A North East sporting hero, who is the only Briton to have won an Olympic marathon medal for half a century, has embarked on a radical quest to tackle obesity and improve the nation’s health. What’s more, he says fat is good for you and believes exercise is a poor way to lose weight DAVID SIMPSON reports.
Charlie Spedding, who was born in Bishop Auckland and raised in Ferryhill, has launched ‘Who wants to lose a Million Pounds?’ a web-based initiative that calls on subscribers to follow his dietary advice and record their weight loss at loseamillionpounds.com. The website publishes the collective results with the aim of losing at least a million pounds in weight.
Based on Body Mass Index rates, Charlie estimates the UK population is a staggering 2,000 million pounds overweight. The people of the North East are 85 million pounds too heavy and he is determined to do something about it:
“I have this idea for a whole group of people to lose a total of one million pounds,” says Charlie, who is 64 and lives in a village near Durham City.
A pharmacist by profession, Charlie sold his Wallsend pharmacy business to devote himself to this ambitious plan: “I noticed that most of the people I saw regularly had metabolic diseases, not infections,” he says. “Their metabolism was damaged and, although they’d been taking medication for years, hardly any of them got better”.
Charlie has a good knowledge of nutrition and how the body works at the chemical and hormonal level. He advocates a low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diet and insists sugar and processed foods are the biggest cause of obesity, rather than fatty foods or lack of exercise.
“People associate ‘being fat’ with fats that occur in food but it is too many carbohydrates that make you fat,” says Charlie.
A London Marathon winner in 1984, Charlie is one of only six British men to have won the event since its inception in 1981. It was 1984 that also saw him win a bronze medal in the Los Angeles Olympic Marathon.
Surprisingly, when it comes to mental and physical health, Charlie says diet rather than exercise is the most important aspect of lifestyle. Subscribers to his site can learn why he thinks exercise is a poor way to lose weight, although he insists exercise is still vital for good health.
“I have always set myself challenges and this may be the biggest yet,” says Charlie but that seems unlikely to deter him given his proven track record for endurance.
Visit Charlie’s site at loseamillionpounds.com
Read our full blog about Charlie here