Their easy banter and passion for cooking has made unlikely TV stars of the Hairy Bikers.
But years of seeking out great food, all the while welded to their motorbikes, have taken their toll on the waistlines of Dave Myers and Si King.
At the age of 55, Myers found himself weighing 17st 12lbs, while 45-year-old King was 19st 6lbs, and both were on medication as a result of their lifestyles.
“We were in Italy recently and I ran out of blood pressure tablets,” explains Myers, the shorter and darker of the bearded duo.
“There was a time 20 years ago when Kingie would have got a bottle of vodka and I would have gone to his room for a drink.
“This time I was going round there trying to scrounge some Ramipril and I thought ‘This is ridiculous’. And when you see yourself on the telly you realise you look like a Walnut Whip.”
So what better way to shift the excess pounds than by signing up for a TV show in which regular weigh-ins on camera and stern chats with medical experts are all part and parcel of the process?
The Hairy Dieters: How To Love Food And Lose Weight, their most personal series yet, sees the pair set out to lose around three stone each.
Dramatically cutting their calorie intake was a necessity, but the foodie duo wanted to do so without giving up their favourite meals.
Cue a clever lasagne made with sheets of leek rather than pasta, beans on toast served with Parma ham instead of bacon, and low-calorie cassoulet.
They even managed to recreate one of their most beloved dishes - the pie - using pizza base mix in a pie dish. “It gave a passable impersonation of pastry,” says Myers. “It looked like a pie and felt in your hand like a pie but you were only eating 300 calories.”
Along for the ride on the show are an assorted bunch of “fit fatties” who want to pick up some tips, from a 22-year-old woman who has already shed a whopping 12 stone, to a martial arts enthusiast whose mates call him “Fat Belt”.
Myers and King also let the cameras into their homes, where they try out their new dishes on their families.
King says: “My youngest son has lost two stone just because of the new regime we have in the household.
“The food we’ve done isn’t about diet food. It’s just about good food, so you don’t have to cook something for you and feed the rest of the family something else.”
Of course, weight loss is most effective when you throw exercise into the mix too, so King and Myers have spent time with personal trainers and even swapped their motorbikes for bicycles.
Myers says: “We went cycling in the Lakes with a professor from Newcastle University. He made us cycle 40 minutes up hill and down dale with heart monitors on. It was extraordinary the drop in our blood pressure since we started this six weeks earlier.
“Si and I could hold a coherent conversation and do a piece to camera when we stopped, which we couldn’t before. And the professor has told me to stop taking the blood pressure tablets because my blood pressure is now too low.”
Despite their fondness for eating, they say they found it surprisingly easy to stick to their regimes once they started, despite the occasional alcohol relapse.
When I meet them, 10 weeks into the plan, they’ve both shed more than two-and-a-half stone and their waistlines are noticeably trimmer.
King says: “There’s always a moment where you go, ‘OK, this is really tough’, but after the first three weeks it was all right. We’re creatures of habit, so a few weeks in it became a lot easier and you feel better because you see the results.” Myers adds: “Hopefully doing the programme will show we’ve got a sense of responsibility for the other shows we’ve done.
“It’s like a sabbatical we’ve had to do to sustain the rest of it.”
The rest of it just happens to include a road trip along the Mississippi (filmed before they started losing weight), where they sampled the food and music of the US southern states, an area hardly known for calorie counting.
When discussing The Hairy Bikers’ Mississippi Adventure, which begins on Good Food later in August, the pair are wide-eyed with excitement.
Myers says: “I had some prejudices and preconceptions about American culture and trash culture but the artisan food there is not all hot dog stands. Some of the best bread and beer I’ve had in my life was there.”
He raves about an “awesome” crawfish macaroni cheese featuring chorizo sausage and topped with breadcrumbs toasted with cheese, and it’s hard to imagine how the food-loving pair are going to be happy sustaining their new slimmer physiques.
“Everybody knows, and if they don’t know by now they should do, that we’re not going to give up pies and drinking beer. We’re simply not going to do it,” insists King.
“All we’re saying is we need to take the foot off the accelerator. And actually it’s important you do, because otherwise there are greater health issue that you store up.
“Being that overweight isn’t good for you.
“And we want to be able enjoy food for the rest of our lives.”
The Hairy Bikers come to Preston Guild Hall in December. Tickets are on sale now.