Let me start by saying like many blokes, I enjoy a beer.
However, with a baby boy a welcome recent addition at home, lazy afternoons at the local watering hole with a few mates are rare occasions these days.
So when an email popped into my inbox recently offering healthy food across six weeks as well as a detailed daily exercise pattern by ‘The Doctor’s Kitchen’ program as part of a weight loss challenge, I figured why not have a crack.
The killer was always going to be the mandatory before and after body photos – there would be nowhere to hide.
My wife Lisa was stunned when I told her of my diet plans – she is into her fitness, and to say I’m not would be the understatement of 2021 – I prefer channel surfing on the couch rather than endless rounds of burpees any day of the week.
Way too much sugar and no exercise saw Daily Mail Australia journalist Andrew Prentice stack on the kilos in recent months
Six weeks later I managed to lose a few pounds after eating properly and cutting out sugar laden snacking
Nonna’s spaghetti bolognese is one of the more popular dishes available for lunch or dinner thanks to The Doctor’s Kitchen program
In reality, the turning point had actually come a few weeks earlier after I weighed myself moments after hopping out of the shower one morning.
I was in disbelief at what the scales read. Over 90kg! Only a few years ago I weighed 75kg on a bad day.
How did this happen? Well, a combination of no exercise, a woeful diet loaded with sugar, regular night shifts and being comfortably married were just some of the answers.
I had also become the walking cliché many fathers can relate to as they get older – yep, I was sporting a serious dad bod.
Week one and two of the program saw me introduce subtle early diet changes – cans of Coke and Red Bull were gone, replaced by endless bottles of water, fruit such as bananas and rockmelon, and I even dropped my customary single sugar from my morning coffee.
The meals supplied by The Doctor’s Kitchen also surprised me – the portions for breakfast, lunch and dinner were largely filling, and while I didn’t love all of them, they certainly were a better option than a late night pizza, donuts or UberEats from my beloved KFC.
My sweet tooth also ensured chocolate had to be slashed to zero overnight, and that was an enormous struggle.
While I was radically revising my diet, I dusted the cobwebs from my runners and actually went for a jog with my better half, who couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing.
My first official weigh in over FaceTime with Brisbane-based Dr Phillip Wuth as part of the challenge was confronting.
My ‘muffin top’ was clear as day, and it had to go.
Dr Wuth was encouraging from the outset, stressing the need to be patient and disciplined if I was going to slash my calorie intake to just 1,500 a day.
Given my usual daily intake was at least 2500 calories, it was going to be a significant adjustment.
Two weeks later, my weight was down to 87kg. It may sound insignificant in terms of weight loss after starting at just under 91kg, but physically I felt and looked better.
The next two weeks I found myself training three times a week, as well as completing daily strength and agility exercises, and the weight began to drop off quickly.
At one stage I slimmed down to 83kg after four weeks of the challenge, I couldn’t believe it.
The dramatic before and after shots taken at home told the story for this time poor young father
Prentice had every reason to be all smiles after six weeks of the Doctor’s Kitchen Australia program
The Mediterranean Lamb and Feta Wrap retails for just under $10 and has proven to be one of The Doctor’s more popular items
My night shifts were always going to be the litmus test – that was when I usually gorged on chips, lollies and energy drinks so I stayed focused at my desk into the early hours of the morning.
I had a few weak moments and succumbed to junk food when working nights – but I wasn’t too hard on myself – after all, it’s about moderation, they say.
Before finishing the weight loss challenge, my weight did yo-yo – a few big nights on the beers can do that – but incredibly I put on almost 3kg of muscle in one week.
For a bloke who has never lifted weights in his life, this was my proudest achievement across the six weeks.
At the end of the challenge, my calorie intake was smaller, and other key characteristics such as body fat, abdominal fat, and bone mass were also reduced.
My final weigh in was 88kg, but as the photos prove, I looked significantly slimmer.
The dreaded muffin top was now non-existent.
Ultimately, the Doctor’s Kitchen Australia program was a fascinating insight into what can happen if you follow a strict diet.
It also taught me the value of nutrition, and how certain foods should be embraced and others are to be avoided at all costs.
Morning donuts or banana bread I’m looking at you!
In one week I managed to put on 3kg of muscle – unheard of for a bloke who has never lifted weights
Healthy meals replaced binge eating, with my disturbing muffin top thankfully reducing in size
The packaged meals were very different to what I usually was eating in my three daily meals
My key take away from the program was that moderation is key – I’m certainly in no rush to complete a full marathon or renew my gym membership, but I now know exactly what I have to do to keep the weight off as I rapidly approach my 40s.
Dr Wuth described me as an ‘enthusiastic patient’, which made me smile – I’ll never be a poster boy for fitness and health – but if I can make slight diet adjustments, anyone can.
‘Andrew was the first to admit he needed to make some drastic challenges to his diet,’ the doctor, who recently completed the six-week challenge himself,’ said.
‘He was honest with himself and it was great to see him get a kick out of his progress.
‘The primary aim wasn’t to lose quick weight, Andrew putting on muscle mass shocked him personally, but that was one of the main objectives.
‘Like many fathers, he has plenty on his plate, and he showed what can be done…there wasn’t a need to live on water and celery and starve himself.
‘His results were exactly what we aim for in our patients.’
But then, I discovered Dr Wuth had done the challenge himself – shedding an impressive 9.2 kilograms in just six weeks.
When I heard that, I realised I’ve got to lift my game.
I’m committed to a healthy lifestyle going forward, as I feel more energised and have also seen the value of nutrition and a healthy diet.
Stay tuned for ‘Part Two’ over the coming weeks.
BEFORE & AFTER DIET CHANGES
Breakfast – Coffee with one sugar plus glazed doughnut
Lunch – Burger and chips with soft drink
Dinner – Chicken snitzel with vegetables, with ice cream to follow as dessert treat
Total daily calories : 2500
Breakfast – Loaded brekky pie
Lunch – Cranberry roast chicken and potato bake
Dinner – Korean BBQ beef noodles
Total daily calories: 1500