Male weight-loss scheme left me 'fit as a fiddle'

Stephen Shepherd recording at a computerImage source, Stephen Shepherd
Image caption,

Radio presenter Stephen Shepherd took part in a weight loss programme specifically targeted at men

  • Published

A radio presenter who took part in a weight-loss programme developed specifically for men said it has left him feeling as "fit as a fiddle".

Bristol-based Gutless targets men who are clinically obese, offering an educational online programme and qualified nutritionists.

Stephen Shepherd, 66, said the WhatsApp support group for the men to communicate "helped motivate everyone".

"I actually fit into trousers that I bought 12-13 years ago, which is really nice," he added.

The mentoring, group support and self-assessment provided by the Gutless team, with funding from Public Health England, is designed to encourage better food and lifestyle choices and can be accessed by men with a BMI of over 25.

Mr Shepherd said he did not know anything about the programme until he went to his health centre for a check up.

"My blood sugar was pre-diabetic and [the nurse] suggested if I can get my weight down, my blood pressure and blood sugar should come down too.

"I didn't want to take any medication so I tried to do it myself... however, after some weight fluctuation nothing really changed," he added.

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Mr Shepherd said when he was overweight his blood pressure and blood sugar levels were both high

He was referred to the Gutless programme and started it in September 2022.

Mr Shepherd said at his heaviest he weighed about 19.5 stone (124kg) but had now got his weight down to just over 16 stone (101 kg).

"I was fat, I was heavy," he said.

"The programme was specifically for men who have problem communicating with weight health problems.... [and] it's helped me in more ways than one."

He said the course covered portion control, mindful eating, exercise and getting rid of bad habits, and it helped to see what others in the group were going through.

"Some may have had stress and anxiety... which can lead to people eating more," Mr Shepherd explained.

Image source, Stephen Shepherd
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Mr Shepherd has dropped from 19.5 stone (124kg) to about 16 stone (101 kg)

Sally Hogg is a consultant in public health for Bristol City Council and said the Gutless programme is "part of our bigger picture".

"It is part of our commissioned work with BeeZee Bodies and rather than traditional weight management, which we know doesn't suit everybody, we wanted to really think about the city and different cultures.

"Men are a lot more reluctant to take their health into their own hands, which is why we wanted to focus on a programme specifically for men and make it accessible to all by hosting it online," she added.

Image source, Joshua Clamp
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Joshua Clamp said it is important for men to have a programme specifically targeted at them

Nutritionist, Joshua Clamp, who works with men on the programme, said: "Men don't typically engage well with the other healthy lifestyle programmes around the UK.

"So we made sure this one is tailored for men to support them where they are starting small and starting simple.

"It's about getting involved with a bunch of guys who have the same mission to lose weight and have a laugh along the way."

Image source, Stephen Shepherd
Image caption,

Mr Shepherd said being able to fit into trousers he bought more than 10 years ago was "really nice"

Mr Shepherd said changing his approach to food portions and losing weight had improved his testosterone levels.

"When you have excess fat, it does bring your testosterone down [and now] my levels have gone up."

He said his blood sugar and blood pressure are now in the normal range.

"When the nurse phoned me up to tell me she was almost as excited as I was to be honest."

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