Health & Diet

‘Weight was just falling off me’: Man sheds 6.5st and becomes Team GB athlete – tips

Slimming World: Harriet Peacock recalls her 20 stone weight loss

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The 34-year-old Stephen Bolton completely turned his life around with a few key lifestyle changes. He spoke exclusively to about how he swapped binge drinking and unhealthy food for nutrient-dense meals and a love of the gym.

Stephen’s world turned upside down when he lost his mum and sister to cancer.

Over the course of several years, grief sent him into a downward spiral of “binge drinking”, gambling and fighting, even spending some time in prison.

His excessive alcohol consumption and depression caused him to “stop caring about anything”, which led to him overeating and quitting football.

While he did take antidepressants and received counselling to cope with his grief, it was actually a dramatic change in lifestyle that pulled Stephen out of his black hole.

And what kickstarted this journey was actually a friendly wager; a family member bet Stephen £100 that he wouldn’t be able to give up drinking for 50 days.

But from January, 2019 that’s exactly what he did, and he never looked back – this healthy habit had a “snowball” effect.

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“I wasn’t drinking alcohol and the weight was just falling off me.”

He weighed in at just under 19 stone when he began his weight loss journey, and in just 18 months lost 6.5 stone.

In March 2020 he met Ian Roberts, who coached and mentored him at Prime Triathlon Coaching.

Stephen admitted: “Since I’ve met him, he has been the biggest influence on my life.”

And being around likeminded, positive people has done wonders for Stephen’s mental health.

He has since gotten “sucked in” to the world of triathlon, and surrounded himself with people who went running for fun, rather than to the pub.


“I’ve become obsessed with it. I’ve come full circle, I couldn’t be any more different.

“Since March 2020, it’s been my life everyday.”

In September, Stephen will be representing Team GB in the European Championships, completing a duathlon, which involves two 5k runs separated by a 20km swim.

As well as training a mind-boggling 10-14 times a week, Stephen completely changed his diet too, shunning takeaways in favour of a “balanced diet”.

While Stephen’s goals are extreme, he wants fellow slimmers to know that losing weight is achievable: “I’m just a normal guy.”

He told his tips for easy weight loss.

“The easiest way I lost weight was to do fasted exercise in the morning before I had any breakfast.

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“You can only burn what was already there. So you go into like fat reserves quicker.”

But he warned slimmers against under-eating, telling them: “You need to not feel like carbohydrates are the enemy.”

Stephen “kickstarts” his metabolism daily with a bowl of porridge and two bananas – plus it “fills you up for longer”.

For the most part, he fills up on foods such as fish, turkey, chicken, salad and vegetables.

And if he does want to treat himself to a Chinese takeaway, he makes sure “works very hard that day” in terms of exercise.

As for exercise: “There’s probably nothing that’s going to burn fat off you better than running.”

But for a low-impact workout, Stephen also swears by swimming and cycling on a Wattbike.

While Stephen is now incredibly fit, he hasn’t always been this way, and at the beginning of his journey struggled to complete a 3k run.

The now-athlete emphasised: “Just keep pushing and pushing and pushing, setting yourself small goals.

“If you can only do 20 minutes on a bike, see if you can get up to 25 minutes a week later.”

His next tip to fellow slimmers was to enlist the help of a personal trainer like Ian, and even if you can’t afford sessions, “advice is free”.

As for quitting alcohol: “I read an article a while ago that said if you go past 60 days of doing something or not doing something it becomes more like a habit.

“I very rarely drink now.”

Readers who may be struggling with alcohol addition can find support at 

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