Celebrity News

Jason Reeves’ new lease of life: ‘I want to be alive for my kids’

His wake-up call has resulted in a mind and body overhaul

Radio star Jason Reeves makes his listeners smile every morning as a host on Coast’s Feel Good Breakfast Show – and now the dad-of-two has even more reason to feel on top of the world.

Thanks to a lot of determination and some expert advice, the Hawke’s Bay born-and-bred broadcaster has pulled his belt in a few notches and got himself a whole new lease on life.

It was April last year, a few months before he celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary with wife Louise, that Jason first decided something had to change.

With Louise on their wedding day.

“It was the school holidays and I was trying to run around with the kids,” recalls Jason. “But I was getting puffed and couldn’t keep up with them. Then I pulled out our wedding photo. Louise still looked amazing 10 years later, but I saw how much I’d changed and I felt quite embarrassed. It was a real awakening moment.”

While he wasn’t happy with the way he looked, Jason also had the terrifying thought that if he didn’t change his lifestyle, he might not be around to see Max, nine, and Olly, six, grow up.

“I thought if I don’t get myself together, in five years I could be dead. My two boys aren’t going to have a dad,’ and that freaked me out.”

The worry weighed on him for weeks and there were a lot of teary moments with Louise, 43, and his Coast breakfast co-hosts and friends Sam Wallace and Toni Street. Eventually, he decided it was time to speak up and share his struggle with their listeners.

In all his years on the radio, it’s one of the hardest stories he’s shared. He was so filled with nerves that he was shaking as they went to air.

With work mates Toni and Sam.

“I broke down in the studio a couple of times, but Toni and Sam are like family,” tells the 46-year-old. “There’s been a lot of tears and hugs with them. I never thought I’d talk about my weight publicly or even the fact I’m trying to lose weight. But the response was just overwhelming. I had no idea so many people were in the same space as me.”

Jason got some expert advice from the Edison Clinic, an Auckland-based holistic health centre, and he also joined in with Louise’s Ladies Who Lunge online workout class, which was run by one of their neighbours, Kristy.

When Kristy found out about Jason’s mission, she offered her services as a personal trainer and he says having her on his side, sharing her expert knowledge around exercise and nutrition, has been one of the main reasons he’s kept to his new regimen.

Putting in the work with his trainer.

His time used to revolve around work and family, so it was a big change to include something in the schedule that was just for him.

“It’s been quite a shift for me mentally because I felt quite selfish for doing it at first,” confides Jason. “But then I realised if I’m in a better mental space, I’m better for my kids and I’m better for our family.”

While he’s enjoyed watching the number on the scales going down – he’s lost 23 kilos – Jason stresses the most important thing he’s gained is a more positive mindset.

“I’m enjoying everything at the moment, which is a very lucky place to be,” he tells. “I didn’t realise how sad I was – I was depressed and embarrassed.

“Once I started losing weight, I was putting all my emphasis on a number on a scale, so I had to realise that I’m more than that. That’s the trap a lot of people fall into – you feel you’ve got to hit a certain number, but you don’t. It’s about how you feel.”

Louise says it’s been amazing watching her husband get his confidence back, and seeing him play for hours at the park with the boys and their pup Ted.

“He’s always been an amazing dad,” says Louise, who works in marketing. “The weight loss hasn’t changed that. It just means he has more energy to keep up with them. There are also the little things like seeing him go into his wardrobe and pull out a pair of jeans he could never quite fit and they’re almost too big for him now. I can see his face light up, which is awesome.”

Working on breakfast radio, Jason is up every morning before 4am, but the early hours are worth it because it means he gets to go on special “dadventures” with Olly and Max after school.

Sons Olly (left) and Max may struggle to keep up with Dad now!

His favourite moments, though, are the end-of-day chats he and Louise share with their sons.

He enthuses, “When we put them to bed, we spend a few minutes chatting and you hear the most amazing stories about their days and their innermost thoughts and feelings because they have that one-on-one time with you. I never expected to have that as a dad.”

Related stories

Jason Reeves: love is in the airwaves
Real Life

Jason Reeves: love is in the airwaves

Radio DJ Jason Reeves talks to thousands of listeners every day on the air without a hint of nerves, but he was finding it difficult to keep calm as he prepared to pop the question to his true love. After suggesting a Sunday morning walk on a Takapuna beach with his girlfriend Louise ourray, the […]