Belfast Telegraph

As PSNI rescue Stephen Nolan after Mournes trek, BBC star admits he's at crisis point over weight

By Amanda Ferguson

Radio star Stephen Nolan admitted yesterday he was at a crisis point over controlling his weight after police were called to rescue him from a mountain walk.

In a new bid to get fit and lose weight, the award-winning BBC broadcaster from Belfast went on an impromptu Mourne Mountains adventure in Newcastle at the weekend and ended up requiring assistance from the PSNI and nearly missed his 5 Live radio show.

Using social media, the 41-year-old shared the ups and downs, yelps and screams of Sunday's eight-hour trek which took place after he felt desperate to get fit because his weight has rocketed to what he described as a "crazy" 22 stone 8lbs - the largest he has ever been.

"I am a character of extremes," he said. "Other people recognise it in me and I don't always see it. Not having moved over the last 10 months, on day one I didn't gently, gradually ease myself in. I went from absolutely nothing to climbing a mountain. This character trait is something I have to be aware of. It is going to end up hurting me."

Stephen had no water, sunscreen or proper footwear on Sunday when he decided to embark on the climb. And he admitted that when he landed back in Belfast on Sunday at 11am after several days working in Manchester, he "went into autopilot" and then "the day turned into complete farce".

The BBC star arrived in Newcastle at 1pm and thought he would be back home in plenty of time for his 10pm 5 Live show.

But his phone ran out of charge, he got lost and he ended up in tears and in "excruciating pain".

To make matters worse, when Stephen returned to the car park at 8.50pm after miles of walking, it was locked so he had to call his boss and the police, who opened the gates.

"I phoned the controller of 5 Live, Jonathan Wall, and he was just lovely. He said in 25 years he had never had a presenter not come in because he was stuck up a mountain. He was really kind. The Radio 5 Live show starts at 10pm and I hobbled into the Belfast studio at four minutes to 10."

Stephen says he feels "awful" now but has not stopped his extreme behaviour. Once again, determined to shed the weight, all he had eaten by dinner-time yesterday was a piece of chicken.

"I am on Ibuprofen, my ankles are swollen and my feet are killing me," he said. "I have clearly wrecked them. I was that stupid. I didn't think about my footwear when I went up."

Stephen, whose BBC NI Nolan TV show is on air tomorrow night, is 4lbs heavier than he was when he embraced a drastic weight loss programme last year which saw him drop seven stones in 15 weeks. His fondness for prawn cocktail crisps and Mr Whippy ice cream has led to the pounds piling back on. But he also revealed that he knows he can't be so cavalier about his health forever.

"The dangerous thing about me is I feel invincible," he said. "I don't have any worries or health concerns at the moment but I know I won't get away with that for the rest of my life.

"I guess working seven days a week - I love my job - I need to be fit to do it. If I set myself a goal I refuse to let anyone get in the way so I have to get that attitude for the way I eat as well."

Stephen is aiming to be around 14-stone for New Year's Eve in Santa Monica. "I want to eat well, train well, feel good and be a lot lighter. If I got down to anything in the 14-stone region I would be very happy. I watch (Nolan producer) Vinny in work and he sits and eats nuts all day. He's like a monkey. He offered me a nut today and it was rotten. If that is what you have to eat to look good I am not too sure I could do it."

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