A dad who was having “at least 20 drinks per night” has shared how four words from his young daughter changed his life forever.
Liam Norval, originally from Cardiff, used to be known as the ‘King of Clubs’ – a moniker he earned working as the marketing manager of London’s Café de Paris.
The ex pro-footballer would spend his nights partying with the likes of Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Rita Ora before returning home hungover to his family – wife Catherine, 35, and daughter, Isabella.
Liam’s weight also ballooned, with the former sports-obsessed dad going from 13 to 17 stone.
But it wasn’t until his little girl – aged three back then – said something strange that he realised just how much he’d let his health slip.
“My daughter said to me, ‘Daddy, you look pregnant. Are you going to have a baby?’” the 36-year-old told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, ‘Well, she’s absolutely right.’
“[When drinking], it was like I had a second personality.
“… [but] when you’re in that bubble of nightlife, you don’t see the day-to-day effect that you’re having on your physical outlet.
“When I was a footballer, I was the fittest in every team I was in.
“Having my daughter was a big signal that I needed to change, but this comment was what pushed me to do it.
“I wanted to be dancing at her wedding in 30 years’ time.”
The former pro footballer played for Millwall between the ages of seven and 12, and then West Ham youth until he was 16 before moving to Leicester City where he played until he was 19 on the first team squad.
His final team was Bromley FC, where he played between the ages of 20 and 22 and was captain of the first team.
But a back injury that resulted in nerve damage eventually saw the game come to an end.
That’s when Liam turned his eyes to the club scene.
He said: “Café de Paris ended up being my baby for nearly a decade.
“I hosted numerous events and parties with Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Bruno Mars, Rita Ora, to name a few.
“That’s when I got the ‘King of Clubs’ title.
“It was very taxing but when I was in my early 20s, it didn’t take as much of a toll.
“But when I was ballooning up and had bloodshot eyes, I said to my wife, ‘I thought I was living the dream, but I’m not really living’.”
Liam married his wife, Catherine, an event planner and interior designer, in August 2015 – with comedian Jack Whitehall acting as his best man.
Things were good for a while, until the party lifestyle finally caught up with the ‘King of Clubs’.
During his heaviest drinking period, Liam says his anxiety was “through the roof” because he was constantly “hungover and grouchy” – which impacted his family life.
It was time to change – starting with a fitness routine and changing his eating habits.
He said: “I began driving [to work] because I knew it would stop me from drinking.
“I got really controlled with my eating habits and my sleeping too.
“I was training hard so I could run 10Ks and even half marathons, which I eventually did.
“Setting goals like that for myself helped me stay focused.
“One of the big things I did was the ketogenic diet, which helped me to lose a lot of weight – it involves intermittent fasting and a high-fat, low-carb diet.
“I’ve basically rewired myself so I can separate business from pleasure.”
In six months, Liam lost four and a half stone and now weighs 88kg.
While he looks better than he has in years, to the dad, the most important aspect is that he now has much more energy and time for his family.
He now runs his own PR, marketing and events agency, Posh Cockney, allowing him more freedom with his hours.
And the dad still enjoys football too, though from the stands – having recently attended a game with Ollie from Blazin’ Squad.
He said: “My daughter is seven now and she’s a beautiful young girl, and my family couldn’t be happier about my new lifestyle.
“My wife says it’s a life she always wished for – she loves the valuable time we spend together where I am present and my mood is always happy.
“When I see people who haven’t seen me for five years, they think I look 10 years younger.
“I feel amazing now.
“While I enjoy a glass of champagne, it’s just for special occasions.
“I probably would have died if I hadn’t changed or knocked a huge chunk of [time] my life.
“Your body can only take so much.”
BREAKFAST: Fried breakfast
LUNCH: Half chicken, gravy, mixed veggies and potatoes
DINNER: Pie and mash
DIET NOW (Keto diet)
BREAKFAST: Coffee and water
LUNCH: Grilled chicken or fish with veggies
DINNER: Same as lunch