No More Hobnobs In Lenny Henry’s Weight Loss Diet

Lenny Henry spotted out shopping this month
Lenny Henry spotted out shopping this month, and looking in damn good shape

A few weeks ago a member of the UKIP party told Lenny Henry to leave the country*. Well, it seems that a large part of him listened – about three stone has left without a trace!

On a more serious note (Motley and Lenny Henry, serious?), how did he do it? And why?

Who is Lenny Henry?

Lenny Henry is a national treasure. One of the best comedians from the 1980s (The Lenny Henry Show, Three of a Kind and many appearances in other comedy shows) he developed his showbiz career to become a presenter (notably Comic Relief) and actor. He was born in in 1958 in Dudley, the heart of the Black Country – named so because of the mining and energy industry and everything turned black!

Today he is most famous in children’s TV and film, being the voice of the shrunken head in the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as being the voice of  Big in the show Big and Small. He has also voiced many children books with the BBC.

For 25 years Lenny was married to comedienne Dawn French, who also lost a lot of weight.

Lenny Henry’s weight loss

In recent years Lenny had gained a lot of weight. As a larger than life character, and a comedian, this was always accepted. Why do we expect comedians to be a little chubby? Does it really make them funnier?

Nobody talked about his weight, until now. Now that he has lost it, everybody is suddenly noticing it and asking why, how, when, what?

His decision to lose weight was not to improve the way he looks or to become more athletic. It was because he has been diagnosed with diabetes and wished to do something to reduce the risk of developing complications.


Diabetes is no laughing matter. Image: Lenny Henry Red Nose day 2011
Diabetes is no laughing matter. Image: Lenny Henry Red Nose day 2011

Unfortunately Lenny is a little unwell. He has developed Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that plagues overweight people once they become middle-aged.

The best way to naturally tackle the problem is to lose weight. Although this does not “cure” diabetes, it helps to manage the condition and to control blood sugar levels.

The biggest threats to diabetes patients is high blood sugar level – this damages blood vessels, causing all manner of health problems including loss of vision, impotence, kidney failure, nerve damage and increased risk of heart disease. Around one in three people with Type 2 Diabetes eventually die from heart disease.

Lenny is well aware of how serious diabetes is. His mother, Winnie Henry, had to have both of her legs amputated before she died of the disease in 1998.


Lenny has taken up yoga as a means to get fitter and control his weight. He is doing Ashtanga yoga, which is our favorite style. Ashtanga yoga is a very energetic form of yoga which places emphasis on movement as well as holding postures. A key part of practice is the Sun Salutation, which is repeated many times every day.

Low GI diet

Lenny now follows a low GI diet, which is recommended by the NHS for all who are diabetic or showing signs of pre-diabetes.

A low GI diet only allows foods that are low in sugar, or more specifically, have a low glycemic index. Foods which are slower to digest are low Gi. By controlling the intake of sugar you control blood sugar levels and this prevents many of the problems that diabetes causes.

Lenny explained to The Mirror: “I’m a bit diabetic, so I was put on a very strict diet. I’ve lost between two-and-a-half and three stone, I was big. You’ve got to eat no sugar and drink hardly any alcohol… all the stuff you like. You can’t Hobnob your way through the day”

Lenny Henry is living proof that you can lose weight at any age, that diabetes does not stop you losing weight, and that you can still be funny if you are slim.


*In a Tweet, William Henwood wrote “(Henry) should emigrate to a black country. He does not have to live with whites.”

Once again a member of the UKIP party shows his true colors. William Henwood has now resigned and slid back under the stone where he came from.

William Henwood Lenny Henry tweet

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