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Labour’s Tom Watson’s diet secrets – no beer or microwave meals – to lose 8 stone

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With 22 stone, a “raging voice” in Tom Watson’s head told him things had to change.

“I kept hearing this voice: ‘You’re going to die if you don’t fix this,'” says the former MP.

“I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live for my children.”

That was in 2017 when his children Malachi and Saoirse were 12 and 9 years old.

In the five years since, the former Labor Deputy Leader, 55, who lives in Bewdley, Worcestershire, with his partner Sarah, also 55, has lost eight stone and changed his lifestyle.

Gone are the late-night curries and chocolate snacks, replaced by bulletproof coffee (prepared with fats to provide low-carb energy) and spiralized “zucchini.” And he’s clearly passionate about spreading the word.

Tom’s first book, Downsizing, in 2020 followed his journey after he dropped to 14 stone and reversed his type 2 diabetes.

Its follow-up, Lose Weight 4 Life, shows how to stay on track with the four Ms – Motivation, Measurement, Exercise and Maintenance – developed by Tom.

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Tom Watson in 2017 when he realized his weight could be killing him
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“In the first book I didn’t want to preach, I could only say what I did,” he says. “But this book offers a blueprint with practical advice.

“It’s called Lose Weight 4 Life because basically there’s never an end point, it’s always a journey, not the destination. This is how you deal with setbacks. For 30 years I’ve been doing just that wrong. Whenever I’ve failed other diets, I’ve always punished myself and gone back into denial.

“Thinking back to my old days of eating, it was exceptional. It would start with a big bowl of oatmeal, then a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich in the House of Commons, and mid-morning I would have a Tunnock’s teacake. Then I would go to lunch.







Tom Watson in 2011. He admits his old eating habits were “extraordinary”.
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“Growing up, it was always about wine. By lunchtime I had probably doubled my recommended daily intake of calories.

“Very often there was a vote at 10 p.m. and there was a late-night curry or a pizza delivery. It was a long, high-carb, low-nutrient input.”

Today, Tom’s diet is completely sugar-free and he’s off his diabetes medication.

“I consider myself a reformed sugar addict,” he says.

“If I eat something with hidden sugars, I just get cravings again. Now I might have a bulletproof coffee or a spinach omelet in the morning. Lunch consists of tuna salad and homemade vinaigrette. My mantra is real food, not processed food. I haven’t eaten microwave food in five years.

“Because of the sugar, I haven’t had any beer since then. When I go out I drink vodka and soda with a fresh lime. I’m making cauliflower rice. I got very good at spiralizing zucchini to make noodle or pasta alternatives. I’ve occasionally eaten a slice of pizza when the kids have a spare slice. Even then I regret it.”

At the beginning of his journey, Tom set a goal of losing 100 pounds.

“For the first week, I lost a pound a day. Losing half a stone in a week was a joy. I decided to aim for 100 pounds and said if I lost that I would buy a new bike. And then I joined RideLondon in 2018.”

Movement comes first for Tom.

“I’m just under 14 kilos now, but it needs to be a bit lower. My 10,000 steps are at the very core of it. It’s basically an hour’s walk a day. You can do it in pieces. Also, I go to the gym three times a week and really work things up. I lift weights, do circuits. It’s still a struggle, I’m still a middle-aged guy who fights everything.”

So what are his top motivational tips?

“There are days when it’s just really hard, but you can do things to make it easy, like: B. to have his sneakers by the front door. It’s really important to have embedded routines, real habits. You need to be organized with your weekly grocery shopping.

“I weigh myself every few weeks. I’m more in touch with my body now and more aware of when I’ve gained some weight – I can feel the pinching in my clothes.”







A much heavier Tom Watson fighting alongside Eddie Izzard and Catherine Atkinson
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As for meal times, Tom says, “We were definitely a dining family. My mom’s apple pies were so good. Sunday lunch was huge with huge plates of homemade Yorkshire puddings, lots of gravy and always a custard pudding.”

His father Tony died last year at the age of 76.

“That was difficult. It throws you off course. mummy [Linda] is in Cornwall. She’s 79. If I stay with her, we’ll take her room frame for short walks around the house. I think sometimes she is afraid that I will come to do her exercises.”

Tom, who was the Labor MP for West Bromwich East, says there have been so many positives to losing weight. “There was a moment, and it was a very important one for me, when I was finally able to buy a Marks & Spencer suit off the shelf again. I could have cried. Just fitting back into what you would call ordinary human clothing is a great feeling.







A stripped down Tom Watson traveling to the Labor Party Conference in 2019
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“I didn’t expect the cognitive gains either. I describe it as a fog lifting from my brain. I just felt sharper in my recall of facts and names. I was calmer to the point where I used to joke that maybe I’d gotten too relaxed for politics.”

Tom, currently chairman of UK Music, left politics in 2019. He needed time to relax and says he’s glad he left when he did.

“I do Bewdley Boot Camp a lot, pushing tires across a field or lifting empty beer kegs. I’m usually the oldest and the slowest, so for a 55-year-old guy it’s a bit of a humiliation. But it’s fun and a necessary part of the journey.

“If you’d asked me five and a half years ago, ‘What do you want?’ That’s exactly what I would have wanted. Not to be 22 again and still be diabetes free.”

– Lose Weight 4 Life by Tom Watson is available now (£18.99, Kyle Books)

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