Celebrity chef, restaurateur and all-around tough guy Gordon Ramsay revealed that he lost a staggering 56 pounds after wife of 22 years, Tana Ramsay, told him he was overweight.
While women are typically the ones under major societal pressure to look good for their partners, the 51-year-old chef opened up about his anxieties over keeping up with his fitness-junkie wife — and how he got into the best shape of his life as a result.
Ramsay peaked at "18 stone," he told the Daily Mail in a recent interview. For those of us who are unfamiliar with this particular Britishism, 18 stone equals 252 pounds. At 6'2", that puts his body mass index (BMI) at about 32, making him technically obese.
At one point, Ramsay's wife told him that he was getting "fat," and the pressure to look good mounted as TV shows like "Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" and "The F-Word" catapulted him into the limelight.
So to get down to his current weight of 194 pounds, he hired a personal coach and began to make time to get in shape.
"I looked like a sack of s. 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," Ramsay said.
Sounds like Ramsay is as harsh on himself as he is on other people — he could have definitely benefited from a dose of body positivity back then. According to Ramsay, he started gaining weight just after winning his third Michelin star in 2001, and his insane work schedule meant that he wasn't taking the time to eat properly — instead relying on snacks to keep himself going.
"I didn't have a figure. I didn't feel that good. After working my ass off and achieving a lot, I wanted to get in serious shape," he says. After Tana pointed out his weight gain, Ramsay was determined to get healthy and started training for Ironman competitions, which involve a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.
Getting Ironman Fit
To get in shape for his first Ironman, the "Hell's Kitchen" host worked with champion triathlete and coach Will Usher. Usher trained Ramsay using an intense military-style routine involving long-distance swimming, rowing, core strength work, three-hour-long workouts on a gym bike every week and a race every Sunday.
One trendy exercise Ramsay uses to work his core is battle ropes, where he whips two heavy ropes for 30 seconds at a time. He'll do this and other core exercises for 20 minutes.
His hard work finally paid off when he completed his first Ironman in 2013, and he's been competing ever since.
But it's not just about looking camera-ready. Exercise also serves as a form of self-care for the hardworking chef.
"It's the rawness of going out with a friend who is your trainer and getting down and dirty," he says. "Soaked through to the skin in the rain, with 30 miles an hour gales and idiot drivers about to kill you on the road. The more I train, the more normal I am, the more I feel that I'm still unchanged. It's just another little reminder of who I really am."
The Master Chef’s Diet
Ramsay's biggest diet tip is so simple that you can start doing it at your next meal: Drink more water. "Take a couple of glasses before you eat. It just stops you eating a third more," he says. "You feel better, but eat less."
And as extreme as he sounds, Ramsay is all about treating yourself to a well-earned, post-workout snack. His favorite? Milk chocolate.
But despite his love for lighter chocolate, Ramsay does his best to avoid dairy elsewhere. "Just because it's sluggish," he says. "Almond milk with Weetabix for breakfast. Smoothie with frozen berries, yogurts. Dropping milk and cheese has made a massive difference."
Aside from keeping the romance alive, Ramsay revealed another touching reason he wants to stay in shape. His father died of a heart attack at age 53, and Ramsay hopes to be around longer for his children: Megan, 19, twins Holly and Jack, 18, and Tilly, 16.
"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. I may have not got on with him, but I still miss him. I miss everything I could have had from him if he was still alive in his 70s," he says. "I just have to stop and think for two minutes about why I'm doing this, and there it is."
He also added that working in the restaurant industry comes with its own side effects: "Stress. Suicide. There's a big downside to cooking loads for a living. It's lethal: from obesity to heart attacks to cocaine habits."
Which makes it even more important that Ramsay took control of his life and his health. While we would never advocate fat shaming, Ramsay's dedication to his fitness can only be a good thing. After all, the couple that works out together, stays together!
What Do YOU Think?
How do work and other stressors affect your habits? What motivates you to exercise and maintain a healthy diet? Are you a fan of Ramsay's TV shows? Share in the comments section.