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Ben Dirs | 14:00 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

In the first of a series of blogs, Ben Dirs outlined why he set upon the path to fitness. In the second, he described his early struggles. In the third, all the hard work was starting to pay off. In the fourth and final instalment, we discover just how far he has come.

An odd thing happened the other day: an old friend, not noted for his love of healthy eating, called me from a supermarket to ask what he should buy for dinner. From bafflement to mild curiosity, suddenly my quest for fitness is all anyone wants to talk to me about. And as they pump me for tips and pointers, I can sense what they are thinking: if this muppet can pull this off, then maybe I can, too.

Not everyone has been supportive. One work colleague who got sucked into my world of no carbs, spinach-based meals and twice-daily exercise accused me of ruining his life. Let's be honest, it couldn't have been much of a life.

In addition, while my first two blogs garnered an almost unanimously positive response, negativity had seeped in by the third. It is an insight into the British psyche - as someone pointed out, everyone is happy to get behind a fat bloke, but once a fat bloke starts becoming a thin bloke, the knives come out.

From the outset, I said the point of these blogs was two-fold: first, to get myself in some sort of nick; subsequently, to show that anyone else can get in some sort of nick, too. Writing about oneself is self-indulgent - that is a given. But the underlying hope was that my experiences would resonate with the reader: the bloke who is getting married in the summer, the woman with a beach holiday booked, my mate who is embarrassed to take his T-shirt off in the marital boudoir. You know who you are.

Ben Dirs

"Don't be fooled by the ribs that I got - I'm still, I'm still Benny from the block..."

My six weeks are up, the figures are in: 20lbs shed, my body fat down by 7.5%. Even Matt Lovell, RFU and Tottenham Hotspur nutritionist and the man who set me on the path to fitness, looked shocked. I have not been this trim since I was 18. Which is grand, but also slightly depressing: all these years I have been cooking on half gas.

I never quite made middleweight, but as I write I am bang on the 12st super-middleweight limit. As for that six-pack... well, almost. It is there, I can see it, peering through the fur on my stomach like an old friend at a frosted window. I knew I should have shaved.

Of course I am going to say this now, but the six-pack was only ever a journalistic flight, there was always a more prosaic side to the mission. What if I had to save someone from a burning building? What if I got started on by a gang of school kids? In both cases, I probably would have been rubbered. Now? I reckon I could even have some of you.

John Houston, who runs South Moreton Boxing Club, might disagree. Houston's gym, set up in a converted barn in the Oxfordshire countryside, seemed as good a place as any to gauge how far I had come. "Get yourself down here for six thirty am," said Houston over the phone, "we'll be all wrapped up by eight." Turns out he meant pm.

I negotiate the morning 'squad' session just fine. It is when I pull the gloves on that things go awry. As Houston barks out the intended combinations, it occurs to me that pad-work is like a violent version of Simon Says. "One" for a jab, "two" for a cross, "three" for a hook to the body, "four" for a hook to the head.

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Ben Dirs is put through the mill by boxing trainer John Houston

Former boxer Mark Kaylor summed it up best: "I'm concentrating so much I don't know what I'm doing half the time." He was a British champion, so what chance did I have.

Before I know it, Houston's got the headguard on me and we are ready for a spar. That is I think I am ready, until it occurs to me Houston has neglected to teach me any defence. To Houston, a man who has fought Julius Francis - who in turn fought Mike Tyson - my jab must feel like a stick of rhubarb.

As he sags on the ropes, allowing me to tee off on his midriff, I try to think of someone I hate in the world. Problem is, I don't really hate anyone, but into my head pops Lionel Blair. By round three, I am so lacking in crackle, Blair's superior footwork would probably have given him the edge.

Fortunately, Houston is a kind man. "You've gone from unconscious incompetence, where you didn't know what you were doing and you couldn't do it anyway, to conscious incompetence, so you're aware of the mistakes you're making. And now you're aware of what you're doing wrong, you're on the road to doing it right," he explains.

No matter, I was never going to make it as a boxer anyway. But that is not the point, which is at least I was fit enough to give it a go in the first place.

Ben Dirs

Once upon a time in Romford... Dirs was the man who lost everything - except his beer gut

Having got myself in some semblance of shape, I realise the lessons can be applied to other areas of my life. I recently signed up to write a book, 70,000 words in less than two months. For those wondering what that equates to, it equates to borderline madness. But I am up for it, bring it on. I banged out 5,000 words on the first day, and I have not done that since I was writing my dissertation. And I copied most of that.

Getting fit has its downsides. Remember that girl from the first blog? The one DEPMUD TOG I by? We met up. I decided to drink white wine (schoolboy error: I went straight, she was on spritzers). It ended badly. Luckily, if I have a philosophy in life it is that whatever does not kill you will make a funny story. Eventually.

The four healthy meals a day, the exercise, none of it was too painful. No cravings, and despite the melodrama, the body stood up just fine. But the human mind can be a nasty piece of work: "You're quite fit now, pal," it whispers, "you might as well have a fag." As a wise man once said, "giving up smoking is easy, I've done it hundreds of times".

Where do I go from here? Helpful friends have suggested I just get even fatter than I was before, like De Niro in Raging Bull - "I remember those cheers, they still ring in my ears" - but I will pay no heed. However, the general consensus is I need "a hook".

"You could be a classic case of dropping out of exercise in the next three months, the interest waning," says Houston, "because you don't have that sports history behind you, which reinforces why you're exercising in the first place.

"There's no point in driving into you 'you must be fit, you must train' because eventually your brain will be like 'for what? Why don't I just go down the pub?' There has to be a hook." Mañana, John, hooks can wait until mañana...

In Mission Impossible 2, I posed the question: "Take away the booze and fags and who am I?" The answer? I am the same person, except without the booze and fags. The booze, the fags, the burgers, the pizzas and the lack of exercise, they only define you if you allow them to. Bit deep? Forgive me, it has been an emotional six weeks.

To those who have been inspired to follow in my footsteps, you will not regret it. You might not be running a marathon or cycling to Paris any time soon, but you will definitely look better striding through the house in your smalls. And to all the girls I've loved before - sorry, it could have been so much better.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about - or on the sofa - at 


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm weeping Dirs...literally weeping. I can almost hear Julio Iglesias.

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh and you've committed journalistic predicted.

  • Comment number 3.

    Not that you need anyone else to tell you, but well done!

    Having done something similar recently, it's good to hear someone else making the same sort of changes.

    Hooks though. Definitely a good thing...first half-marathon coming up for me!

  • Comment number 4.

    Well Done Ben...and good for you! may have to try this exercise and diet thing myself one day.

  • Comment number 5.

    Top work Dirs. A real show of determination to succeed in such a lifestyle change.

    Out of curiosity, will you continue the diet? I've known of people that, whilst clinging to such an eating style, built such strong anti-bad carb walls within themselves that when the time came to celebrate with a nice big pile of rice with a Madras, they found themselves seriously struggling to allow themselves the pleasure.

  • Comment number 6.

    These have made great reading Ben - as a man of a simiar build to yourself (at least I was six weeks ago, but you've since left me behind!) I've enjoyed reading the progress as you've gone along.

    You say here you want to inspire those ordinary blokes (ie: me) so my question is; how easy would this be for the ordinary bloke? The man who works 9-6 and earns a distinctly average salary? One of my issues has always been that being healthy is pricey. Gym membership, all the supplements you mention and the healthy food rather than the £2 pizza from Tescos adds up to a lot, even just over six weeks, let alone a really extended period.

    I am inspired though. As for mañana: I suggest some sort of big walking trip - Everest Base Camp perhaps? The Wakhan Corridor? Sounds like you'll be able to tackle them with considerably more ease than previously!

    Good luck maintaining it and a massive boo to those with the knives.

  • Comment number 7.

    First of all, congrats. I've read similar stories in the fitness mags down the years, but seldom have been convinced by the money shots, which always seem slightly doctored. Your story and results are genuinely impressive, eye-opening and inspiring.

    You seem guarded about your actual regime though - why not post a list of meals and workout schedule so others can get a clearer idea of exactly what's required?

  • Comment number 8.

    SO Ben... What a great achievement, how do I do it? Is there anywhere I can see exactly what you have done in the gym and eaten so I can copy it?

  • Comment number 9.

    As someone who did this sometime ago, to great success, before slipping back into old habits, the idea of a hook is definitely something I agree with. I am starting to address things again but it is seeming a little harder, knowing that if I hadn't slipped, I'd be in a far better position now than I was when I let my gym membership lapse. As others have mentioned, I'd be interested to see your regime and diet so that I could take elements (if not the full package) into my own routine.

    Anyway, my congratulations, a job well done and its been interesting reading about it... keep it up!

  • Comment number 10.

    Many thanks all. tcav85 - I'm not sure I've been guarded, I've explained a number of times in the previous blogs what I've been up to, it's just that it's actually pretty simple: four meals a day (9, 12, 3 and 6), loads of greens (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, you know what greens are), no carbs (potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, cereal), lots of eggs, lots of chicken, lots of fish; two lots of exercise a day, morning and evening, whatever I fancied, as long as I got a sweat on: bike, rowing, running, weights. And that's it really. As Matt Lovell said, it's not rocket science.

  • Comment number 11.

    ... I should also add that I met Matt Lovell twice, once at the start, and once at the end. So it's not as if he's held my hand through this. He basically told me what to do six weeks ago and sent me on my way.

    Cuzzer - "The man who works 9-6 and earns a distinctly average salary?" That's pretty much me. I think it's a bit of a myth that healthy food is expensive, how much do a load of greens cost from your local greengrocer? Not much. Chicken can be cheap and it can be expensive, and I'm not sure you need the supplements to be honest. I'm sure they help, but they're not obligatory.

    Rob Maldonado - One bloke on the last blog accused me of "losing my sense of absurdity", as if going from doing nothing at all to two lots of exercise and four healthy meals a day isn't weird at all.

  • Comment number 12.

    Big up, you have inspired me to go that extra mile. It's been fun following your progress.

  • Comment number 13.

    Congratulations! Hopefully you have inspired a few others to change their life styles.

    I'd like to address some points that Cuzzer made. Yes, the $2 pizza satisfies the appetite but it is still a piece of dough with cheese and tomato sauce. For the same money as seven of those pizzas, you could have bought something fresh equally satisfying eg. Steak salad with blue cheese.
    When Cuzzer says ordinary bloke working from 9-6, well that is the problem these days. Most ordinary blokes are sat down all day, come home and switch on the TV. Modern life is more and more sedentary and the temptation to eat quick, easy, fast calorie laden food is more the norm. Snapping out of these habits isn't easy, but it is easier to do it now rather than in your 50's when you have heart disease and require drugs to regulate your health.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good effort Dirs! The difference between your before and after photos is really quite impressive. I’ve enjoyed reading the blogs and have been inspired to dust of the rowing machine, and relocate my running shoes. Can’t say I’ve managed the exercise before work every day, but the scales are certainly moving in the right direction. Let us know what your thoughts are regarding a hook. What are you considering?

  • Comment number 15.

    How did/do you manage not top eat for those 15 hours (6pm-9am) between meals? Obviously sleeping for a lot of that time helps...!

  • Comment number 16.

    Well done Ben! As someone has been mentioned above- you see this type of thing all the time in fitness magazines but they are rarely believable!

    Your story on the other hand is totally genuine and fair play to you for sticking at it for the whole 6 weeks! I have been eagerly awaiting your blogs each week to see how you are getting on and the results are a real inspiration to any of us out there who want to get into shape!

  • Comment number 17.


    An inspiration for all those that think they can't.

    Good luck maintaining it and a massive boo to those with the knives.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr Dirs, have just read through an inspiring and impressive collection of the four blogs. It may well be the kick up the backside I need to really focus on diet AND exercise!

    Given the various comments and the demand that your before and after pics have created, is there any way in which you can put your regime down in black and white to detail the major diet components, the exercise regime, and also the supplements that you were suggested to take in one easy place. I know you have shared a lot in your various comments, but it would be REALLY helpful to share it all in one place - will be the removal of the final excuse to not get on and follow the same plan!!!



  • Comment number 19.

    Many congratulations Ben! Really impressive achievement, and anyone who says otherwise is either extremely jealous or just bitter that you succeeded.

    The main message here, as you and Matt said, is that it's not rocket science - eat fewer carbs and take more exercise and you will lose weight and get fitter. There's been lots of argument about the perfect exact diet make-up and the perfect training regimes, but ultimately if you start exercising regularly and generally eat healthily, you're going to get fit!

    I think the idea of a hook is interesting - my theory's always been that if you can do exercise with other people then it becomes a) a regular habit and b) a matter of pride that you show up. If you don't want to let others down, you're more likely to take the exercise. I'm sure that would work with your boxing too - but I like the idea of doing exercise out of intellectual curiosity, it seems to make a lot of sense.

    I really hope you keep it going and get fitter and fitter, no doubt you'll feel better and better too. Very many congratulations!

  • Comment number 20.

    P.S. Are you allowed to tell us what the book is about? Will it be published in a few months' time?

  • Comment number 21.


  • Comment number 22.

    Your blog has finally got me to register and make a comment.
    Firstly, congratulations on achieving a fantastic transformation in only 6 weeks - very impressive.
    With regards to future challenges to keep you focused, have you considered the competitive side of the rowing machine? Check out the racing and motivation sections on Attending a few races might make some interesting blogs and highlight one of the largest indoor mass participation events in the UK to boot.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 23.

    Nice one Ben and a great read. You spoke a bit about the motivation to get and stay fit and I think this is the key factor for many people, for those of us who aren't brilliant sportspeople it is very easy to think "what's the point" when you are putting yourself through the pain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Fine achievement which I don't wish to denigrate at all. But the carbo-phobia is a silly myth. Atkins was one recent incarnation of a diet fad that's been around for decades, and which is thoroughly discredited. If you lose weight quickly when you cut out the rice, pasta and potatoes as part of a health-drive it's because a) you simply consume fewer calories b) you burn stored carbohydrate which causes a SHORT TERM release of water and c) you're doing a ton of exercise. It's actually not very healthy - and the stuff 'nutritionists' come out with about carbs promoting insulin release has been shown to be untrue. I recommend reading this article published by the American Medical Association a while back:

    Across Asia billions of people eat white rice as the primary ingredient of their diet. That's not where the obesity problem is. Wholegrains, rice, pasta, bread - all healthy as part of a good diet, with, yes, plenty of chicken, fish and greens!

  • Comment number 25.

    'Ow do

    Good work on both the blog and the lifestyle change. As someone who recently joined a gym (out of boredom more than any great desire for change) I would be interested to see what your hook is. I was beginning to see the results but slacked off as I had exams to study for and now need a hook to recapture my enthusiasm.

    Also, is there any chance of another update in 6 weeks time to see if you are successful in not returning to bad habits? It would be useful to see if you did because the magazines never revisit the guys to see if they rebound back to the booze and curries.

    Again, congratulations and I hope you keep it up (and report it for our benefit)!

  • Comment number 26.

    I have trod a similar path for years Ders - my personal challenge has been to keep up the mix of booze, fags etc whilst maintaining optimal amateur sports performance ie no gut, no walking allowed - I believe it's possible. Motivation for later years? I intend to grow a mole and to be the Lemmy of the 5-aside cage well in to my dotage

  • Comment number 27.

    Well done!. keep enjoying the beer and fags though! You can in moderation.

  • Comment number 28.


    Can you show me studies where "carbs promoting insulin release has been shown to be untrue"?

    I agree that a lot of the effects are due to calorie reduction, whereby calories out exceed calories in (caloric defecit) which is aided by training, but I am a firm believer in a low carb diet, with carbs being used intelligently in the peri-workout period. I disagree strongly that "It's actually not very healthy" when vast quantities of fresh vegetables and good quality meats and fats are consumed.

    I am willing to be swayed though if you can show evidence to the contrary.

  • Comment number 29.

    Ben, great blog. Definitely not journalistic suicide! Congratulations on making such a marked change over a relatively short period of time, and dispelling the myths propagated by the health industry. All it takes is eating right and working hard - simple.

    I'm also interested in the 'hook' point raised - I've found great enjoyment in finding new hooks over the years, one of the great points about exercise. I've boxed, Thai-boxed, ran, and am now on to cycling. I've found that each hook has a finite lifecycle (for me its around 4-5 years) but these tend to overlap and give you great options for hobbies.

    Would definitely recommend boxing - go for it.

  • Comment number 30.

    please wax.......

  • Comment number 31.

    Great read Ben. Inspirational too. Congratulations; can't believe the negative comments.

  • Comment number 32.

    Many congratulations on relegating yourself from fat-bastard status. I love your columns/blogs and look forward to a subtle change in slant now that you're fit. I wish that I could say you were an inspiration to me, but I love my beer and food too much!

  • Comment number 33.

    Not having enough money to buy 'healthy' food is a poor excuse.

    Healthy food is more expensive - but the money saved by not buying, crisps, biscuits, cakes, take aways, etc, will more than compensate!

  • Comment number 34.

    I think the 'what comes next' aspect is the most important one. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great what you've achieved. Hopefully you'll inspire many of those who've followed your blogs.

    But I firmly believe that it's the sustainability of a lifestyle change like this which is the key to long-term health, as you've implied with your mention of a 'hook'. I have these debates every year with colleagues at work. In the early part of the year, inspired by New Year's resolutions and the need to get into shape for the beach, many of them would begin fearsome exercise regimes and deny themselves just about anything they enjoyed eating. After a month or two they would burn out, having come to the conclusion that they hated the gym, or exercise wasn't for them. My approach has always been to ensure I do regular exercise a few times a week, and eat a reasonably balanced diet. I have no timetables or personal trainers, but mix up gym with swimming, squash or other sports. Whatever I feel like doing I do, but over the years I have gradually added variation and intensity, mainly because if I go without exercise for a few days I now really feel the need for it. I never banned carbs or did anything extreme, but if I eat unhealthily for a day or two I start craving vegetables, sushi or something 'light'.

    I'm not claiming to be an olympic athlete but my point is that after 15 years this is now an enjoyable part of life and not something which has to be forced. Meanwhile the colleagues who embarked on strict military-style exercise regimes and extreme diets have all given them up and gone back to old habits. In my opinion keeping it enjoyable and manageable, while gradually fine-tuning and enhancing what you do will keep it going in the long term!

  • Comment number 35.

    inspirational Dirs, I thank you! I will be following in your footsteps. I'm not over weight, but I pile on middle area weight in no time.

    It would be fantastic if you compiled everything you have learnt into a guide for the sport site!

    All the best!

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    Well Done Ben - But as we all know sometimes the losing of weight and toning up are the easy bit. The real work starts now keeping the weight off.

    Now you have an appreciation of a healthy outer body why spoil it by posing in your undies with a cigar?.

    It always amazes me the number of so called athletes who eat right and train well only to poison their bodies with fags.

    Ben don't be a mug "Kick the habit before the habit kicks you"

  • Comment number 38.

    The man says he wanted to get fitter, he never said he wanted to turn into a monk!!!! :D

  • Comment number 39.

    It is all well and good being slender and athletic, but you need to sort that body hair and those tan lines out...

  • Comment number 40.

    Well done Ben!

    Maybe your hook could be winding Fordyce up about your 'healthier lifestyle' now?

  • Comment number 41.

    You're starting to look like a right tough guy somewhere between John Terry and Sid James.

    What's with the Calvin Kline's?

    Well done with getting fit......... David Haye won't mind having you in his entourage now.

  • Comment number 42.

    Yeah, very best of luck in keeping it going... Moi, I'm a generation older; it was Jan 1st of my daughter's September wedding that was my inertia-breaking moment. And being old, I did it slow, starting every day with an increasingly vigorous (hilly) half hour walk, and after a few months I found myself running up hill with walking boots on...

    And at about the 3 - 4 month mark, when all I'd lost was about 5 lb, I then had a look at the bloody-muscles-for-sale counter at Waitrose and thought quite simply, wow; that's a massive lump of meat that I'm no longer having to haul about everywhere.

    So I do gym over the winter months but had a couple of hernias pop through after a bit of an overdo on the rower... so now tend to prefer to just run the tarmac; at least 5 ml every other day. I do live rurally so that's pleasant enough.

    Overall I lost 2 stone; my daughter's been happily married for a couple of years and I now know I'll never put that weight back on. Best moment? Coming home from a 10 day Cunard cruise (good gym on board that QM2) and finding I'd lost a couple of pounds...

    I've always absolutely loved your writing, so I'm looking forward to that book.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well done with your new fit bod you could almost get a place on Geordie Shore...if you were a Geordie and a total goon (obviously ur not...though that cigar..hhmmm)

    Can I just ask is that photo REALLY your front room ? Cos if it is, you want to spend the next 6 weeks decorating cos MAN, no offence, but talk about Dot Cottons house....

  • Comment number 44.

    I think this is my favourite BBC blog ever... Ben, you are an inspiration and proof that its not only fat people that are funny...

    Whether you keep it up or not is irrelevant, you proved it can be done.

    Nuff respect

  • Comment number 45.

    dirsy - any offers of marriage yet?

  • Comment number 46.


    What I should have said is carbs don't necessarily promote insulin release to a greater degree than other foodstuffs. This article tested a wide range and the result was that, yes, overall the carb category produced the strongest insulin release, but when you break it down it's very variable. Pasta, for instance, produces a lower insulin release than beef, fish, cheese or lentils.

    Cutting down on white bread and potatoes is probably a good thing, but my point was that trying to avoid all carbs is just silly. Wholegrain cereals etc are good for you (as all the stuff yesterday about the risks of substantial red meat consumption pointed out). And it is clearly not healthy to tell people that you can eat as much animal fat as you like if you cut out carbs.

  • Comment number 47.

    Smellslikesalmon - couldn't agree more.

    A 'hook', as we're all calling it now, does help you to maintain that discipline & focus when you really can't be arsed to drag yourself down the gym after work or out of bed early morning - but, i think what helps even more is if you actually enjoy what you're doing. And the more you keep at it and the more progress you make, it feels like less of a pain in the arse and more part of a regulaer routine which you look forward to.

    Ben - well done, and I agree with those who wouldn't mind the occassional update as to whether your managing to maintain more of a healthy lifestyle.

    Riggadon - great nickname

  • Comment number 48.

    Interesting read to show that it can be done but drastic change is rarely sustainable, as you say, it's all about the 'hook'

    I's bet a considerable amount you'll be back to your original weight in 6 months and 20lbs over it 6 years. (When it will take twice as long to lose)

    Don't go on an exercise bike, buy a real bike and cycle to work.

    If you like the rowing machine, try joining a rowing club
    etc etc

  • Comment number 49.

    Good job Dirsy! I hope you manage to stay in shape but don't let it ruin your sense of humour (love the cigar and champagne ;p)

    @Jimbo in what world are you living that beef and fish produce a larger insulin spike than pasta!? Dirsy cut out all carbs to lose weight. Maintenance and health will need him to re-introduce healthy whole grain carbs (oats, yams, fruits). The fact that Britain has increasingly been facing an obesity crisis means we would all do well to try and avoid refined carbs or at least eat them in moderation (white rice, white bread and white pasta).

    Sports will always offer the best hook imo.
    Join a club and make a few friends- the comradery will help no end.

    At the end of the day great blog thanks Dirsy, look forward to your next endeavour.

  • Comment number 50.

    QUICK Q:

    You say your last meal is at 6pm and that you train in the evening. Does that mean you had an evening workout on a full stomach?

    I have recently arranged to spend my weekly beer budget on a trainer for 5 weeks (luckily I can only afford one or the other so I have no option now but to kickstart the regime) and booked myself in for 18:30 twice a week. I assumed It would be better to eat after the exercise but looking at your results, I may be wrong.

    Aside from that, solid effort champ as it is quite a shift in lifestyle.

    Just imagine what you would have looked like if you didn't go wild in Ibiza!

  • Comment number 51.

    great going and inspirational .. care to do it for me

  • Comment number 52.

    Hey, Thought I'd post this here as this is the newest blog
    Im 20 6ft tall and weight about 12 stone 2lbs
    This is my diet basically for about 5 days of the next three weeks
    Porridge w/ skimmed milk
    3 cups of Green Tea
    Macoroni w/ tinned tomatoes
    Half tin tuna w/ cottage cheese on whole meal pitta
    Spaghetti w/ chicken, 1/2 tomato, 2 spring onions, 2 mushrooms, 1/2 onion with stri fry sauce.
    Works out at about 1500 calories and 200g carbs - Is that enough, just right, or too muchy?
    My routine consists of:
    Get up and have porridge
    Do an abs circuit (front and both side situps, plant and leg raises )and some press up
    Have the macoroni and tinned tomato
    Go gym - 10 mins bike (approx 4km) 20 mins running (approx 3.6 km)
    Then various weights
    Then have the tuna and pitta bread
    Then about 3/4 hours later have the stir fry
    Is that okay for a person like me?

  • Comment number 53.

    "Don't be fooled by the ribs that I got - I'm still, I'm still Benny from the block..."

    class mate

  • Comment number 54.

    Re the Insulin discssion and carbs. It's not so much about the insulin it's more about the energy density of bread pasta etc.

    Below I've put a link in where Matt expalins this

    Amazingly you could eat a 1kg of Aspargus for the same energy content that is in a single pita bread. If you go out for a Mezze dinner I could easily polish off 3 pita breads before I even start on the hoummous, turkish meatballs etc. Put 9 bunches of asparagus in front of me and I think I would admit defeat.

    So a big part of the plan that Ben as followed is switching breads and pasta etc for fibrous veggies like asparagus, broccoli etc. You stay full and dont feel hungry and you are getting vitamins and minerals which are in the veggies that are not in the bread.

  • Comment number 55.

    Firstly well done on the weight loss and life change!

    Secondly It would be really interesting to have a follow up installment to this in another 6 weeks to see how you are getting on with maintaining the diet and exercise and any changes you make to the programme.

  • Comment number 56.

    Great effort Ben.

    Given your interest in boxing (and currently in fitness) I wondered if you'd be interested in finding out more about some grassroots boxing that's going on in London at the moment. Extended schools stuff, for adults and children. Might make a good piece if you're interested.

    A fellow Seven Sisterser.

  • Comment number 57.

    Nice, but the pay-off line was excellent.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'll give you a you want to live longer?

  • Comment number 59.

    Congratulations Ben.
    Enjoyed reading these blogs, interesting and funny. Plus, I now have some, erm, 'food for thought' to start my own plan... Good work.
    Think the twice daily sweat fest play a key role to be honest.

  • Comment number 60.

    Well done Ben , great effort . Your new body reminds me of groundkeeper Willy's. Are you going to stay off the carbs ?

  • Comment number 61.

    buff dirsy buff, like it. Keep up the good work!!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    Am just reading your We Could Be Heros Book - maybe you should try the coal carrying again in your new form, give Fordyce a good hiding.

    Out of interest, have you kept up the bones of the regime since you wrote this final post?

  • Comment number 63.

    Congratulations, and very well done for inspiring so many.

    However, I think you're doing it wrong.

    Without a clear long term goal and an understanding of all the factors involved, it will be hard for most readers to make the required life changes.

    Clearly we are for the most part sedentry folk, so what can we do that is sustainable?

    As people get older, their metabolism slows down, meaning eat the same or more than before, and get fatter.

    Metabolism slow down is accompanied by the diminishing volume of muscle tissue which will happen - unless we do something. You're never too old to put on muscle.

    Cardio is great for burning fat, but without precise control over diet and when/how/for how long, it will recycle your muscle tissues for energy and lower your metabolism.

    For sedentry lifestyles, muscle mass gain is the best ticket to fitness and health. Pilates for core muscles, squats, deadlifts and bench presses for raising testosterone, and free weights for over all functional strength.

    I notice you didn't gain much muscle. This is a missed opportunity. Muscle burns calories just sitting there. If you haven't raised your base metabolic rate, chances are, once you lay off the cardio, the weigh will come back.

    Weights and interval training not only burn calories for hours after the event, but will make it easier and easier to stay trim. Momentum.

    It has been said, but diet is everything. Whey protein is the best way help your body gain muscle, but you need carbs too and all at the right time. All the information is out there.

    There are many ways to skin a cat. Cardio heavy/carb light regimes are ok to get you inspired by shedding the fat quickly, but my point is that long term, people will find it hard to keep this up.

    If you need the cardio vascular conditioning for a marathon, that is completely different. But your aims would be suited better by concentrating on developing some muscle mass in my opinion.

  • Comment number 64.

    I forgot to say, you look 10 years younger.

  • Comment number 65.

    Well done, I hope you are able to continue on this path.

    Question, what did you have for breakfast if no cereal??? I cant imagine it was asparagus & chicken


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