episode 4 - Takeaway Alternatives
(First aired 24th January 2018)
In the series so far, Tom had created comfort food recipes geared towards the emotional eaters in the group. He had given the gang quick and easy recipes designed to fit into their busy lifestyles. And last time it was special treats designed to appeal to the foodies in the group. In this epiosde, Tom faced his biggest food challenge yet.
A couple of the lads in the group had been sneaking off for cheeky takeaways and he was worried that they might give up altogether. So lower calorie alternatives to takeaways and ready meals were needed.
Doner kebabs are a post-pub favourite but typically exceed 1,000 calories. Tom reckoned he could transform this nutritional horror story using some simple but clever tricks.
The diet gang
This week, we met Pittri and Tom.
Tom weighed in at 22 stone 8lbs and his calorie allowance is 2700 per day. His uncle died of a heart attack at just 42 and he didn't want to follow in his footsteps. He said,
“I’m 22 and 23 stone. I have more stones than my age.”
Pittri was 22 stone. His new calorie limit was 2400 per day. Pittri was a carb king – he loved chips, crisps, mashed potato, chip shop chips, roast potatoes, he said he could eat them all day. But he had some clothes that he loved and wasn't able to get into them, so that was his motivation to trim down.
He lost 7lbs in the first few weeks but in the last month he had only lost 1lb – he'd had a few slip ups with burgers and takeaways. He seems to think he can have cheat days! He also manages a gym but doesn’t use it! Tom said that needed to change.
All of the diet gang were stepping up their activity and really feeling the benefit of it. But 7 weeks in and things weren't running as smoothly for Kayleigh. She'd had a lot going on and was feeling really stressed which was leading her to want to binge and give up. Tom suggested that if she really felt the need to binge, to do that with the recipes that Tom had been supplying the gang.
Tom had lost 22lbs as at week 7. Sam, Leigh and Andy had all lost a stone. Pettri had put a couple of pounds on but Tom was hoping that after showing him the takeaway recipes, Pittri would get back on track.
The first recipe Tom did this week was a low calorie doner kebab. To help make it lower calorie, Tom used lean lamb mince and leg of lamb instead of the breast meat that is normally used. The doners came in at 650 calories and, although you wouldn’t want to cook them when you get home from the pub, they did look amazing – you could always have some ready to warm through when you get home!
The guys in the diet gang were having issues missing their burgers as well as doner kebabs, so the next recipe would definitely help if burgers were your thing. Turkey and courgette burgers.
These were made with lean turkey mince and grated courgette to bulk them out. They even had cheese on top in the form of half fat mozzarella. He popped the burgers in a wholemeal bun on top of a slice of fresh tomato, a bed of rocket and served with coleslaw. 605 calories per portion and they looked amazing! I think this is one that I’m definitely going to trial on the kids!
Baked spiced doughnuts were the next recipe. They looked just as good as the deep fried ring doughnuts but with way less calories. I could almost smell them through the TV! These beauties are just 120 calories each and really hit the spot if you have a craving for sweet stuff.
Tom invited Tom and Pittri round for chicken tikka masala. Traditionally made, this dish is really high in calories and fat. But Tom had managed to serve up a dish that looked exactly the same for a lot less calories and fat – just 640 calories including the rice. Tom and Pittri seemed to really enjoy their takeaway alternative. Pittri said you wouldn’t know it was a lower calorie dish.
Review of Episode 5 – Moveable Feasts
(First aired 14th January 2018)
The diet gang needed recipes they could prepare for work and when they were on the go so in this episode, Tom looked at what he called Moveable Feasts.
The guys were eight weeks in. Tom and Beth were the only couple taking part. They liked to meet with friends and eat out. So, Tom helped them make better choices. And he surprised one of the diet gang at work.
The Diet Gang
This week we met Beth and Andy.
Beth is with Tom that we met in a previous episode. They took the popcorn bars on date night to the cinema. They have been together over a year and Beth says, when they first started going out they were out for meals etc. She put on about 2 stone. She weighed in at 12 stone 3lbs and her new calorie allowance was 1600 a day. She said,
‘When me and Tom got together we’d go out for a lot of meals or he’d come round here and we’d get like four takeaways a week, which is quite a lot.’
They’ve been cooking a lot more since being on Tom’s plan. But they still wanted to enjoy going out with friends. Tom joined them on a night out with friends and helped them to make better choices from the menu. A lot of restaurants now have the calories for meals on their menus which makes choosing, when you’re trying to watch your weight, easier.
Andy worked for the Metropolitan Police. He made a three course meal for colleagues – tomato soup, tortilla and strawberry cheesecake made with Quark. He said,
‘When you’re at the coal face, at the front line and dealing with the unpredictable nature of policing, that’s when the real challenges come and that’s when you eat the biscuits, you eat the cakes, you eat perhaps too many kebabs.’
Andy wanted to lose weight for his silver wedding anniversary. He and his wife were going to Barbados and he wanted to look good on the beach and in pictures.
Tom surprised Sam at work. She was a nurse and had very dodgy eating habits that she said had all changed. Her colleagues said that she was doing really well. She had lost a stone and felt comfortable enough to go and start looking at wedding dresses! She said she felt much more prepared when it came to meals and that was really helping her lose weight.
Kai arranged a photo shoot with the diet gang to document how far they had come and celebrate their newfound confidence. The whole team could see changes in each other. And some of the ladies, who always hated having their photo taken, felt a bit better because of their new body shapes.
10 out of the 13 diet gang had lost a stone or more so far.
The first recipe was for some chocolately snack bars coming in at just 90 calories each. The batch of popcorn bars makes 20 as well so you can have them in the fridge for when you need a sweet hit. These seemed really easy to make and had chocolate, cranberries, popcorn and puffed rice cereal in them. Yum! They looked just like Rocky Road with popcorn.
A spicy Mexican wrap was next – sweet potato and black bean burritos. This recipe did take quite a bit of prep but looked amazing when they were ready. Packed with flavour and fibre, these wraps came in at 685 calories – ideal for people with a higher calorie allowance or a physical job.
The next recipe was perfect to pop into a container and take to work for lunch. Tuna Nicoise salad. Tom invited Beth, Louise and Kai over to show them how to make it. Both Beth and Louise weren't fans of fish but both enjoyed this dish. Louise said,
‘I think the last time I had fish, I was about 10.’
‘I always associate tuna with cat food, but this isn’t cat food at all!’
The Tuna Nicoise came in at just 350 calories per portion.
Tom made a Mediterranean veg tart that could also be taken to work as a packed lunch. Loads of veg, loads of flavour and a touch of goat’s cheese in this one. This came in at 400 calories per portion but did take a while to prep.
Review of Episode 6 – Made for Sharing
(First aired 21st February 2018)
This was the last episode in the series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching and reviewing this series for you and will miss the yummy recipes and down-to-earth attitude to lifestyle change.
The diet gang have been following a calorie controlled diet using Tom’s recipes for the last 10 weeks. All of them have lost weight and gained confidence. This time, Tom tackled social eating with the group. Tom said,
‘It brings us together. Just because you’re trying to lose weight, shouldn’t mean that you have to miss out.’
Tom invited the diet gang to a celebration party on a boat to mark the end of their 12 weeks together and made sure the buffet was all low calorie. On the menu was crisp falafel with tzatziki dip, slow cooked pulled pork tacos and griddled veg, halloumi and cous cous salad. Tom even made a low calorie carrot cake for pudding.
The Diet Gang
Sandra held a graduation party and gave Tom’s griddled veg and halloumi salad its debut. At the beginning of the 10 weeks, Sandra wanted to lose weight to look better in her graduation pictures. She'd lost 15lbs.
Young Tom from the diet gang is a twin. Since starting with chef Tom he had lost 22lbs. Chef Tom tried to persuade young Tom’s twin to join his brother, Chris, and start losing some weight. Young Tom said that meeting chef Tom had inspired him – meeting someone who had done it and come out the other side. He was hoping that introducing Tom to Chris would help him be inspired too. At the end of the program, young Tom revealed that his brother had been using the recipes for a few days. So Chef Tom’s chat seemed to have worked!
Nurse Sam was hoping to lose enough weight to do a tandem sky dive as well as try on wedding dresses. Tom joined her in time to see her take the plunge for charity! She needed to be below 15 stone and, after following Tom's regime, weighed 13 stone 10lbs. She said,
‘To have achieved it and lost weight to be able to do it is unbelievable. I am really proud of myself.’
Kayleigh had a big reason to lose weight at the beginning because she had very high blood pressure and was diabetic. Tom said,
‘Kayleigh has made real progress. She has lost 17lbs since we started.’
Tom accompanied her to a hospital appointment where they did her blood pressure and tested her blood. Her blood pressure had come down and, amazingly, she was no longer diabetic! She revealed the last fact to Tom at the celebration on the boat – they both became a little emotional. I have to be honest, so did I! She said,
‘In December I was dying and I didn’t even know I was dying, it was so bad. And now I’m alive again. Simple as that.’
The group lost 18 stone 10lbs in total between them!
Sam has since married her fiancé and Kai and Emma have also tied the knot. Ozzy has started his own healthy fast food business! Detective Andy celebrated his silver wedding anniversary in new shorts and Leah glowed with confidence at her 40th birthday party.
‘There have been lots of things that have come out of this program but, for me as a chef, the guys are actually loving the food and still losing weight. Now that has to be a perfect recipe for success.
The griddled veg, halloumi and cous cous salad had a no oil dressing and, with red and yellow peppers, looked stunning on the plate. The no oil dressing was made from red wine vinegar, water, Italian herbs, garlic powder, granulated sweetener with a bit of corn flour to give the consistency of an oil-like dressing, finished off with chopped flat leaf parsley – it looked just like an oil-based dressing and went down well with the diet gang. This came in at 295 calories per serving as part of the buffet.
The next recipe looked like it should have been loads of calories but came in at 450 calories per portion – Pulled pork tacos. Brilliant for sharing, even if they do take a bit of time to prep. They looked really tasty and the tacos, made from soft tortillas, looked lovely and crisp. Tom quick pickled some red onions to garnish the tacos and they came out a gorgeous pink colour.
The baked falafels with tzatziki were really simple to make and a great buffet food. Because of the chickpeas, I would imagine they are quite filling too! Each falafel was 75 calories, they were baked rather than fried. Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
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