Our bodies are machines, albeit organic ones. They therefore require fuel to function. Being as complicated a machine as we are, it’s easy to imagine why we need a complex system of fuel to keep us going. Different foods provide us with different nutrients and we need a wide variety to keep us in top form.Nutrition also plays a big part of weight management. For example 80% of weight loss is down to what we eat.


There are so many different schools of thought on the subject of when we should eat. However from personal experience, we like to keep things simple. Breakfast is mandatory and kicks off your metabolism and fuels you for the first part of your day until lunchtime. Lunch and Dinner are also important and it’s crucial to avoid skipping meals.


This is also a huge subject, one we’ll explore further in the section.What you eat entirely depends on your overall objectives and your circumstances will be different depending on if you’re trying to lose/gain weight, lose fat, increase muscle, lower cholesterol etc. As a general rule, we need a certain amount of calories each day to maintain our weight and give us enough energy to function. Below is a calculator to help you work out how many calories you should be consuming each day.

Calorie calculator

Whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight, it’s really important to know how many calories you need to consume each day. As a general rule of thumb, if you eat less calories than you burn each day, you’ll lose weight and vice-versa.

Your required calories stem from your Basic Metabolic Rate or BMR, this is the amount of calories your body burns each day by just living, and the amount may surprise you!

Use the calculator below to work out your BMR.

Now, once you’ve worked out your BMR, you’ll have to adjust it depending on your level of activity.
So if you burn an additional 300 calories per day when working out, you’ll need to add that to your BMR.
The basic rule of thumb is to consume less calories than your total calorie burn each day to lose weight.

It is important not to consume too few though.


There’s no such thing as bad foods. All food provides us with a level of fuel.
You must also not deny yourself food if you really want it, you’ll only make the cravings worse and binge later!
To get our bodies into a good place for performance though, we need to try and eat nutritiously.
The below are some suggestions about eating a more nutritiously conscious diet:

Foods high in saturated fats
Sugary Drinks
Junk Food
White Bread
Sweetened breakfast cereals
Deep Fried Food
Unsaturated Fats (Peanut butter etc)
Healthy Meal, salad etc
Wholemeal Bread
Unsweetened cereals
Baked foods
Baked Potato


Nobody ever put on loads of weight by having one pizza. Likewise, no-one ever lost a stone from eating healthily for one meal.

The key to good nutrition, whatever your goal, is a healthy and balanced diet.

It’s often easier said than done and it is fair to say that life often gets in the way. However we need to try and aim for a balance of nutritional ingredients.


You may have heard the term Macros before. Macro is short for macronutrient and covers three areas of our nutritional intake, Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat.

Keeping tabs on your macro intake can help you:

  • Lose stubborn fat
  • Maintain lean muscle mass
  • Keep your body satisfied


Get a calculator, we’re going to need to do some maths!

First, work out your ideal calorie intake (using the calculator further up the page)

You should aim to get:

10-35% of your daily calories from protein

45-65% from carbs

20-35% from fats

Using apps like Lose-It, MyFitnessPal or similar will really help you keep an eye on your nutritional intake with daily goals and other tools



If you’re embarking on a regime of fitness and healthy eating, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right nutritional value in terms of vitamins and minerals. This is especially important if you’re cutting certain food types out of your diet for some reason.

It is a good idea to take some supplemental vitamins but which ones should we take?


Firstly, we need to make sure that whatever we’re taking actually has the right amount of vitamin content in it. For example some multivitamins may contain all the types we need but maybe only traces of them whereas we actually need to be trying to take our recommended daily amount (RDA) through supplements and what we eat wherever possible.

Depending on your diet, you may need to take more supplemental vitamins, for example on a plant based diet, you may struggle to take on enough nutrients.

The basic vitamins everyone should take are:

  • Vitamin A to support eye and immune system health
  • Vitamin B12 to keep the blood and nervous system healthy
  • Vitamin C to help with the function of bones, skin, and teeth
  • Vitamin D to regulate calcium levels in the blood, supporting bone health as a result

There are also some essential minerals that everyone needs to keep their bodies healthy. For example, magnesium has a wide variety of benefits, including regulating muscle, meaning it could potentially boost your performance when exercising.

It’s also important to get enough zinc, as this mineral plays an important role in helping the body to process carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy.

Omega Fish Oils are also an excellent for joint health and mobility.

We recommend MyProtein for our supplemental vitamins. MyProtein sell both basic vitamins and multivitamins which actually have the correct amounts contained within them.

A good example daily regime might look like this:

Before Breakfast: 1 x Vitamin B Capsule, 1 x Omega Fish Oil Capsule, 1 x Vitamin D Capsule

Lunchtime: 1 x Vitamin C serving (powder in protein shake for us!)

Before Bed: 1 x Omega Fish Oil Capsule, 1 x Magnesium and Zinc Capsule

Order with MyProtein by clicking on their logo below to receive 3 months free next day delivery when you spend £35.


How you approach nutrition will very much depend on what you're seeking to achieve.
Click on each button to read more



Nutrition is vital for the rider to perform. Here is another perfect example of how we will speak to a nutritionist for our horses diet to ensure we are getting everything our horse needs to perform at his best and be in top top condition, but we don’t do the same for ourselves!! If we don’t fuel our bodies right, we will let our horses down as we won’t function as well as they will.


Eating salty foods in the days leading to the show will help to build up the sodium levels in your body.  

You could carb load the night before such as a good pasta meal.  On the morning of the competition try eating a wholesome but light breakfast. Try to avoid eating fried food, sugary food, drinking coffee or eating nothing at all, this will affect your ability to perform to your best! I know we all like a bacon roll at a show, but maybe try to wait until after you’ve ridden!


Well, the most important thing is to keep our blood sugar levels up.  If our blood sugar levels keep spiking it will be very hard for us to concentrate or perform. So, if we eat little and often we should keep ourselves more level. If we eat too much at once we can cause ourselves to slow our metabolism and start to feel lethargic.

If you get nervous before you ride, eating high fibre foods ( whole grain or fruit) will help minimise stomach jitters, but will still be good for blood sugar levels.  Remember that hunger can make you jittery and irritable, and your horse will notice and react to this! Avoid caffeine too if you’re getting butterflies, it fuels anxiety!

Eating a light snack in the half hour before you ride will help keep you focussed. Muscles will continue to function longer than the brain.





Whether you’ve struggled with weight all your life, or you just want to shift a couple of pounds, weight loss is all about mindset. There are loads of cliches out there but simply put, if you don’t really, and I mean REALLY want to do it, you won’t.

Make a plan on what your goal is, how you’ll achieve that and by when, and then stick to it.


This is the hardest part. Don’t try and do too much too quickly, trust me, it’ll get easier.

Start with what you’re eating and introduce some gentle exercise in a few times a week. What you will do will depend on your current fitness levels.

Log everything you do from your eating, to your weight to your exercise.

Most importantly, when it gets tough, remember why you started.


Wherever your goal is, you will definitely get there if you want to. Once you’re there you can ease up a bit but have a plan to maintain where you’ve got to.

Lets look at this in more detail:



To have a plan, we need the goal first. What do you want to achieve. Be fitter? Specific weight goal? Lower blood pressure? All these things will come together but goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. )

For example, I want to lost 3 stone by this time next year.

Not, I want to lose 12 stone at some point but will continue to eat my body weight in Haribo every day!


So we’ve got the goal. How are we going to do it. What support do we need?
Think about:

Food logging

Meal Planning

Exercise Plans

Cheat Days

Plan to succeed!


So you’re plan is all sorted. How are we actually going to do this then.


We’ve all got to start somewhere right? Don’t try and do too much too quickly, but start as you mean to go on. Make sure you start each day with breakfast, log everything you eat and start some exercise that suited to your current level of fitness.

Whether that’s 2 minutes on a cross trainer or a 3 mile run, just do what you are able to without straining yourself first.

If you injure yourself, you’ll have to go days or weeks without working out and you’ll get nowhere.

Try not to eat after 8pm, your body burns so much overnight you’d be amazed.

Start weighing yourself regularly. Make sure you do it at the same time of day and with the same clothes (or lack of) each time. Weighing when you get up is usually the best time.


Once you’re well underway, just keep going. It’s a change of lifestyle you’re working on, not just a diet and you can do it. You’ll feel so much better when you reach the other side.

When you see your weight loss start to plateau, one of two things is happening, you’re either shrinking in size or you need to up your efforts with the exercise. Keep measuring yourself to see which it is.

Remember, you don’t lose inches and pounds at the same time (except in Mr B’s case when he discovered Hugo Boss clothing fitted him!)


There will be days - many of them probably, that really challenge you. The day’s you don’t want to work out are the most important days to work out on, so just get on with it. No-one is going to do it for you and the sense of achievement you’ll have afterwards will hands down beat the sense of failure you have later in the day when you wished you’d just done it.

Look forward to your cheat meals, but don’t go overboard and ruin the hard work of the week.


You’ve done it! You always knew you could and so did we. It wasn’t easy but it almost feels like it was now. You have achieved so much you should be really proud. Now we need to maintain that feeling.


You’ll no doubt have some idea how you ended up in the position you were in where you needed to lose weight, so undoubtedly you won’t want to go back there. Keep up the exercise, keep up the healthy balanced diet and you won’t need to worry about it.


Where is your normality now? Does it still include cheat meals/days? Or are you just eating more normally now and not worrying. Have a plan that lets the reins out a little bit at a time, monitor your progress and be ready to make some changes if things start to slide.


Why did you do this in the first place? Maybe it was to be healthier, feel better, be happier. Whatever the reason, make the most of it. You have changed yourself for the better and you deserve to enjoy that. Maybe you can buy those clothes you’ve always wanted, or go out for that lovely meal. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself, you have absolutely deserved the right to go and make the absolute most of your achievement.


My name’s James and I’m Maddi’s husband.

This is my story and hopefully by me telling it to you, you’ll see what is possible if you really put your mind to it.

I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. I was bullied at school for it and have never felt confident in my own body. Frankly, even now, writing this is not the easiest thing in the world.

At the age of 18, just before I left school, I was the fittest I ever was and fairly slim (although I never thought I was!). After leaving school I very quickly settled into a lifestyle of minimal exercise and not caring about what I ate. Fast forward to the age of 40 and I’ve taken on 20 years of eating crap (and lots of it) and doing the bare minimum of exercise.

If I was on my feet all day, my lower back would hurt, I was out of breath walking up stairs and frankly I was in an absolute mess. My mental health suffered and my own self-esteem was non-existent.

The day I decided to do something about it was not much different to most days. I’d been out with a friend shooting and we’d gone down into a valley to do some target practice with our rifles. I remember getting him to go and set the targets up because I didn’t want to walk an extra 200 yards if I could avoid it. I also knew I’d have to wait 5 minutes for my heart rate to drop low enough to be able to shoot accurately after that kind of walk.

Once we’d finished shooting, we walked back to cars with all the kit. We had to walk up what seems like a fairly steady but gentle incline and I got about halfway up and had to stop. I was completely out of breath and I couldn’t walk any further, so had to take a break. I was so embarrassed. I’d never got so bad I’d had to stop walking before.

When I (eventually) got home, I was annoyed, like really annoyed with myself. I decided that enough was enough and I wanted to change everything that had caused me to stop on that hill. My lack of fitness and weight had got in the way for the last time.

I spoke with Maddi about it and started coming up with a plan. I looked at all the different diets online, looked at loads of different exercises and Maddi just told me to stop, keep it simple and just do what has always worked for people. Watch the calories and get some exercise.


I started using an app called Lose-It on my phone. I will say now that I’m not paid or sponsored to recommend it but this app has genuinely changed my life. I thought I was eating fairly healthily but wow were there some revelations coming out of that app!

The first thing I did was work out my Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) which came out as saying that I needed to consume something around 3000 calories a day to maintain my current weight of 22 st 4lb. I put all my details into Lose-It and said I wanted to reach a goal weight of 17 stone at a rate of 2lb a week.  We have put a BMR calculator in the Nutrition section.

Now, losing weight is no good if you end up putting it all back on again. If you lose more than 2lb a week you may well struggle to maintain that loss in the long term. ‘Fad’ diets are the worst for this. I’m not going to say don’t do Keto or avoid fasting etc as whatever works for you works right? However, basic science tells us that if you consume less calories per day than you’re burning, you’ll end up in calorie deficit and your body will consume some of the reserves (the fat).


So that’s what I did. Starting with eating breakfast every day. I set on a low calorie breakfast of porridge or shredded wheat. I flavoured the porridge with either sweet cinnamon or whole peanut butter (not the sugary stuff). For lunch I started having weight loss protein shakes from The Protein Works. Again I’m not sponsored by The Protein Works but having tried a few different brands, TPW have the best flavours out there and they provide shake powder for every goal out there from weight loss to weight gain to muscle gain etc.

For dinner, I’d have a relatively low calorie meal, but this would normally be the highest calorie meal of the day for me. I’d have some carbs (pasta/rice/pitta bread) and usually some chicken or fish. I basically worked up a list of meals that I really enjoyed that were a maximum of 800-900 calories and went from there.

In a day, I’d aim for 1200-1500 calories. Some days I’d be under, some over but calorie intake doesn’t affect you on a day by day basis, but rather over a period of time so if you keep the average down, you’ll be good.

I also kept track of protein, fibre, carbohydrate and fat intake. Lose-It does this for you and you can see if you’re consuming too much (or too little) of either. Fibre intake is really important as you can have problems going to the toilet if you don’t have enough. I ended up using a fibre supplement to help me out here (more on supplements later).

My food intake basically stayed the same for the entire period (and I’m still following that now.) I did introduce some snacks when I was hungry but again, low calorie, low saturated fat things such as rice cakes or crisp breads with peanut butter or even some biltong.

I have a bit of a sweet tooth so occasionally craved chocolate. Whereas in the past I’d have taken a share bag of peanut m&ms (yum) and demolished them in one night, I took to a new strategy. Leave the bag in the fridge and take a handful (and don’t go back for more!) I also didn't do this every night.

Before we move on from food, lets talk cheat days…cheat days are important but equally important is how you approach them. They should be part of your plan and many people say that you should probably avoid a cheat day until you’re about 12 weeks into your weight loss plan. I didn’t. I had a cheat day every Saturday throughout my weight loss and still do now. However…I didn’t have a whole day. I had a cheat meal, a takeaway on a Saturday night with maybe some sweets afterwards. The key is to not go crazy, but enjoy yourself. Sometimes I’d also have bacon in flatbread on a Sunday morning too but after that, back to the plan.

I struggled with cheat days because I was so pleased with my progress throughout the week that I didn’t want to undo all the hard work, but ………cheat days are important as a) you need a break and b) your body needs to know that it will get more calories sometimes, otherwise you’ll go into what is sometimes known as starvation mode, which means you’ll stop burning reserves and just hold onto whatever you can. Just don’t overdo it.

Whilst on the subject of cheating, a quick word on booze. I’m not a big drinker, in fact I’ve had a pint of cider this year…and that’s it. Alcoholic drinks are often really high in calories but offer little in the way of nutrition, so if you can, cut down or cut them out entirely.


So the food was the easy bit really. Yes there were some tough times of beating my own cravings but its important not to deny yourself too much. If you want some chocolate, have some but only in moderation. I also started asking myself some questions about whether eating something unhealthy was really worth it vs how nice it was. I distinctly remember eating a Wagon Wheel at the start of the plan and realising how much like cardboard they actually tasted whereas previously I’d have just eaten it because it was there.

Anyway, lets talk exercise. I hadn’t exercised properly for years. We had bought an elliptical trainer at the start of 2020 with every intention of getting fit….but as I’m sure happens in many households, it quickly turned into a great place to hang washing.  Now an interesting fact about weight loss is that it is 80% diet and 20% exercise. So don't  go into the exercise thinking that’s all you need to do as it won’t work.

So, I asked Maddi for help with my exercise. She’s always been fittish (that’s a technical term for people who like to be fit but also like chips and pizza) and with her various qualifications and experience she would be able to set me off on the right path.

Day one of exercise came and Maddi had me on the elliptical. She told me to go and do two minutes. Just two minutes. So I did, and it was easy and I was happy to do more but she said no. I did two minutes a day for a few days and then upped it to 3. Very quickly I got myself into the mindset of maintaining a level until it was easy and then increasing it. Within two weeks I was doing 10 minutes and within a month I was doing 20 minutes on the cross trainer. The problem was, it was really boring. I tried watching TV, listening to podcasts and the only thing that got me through the boredom of it was listening to music.

I think that’s where a lot of people struggle initially, you’ve got to keep motivated throughout the exercise session and you therefore need to find a way to do that. Maddi likes to watch Netflix when she’s exercises but for me the time just drags when watching TV.

I also used an app from Nike called the Nike Training Club which had lots of body strength workouts for beginners on it and got into a regime of 5 days exercise each week alternating between strength and cardio.

Maddi and I also started going out dog walking several times a week. I don’t mean a quick trip round the block but a proper walk, 2 miles plus. At first it was really uncomfortable but I quickly got to a point where it was like a walk in the park (sorry).

We signed up to do some charity walks during the Covid lockdown. The first one was 10k for the RAF museum charity and I signed up to it shortly after starting on this journey so made it a bit of a goal to reach. We walked that 10k in August together and it was one of the proudest moments during this whole thing to reach that goal.

I was still struggling a bit with motivation before and during the cardio workouts though. Maddi told me one of the most important things in the early days which was that the day you don’t want to work out is exactly the day you need to do it.

I decided to look at something else to keep me interested. Now, I’m a bit of a gadget nerd and love technology, and I’ve also always loved cycling. I’d seen ads for the smart bikes on TV like Peleton etc and started looking at those. I came across the bike I now have which is a Nordic Track S22i, (again I’m not sponsored by them!) My Mum offered to get me it as an early christmas/birthday present (covering the next 5 years I think!)

The bike has a screen on it and leads you through a variety of different workouts from scenic rides to spinning classes and was exactly what I needed to keep my interest levels up. I basically kept myself on a regime of 5 sessions a week alternating between bike and strength workouts. The good thing about the bike was it came with a subscription to a service called iFit. iFit provides all the bike workouts but also has loads of different types of workouts for all occasions so it basically provided me with all my fitness needs.

The Result

I smashed through my initial target of 17 stone in October and quickly decided to set a new one. I still wanted to tone up and get slimmer so I decided to use BMI as the number to get to. I wanted to be completely out of the Obese category.

A quick word on BMI - its not useful for everyone. If I was the ‘ideal’ weight I should be at 6’2, I’d have less than 12lb of fat on me, so that can’t be right. It’s far better to focus on belly/waist sizes or body fat percentage.

November was  the month we walked 10k for the Royal British Legion. I’d already completed the RAF 10k earlier in the year so this one wasn’t so daunting but we did run a bit of it this time! We raised £250 for the RBL and although the walk wasn’t anywhere near as hard, its still something I wouldn’t have been able to do a few months ago.

Left to right - Before, during, after (by the way, thats an Armani suit that was one of my rewards!)

I kept to my eating plan and exercise regime throughout November and reached my target weight of 16st 10lb a couple of days before my 41st birthday in December. Since then, I've continued to chip away at a much slower rate and have lost another stone in the past year which puts me exactly where I want to be.

My weight loss chart

My changes have come about through a total change in lifestyle and mindset. I didn’t go on a diet, I changed the way I ate and approached food.

Within 6 months, I lost 6 stone, went from a 3XL to a Medium in shirts, lost 4 inches off my collar and 12 inches off my waist.  I’ve also lost 17% body fat and my blood pressure is safely in the normal range. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.

Thanks to everyone who supported me throughout this period, I couldn’t have done it without you all but especially Maddi and my Mum who have been so supportive!