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Planning Retirement Online

Lighter Life for Fred

                              November 2007


Lighter Life for Fred

How the Mastermind cabbie got clever about his weight…

At his peak, Fred weighed 18 stone four lbs and sported a 50-inch waist.

He became Britain’s best-known cabbie when he won Mastermind in 1980. But Fred Housego wasn’t so clever when he binged on beer, cheese and crisps and put on so much weight that he put his life at risk.

At his peak, Fred, aged 62, weighed 18 stone four lbs and sported a 50-inch waist. It meant he had a BMI (Body Mass Index*) of 38, just shy of being morbidly obese, the stage at which many life insurance companies refuse cover. His wife Pat warned him: ‘You have got to stop, you are killing yourself.’

Fred, who was in his 30s when he won Mastermind, has always had a weakness his lager and crisps habit – but as the years passed, his figure kept getting larger. ‘Guys in their 30s who like eating and drinking run around a bit, maybe play football. But when you get to your 40s you can go on a downward spiral.’

Now 12 stone 7 lbs with a waist of 34"

But the new slim Fred is proof that it’s possible to get your figure back. In six months, he lost six stone and an astonishing 16 inches of his waist using the medically supervised LighterLife programme where dieters must have at least three stone to lose. It uses meal replacements to get rid of the weight quickly and safely.

Now 12 stone 7 lbs with a waist of 34, Fred says he found the diet easy and that the weight ‘just fell off’. He now goes to the gym three times a week, and no longer needs blood pressure or cholesterol medication. Still driving a taxi, he eats loads of fruit: ‘my cab is like a greengrocer’s. I have much more stamina.’

How Lighterlife works

*   To qualify to join LighterLife you must have a BMI of at least 29.
** You can check your BMI using the calculator on .

*   Before joining the programme your GP or practice nurse will need to complete a health questionnaire to make sure you are medically suitable

*   For the first 14 weeks for women and eight weeks for men you will undergo complete abstinence from conventional food in order to lose your initial weight. During this time you simply have four LighterLife Foodpacks (soups, shakes and bars) a day, along with four litres of water and you are likely to lose three stone in this time.

*   You will attend a weekly session with your LighterLife Counsellor, who will help you recognise and tackle the situations that may have led you to become overweight in the first place.

*   The sessions are held in same sex groups of between seven and 12 people so you will find yourself with others who are in the same boat and will never have to go it alone. You may even make some new friends!

*   This weight-loss phase costs ?66 per week and includes everything you should eat i.e. four food packs a day – so in a lot of cases you’ll be far better nourished and spending less than you would have been on meals, snacks and takeaways.


Fred Housego before dieting.


Fred Housego after dieting


Before and after photos.








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