Chefs and Restaurateurs Who Lost a Lot of Weight, and How They Did It

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If people who are surrounded by food all day can do it, so can you

Chefs and Restaurateurs Who Lost a Lot of Weight, and How They Did It

For most people, losing weight and keeping it off is a monumental task. For chefs and restaurateurs, who are literally surrounded by food all day long, it’s an even greater challenge. But these nine food world figures beat the odds, lost the weight, and kept it off. 

Photo via idealweight.co.uk

José Andrés

A couple years ago, the 278-pound chef decided to lose weight, and dropped more than 40 pounds. While he started his diet by drinking shakes in order to limit himself to 1,000 calories per day, he soon switched over to eating tapas-style portions of his favorite foods. “I don’t say no,” Andrés told Bon Appetit. “I have butter, but I don’t have the entire bar of butter. And I make sure it’s good butter and good bread, so it’s worth it.” He also eats lots of fruit and vegetables and exercises regularly. 

Joe Bastianich

This restaurateur changed his life once he changed the way he thought about food: as “fuel for ambition” instead of a reward. “That was the big 'a-ha' moment for me because I was brought up in a world where food was a reward, a celebration — there were always dishes, you had to eat this,” he told us. “If you can step away from that and fill your life so that you can refuel by food, then everything you eat is kind of like gas in your tank. It changes the way you feel about things.” In addition, he runs every day and participates in marathons and Ironman competitions. 

Richard Blais

Chef Richard Blais was 60 pounds overweight when he realized that he no longer recognized himself in the mirror. "You get off work, it's one in the morning, you go out, talk shop, and you end up eating a whole pizza or [drinking] a whole bottle of wine," he told CNN. "You do that 60 or 70 days in a row, and I put myself in really bad shape." After meeting his now-wife, Jazmin, he took up running and started eating and cooking healthier. The 60 excess pounds came off, and he’s kept them off.

Jamie Brooks

British chef Jamie Brooks weighed more than 500 pounds when a friend decided that he needed to step in and help him lose weight. The friend’s strategy? Sending him mean texts every day for six weeks, calling him a “fat f---” and telling him “You’ll be dead by the time you’re 40.” Brooks started a diet, changed his eating and exercise habits, and lost more than 300 pounds.

Photo via idealweight.co.uk

Rocco DiSpirito

Jane Bruce/ Restaurant Divided

Chef and restaurateur Rocco DiSpirito lost 50 pounds in 2014 after partaking in a regimen he created called the Pound a Day Diet. It’s low in calories and carbohydrates and high in protein, and he supplemented it with a rigorous workout regimen. 

Graham Elliot

Chicago chef Graham Elliot weighed close to 400 pounds when he decided, in 2013, to undergo a weight-loss surgery called a sleeve gastrectomy. Within a year he’d taken off more than 150 pounds, and in May 2013 he completed a 10K in one hour and 16 minutes. 

Tom Kerridge

British chef and cookbook author Tom Kerridge dropped 85 pounds in 2013 and 2014, by cutting two bad habits from his life: drinking alcohol and eating carbs. He also swims on a daily basis. 

Jesse Schenker

The Daily meal

Recette’s Jesse Schenker topped off at 255 pounds, but on his son’s first birthday he decided to take control of his diet and dropped 55 pounds over the next six to eight months. He hired a psychologist, identified his “trigger” foods, and strictly limited his portion sizes.  

Art Smith

Wikimedia Commons

After being diagnosed with diabetes in 2010, chef Art Smith (who’s best known for being Oprah’s personal chef) lost 100 pounds. In 2013 he published a cookbook, Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort, in which he laid out his weight loss strategy: cut back on processed foods and soda, exercise more, and eat a lot of salad.  He eats six small meals per day, including oatmeal with berries and an egg white frittata with zucchini for breakfast.