Why we SHOULD tell people they’re fat – and the simple trick that helped my wife lose 66lb in a year, by MR MOTIVATOR

Where I grew up in Jamaica, if you see someone tall, you call them ‘Lanky’. If they have one tooth, you call them ‘Gummington’. And if they are fat, you call them ‘Fluffy’.

And no one takes offense to it. If you accept who you are and love yourself, why would you do that?

In Britain today it’s a very different story. We have to be so careful about what we say so as not to cause offence. But when it comes to weight, what is our silence doing to the health of the country?

There is an obesity and diabetes crisis in Britain and – even if this ruffles a few feathers – someone needs to speak up.

I once trained a man who weighed 24 stone. He didn’t get into shape by burying his head in the sand and believing everything was fine.

We must all take responsibility for our health and wellbeing, otherwise we will become a liability to our National Health Service, says Mr Motivator

We must all take responsibility for our health and wellbeing, otherwise we become a liability to our National Health Service. And exercise is a great way to combat both obesity and diabetes.

When I started my career as a fitness instructor in Britain in 1983, it was okay to poke someone in the stomach and tell them to lose some weight. You would never dare to do that today.

Not only have waistlines grown dramatically over the past 30 years, but our attitudes towards obesity have also changed.

Sixty-three percent of adults in Britain are overweight. But call someone fat or suggest he or she is trying to lose weight – and suddenly you’re accused of ‘body-shaming’ and ‘fatphobia’.

I made this point last week on Radio 4’s Loose Ends podcast. But when I woke up the morning after the broadcast, I was in no doubt that I had struck a chord with the deluge of calls and texts I received .

But had what I said been even remotely controversial? Obesity costs the NHS around £6 billion a year and by 2050 this will be closer to £10 billion.

And the incidence of diabetes is also approaching epidemic proportions: in Britain just under four million people live with type 2 diabetes, while a further 850,000 people live with it undiagnosed.

He started his career as a fitness instructor in Great Britain in 1983

He started his career as a fitness instructor in Great Britain in 1983

Mr. Motivator's wife, Sandra, was seriously overweight due to menopause

Mr. Motivator’s wife, Sandra, was seriously overweight due to menopause

So why can’t we tell people if they’re getting a little fat?

And it’s not just about food. Britain has abandoned the exercise. Four London hospitals currently refer pre-operative cancer patients to my classes. Why? Because being fit and healthy will help you recover from surgery much faster and make it less likely that you will be struck by another serious condition. My mantra has always been: exercise is medicine.

In the 1980s, fitness wasn’t about gym membership, running a 5K or how much you could bench press. It was about having fun.

At the time, the fitness industry was riding the wave of films like Footloose, Flashdance and Jane Fonda’s Workout. The best-selling album of the 1980s was Physical by Olivia Newton-John.

In other words, fitness was cool. Fitness was sexy.

So when I started appearing on GMTV and doing workouts on breakfast TV in the 1990s, I naturally decided to wear psychedelic unitards, paired with fanny packs and neon sweatbands. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously, we had fun – and it happened to be good for the health of the country.

It was such a success that celebrities lined up to attend. Supermodels Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson swiveled their hips on live TV. Singers Sir Cliff Richard and Luther Vandross got to work. Even the late Meat Loaf – a bigger guy who wasn’t known for his agility – got in on the action.

But the training sessions were not without controversy. I remember one singer, Kim Menzel, was participating in a routine and suffered a wardrobe malfunction that – to put it politely – required my help to “pop.” them back in’.

You wouldn’t get a show like that anymore. Today, exercise is too often something people do alone, in private, on treadmills in underground gyms. But that’s not what fitness is about, it’s about being with people and sharing in the joy of movement.

Part of the reason I have this positive attitude is because of what I had to go through to be where I am today. When I was growing up in Jamaica, my adoptive father, a police officer, would beat me on a leather belt when I misbehaved. Sometimes he even hit me for I misbehaved. Even after moving to England as a boy, fame wasn’t immediate. When I was 21, I was a single father living in a rat-infested council flat with one single bed and no mattress.

I know what it feels like to be unloved. That’s why I make sure no one else feels this way, whether it’s my clients or my own children.

I was nicknamed ‘Mr Motivator’ because I encouraged Britain to move – even if it required some home truths. Of course I help people if they need to lose weight: it is often the kickstart they need.

My beloved wife Sandra was seriously overweight as a result of menopause. For twenty years she struggled to lose weight, despite exercising with me every morning. I remember one night she was getting dressed to go out, but by the time she got to the front door she had to go back upstairs to change because she was sweating through her top. Her self-confidence was at an all-time low.

One day last year she turned to me and said, “Derrick, I can’t remember the last time anyone other than you said something nice about my appearance.” I saw the tears in her eyes. And I had tears in mine too.

Mr Motivator, pictured in the 1990s, says he now only eats half of what is on his plate

Mr Motivator, pictured in the 1990s, says he now only eats half of what is on his plate

But last year everything changed. She went to Thailand alone and changed both her perspective and her attitude. Instead of being self-conscious, she learned to love herself. She continued to practice and equipped with this new mindset, the weight began to fall off.

Within a year she had lost 66 pounds. Now her self-confidence is back and everyone rushes to compliment her. She is strong again and I have the woman I married back.

Of course, some people tend to be bigger than others, but everyone can and should take responsibility for themselves. It is not the government’s responsibility to keep you healthy, it is your own responsibility.

I am now 71 and my metabolism is not what it used to be. That’s why I’ve decided to only eat half of what’s on my plate. Even if it’s my favorite, apple crumble, I always make sure I save half for someone else to enjoy.

People keep telling me to stop dressing like it’s the 1980s and to stop moving like I have the body of a man half my age. I tell them, ‘I love myself, and you should love yourself too.’ Because that’s where the weight loss begins, as my wife can attest.

Exercise is medicine, and it’s something this great nation needs now more than ever.

For more information, upcoming events and classes, contact pa@mrmotivator.com