Fit Foodies – Stay Slim Secrets Of Celebrtity Chefs


     Ever heard the old adage “Never trust a skinny cook?” I have to tell you, when I turn on the t.v. and there’s a cooking show on, I don’t want to see someone more thin than me whipping up a chocolate cake and flaunting their size 5 figure while tempting me with their 3000 calorie delicacies. I want to watch a Paula Dean or a Chef Tell. I want a grandparent figure whose very presence seems to call out, “Come over here sugar and let me fatten you up a bit. You’re too skinny. Somebody needs to feed you.” I expect to see delicious food being cooked by people who look like they’ve tasted their own food a time or two….and really enjoyed it. 

     Well, lets just say “the times they are a changin’ ” and chef’s are getting smaller and sexier. I’m a little miss-trustful (and honestly jealous as all get out) when I see skinny little Sandra Lee of Semi- Homemade or sexy Giada of Food Network fame, making the kind of rich and tasty deserts that once put me in size 20 pants. They look like they’ve been living on carrot sticks and running marathons. When fat people cook I’m undivided. Food – Good! When fit people cook it makes me feel all confused and guilty. I’m not sure whether to drool over the chocolate cake or go run a mile. Hmm, maybe my discomfort is a good thing. A kind of counter balance.

     After recognizing my discomfort on the subject I asked myself a question. Are the fit foodies a fraud? Are they all merely front men (and women) for some chubby culinary genius? Are they actors who can talk the food talk, but walk the celebrity diet and fitness walk? Can you love rich foods, cook them, consume them, and not be a size 3x?

     Well, prompted by the above pics of Rachael Ray, I began to do a little research. Here is a girl who hasn’t always been thin. Maybe she was eating her own cooking. So how did she lose the weight and how does she keep it off?

     For Rachael it’s all about the running. When a throat surgery left this chatty t.v. chef, who was used to talking non-stop for 12 – 16 hours a day, unable to talk at all for 3 weeks she had a lot of pent-up energy. She got bored and she began to run! “I used to say I would never run unless I was being chased by someone with a gun,” Ray told People Magazine. “Now I’m a little obsessed with it!”

     “I started going to the gym with John to see if I could run off some of the frustration of not being able to speak.” Ray recounts. “I was miserable at first. I hated running. Some days I did the elliptical machine instead because my knees were bothering me so much. But I kept going back. Then, at the end of those three no-talking weeks, I was on the elliptical one day and realized I was smiling. It hit me that I was actually happy to be doing this thing I had thought I hated. Exercising was helping me think better and be more focused”. In addition, Ray lost 2 jean sizes and shed 2 inches from her waist in the first 8 weeks.
     Now, 6 mornings a week she hits the gym, coffee in hand and husband at her side. There she runs 3.5 miles on the treadmill or puts in time on the elliptical machine while listening to her favorite music, Dave Grohl or Florence and the Machine . “Then I do strength work on the machines: biceps, triceps, the twisty one (I call it the twist and shout) where you hold on to the handles, the thing that looks like a chair without a seat that you hold yourself up on, and my personal favorite, the crunch machine.” Ray explains “I really dig the machines—they’re like the monkey bars at the playground. Then I do what I call my bendy-stretchy and go home. ” In a segment with Shape Magazine she references an at home morning routine of exercise that includes 100 crunches, 100 butt lifts and at least 20 push ups. Sounds like a lot of working out for a girl who use to hate the gym.
     The idea of workouts use to leave her dreading an additional area of pressure to perform and prove herself. “The gym used to be my adversary. But that has all changed. Now, I look forward to it every morning. I got hooked on working out. And when I get obsessed with something, I get obsessed.  I’d always been a night owl and dreaded mornings, but I’ve become that person who pops out of bed excited to go to the gym at 6:30 a.m. Even when I have an early TV gig, I still go. I’ll wake up at 4:45, walk a block to the gym, and be there at five o’clock when it opens.
     As for the benefits of the exercise, Ray told Women’s Health, “Since I started working out, I’ve realized what a smooth cat I’ve become. I feel like I wasted a large part of my adult life not exercising. That’s how much it benefits me, from the way I think, to the energy that it gives me, to the way it sets the tone for my entire day. I feel physically stronger too. As far as how clothes fit and the rest of that junk? Yes, it’s easier to shop because stuff looks better on me. And I get more compliments now on my appearance than I ever did before. But none of that motivates me as much as the mental benefits do.”

      But what about the food? Did Rachael trade in her hearty meals made with generous portions of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for the “lighter side”?

     “I don’t categorize food as bad or a guilty pleasure,” she says insisting that she has lost the weight without giving up any of her favorite foods. “I don’t believe in counting calories; eat in moderation and you won’t have to worry about the numbers. I eat pretty much everything. Flavor is really important. If you peeked into my fridge and pantry today, you’d find almonds, cashews, goat cheese, Pecorino, salami, bacon from upstate New York, olive oil, pasta, tuna, an open bottle of white wine, tomatoes and beans. Being from an Italian family, Rachael embraces what she refers to as a “Mediterranean diet”.  She drinks gallons of water and eats lots of whole foods.  She eats lots of salad and greens but also regularly enjoys pasta or steak for dinner, accompanied by a glass of wine.  “I would never, ever remove that from my life—the most essential part of my day is a proper dinner,” Ray says adding. ” Truly relaxing during meals and enjoying the foods on your plate also matters.”

     In my opinion, Chef Giada de Laurentiis is just one of the most beautiful and glamorous women to every grace the small screen. She has an old world hollywood grace. Her perfect figure and radiant complexion appear to attest to a real health and vitality. However, every time I’ve seen her cooking, it’s always been rich italian foods with lots of cheese and meats. Can she really eat like THAT and still look like a movie star?
     Giada says that moderation is they key to looking and staying healthy. She attributes her slender figure to eating small amounts frequently throughout the day. In and interview with Fitness Magazine she said, “I’m a big chocoholic and I like sweets a lot but I try not to overeat anything, basically, and I think that’s sort of the key. It’s calories in and calories out so if you overdo it one day, you have to take in less the next.”
     “Food is not the enemy!” De Laurentiis told Shape Magazine. “It’s not food; it’s how much you eat. I eat pasta, but a small portion, not a giant one, and I eat more greens than carbs. A good gauge is to think in terms of an appetizer-sized plate rather than dinner-sized. Then tell yourself that you’ll savor every bite.”
     Giada use to work out at the gym everyday but during her pregnancy her obstetrician warned her to take things a little slower. At that point she switched to yoga, intending to make it a temporary change.  “I thought, ‘Oh, this will be a good way to stretch,’ but it turned out to be so much more!” she says. “It taught me to breathe, it strengthened my muscles, and it helped me relax.” Giada was so thrilled with the results, she continues to practice still. 5 days a week, a private instructor comes to her house at 4:45 a.m. for an hour-long session before her work day begins. “If I don’t do it first thing, I simply won’t do it,” she says. “With my crazy schedule, that often means cutting into my sleep. But yoga gives me the energy and focus I need to get through my day. I’m not saying I don’t need a cup of coffee in the afternoon sometimes, but it’s the yoga that definitely keeps me centered.”
     I haven’t forgotten about the boys. Though it’s a littler harder to find info on how the male celeb chef’s are staying in shape some of them do admit to working for it.
     Bobby Flay, like Rachael, is a runner. He recently finished his third marathon. “I’m up at 6 a.m., and I put on my running clothes before I can think about it too much—and just go. I don’t schedule any shooting for Throwdown! Or my other shows until I work out in the morning. Being able to run outside or at the gym—that’s incredibly important to me. It keeps me fit for the shows. Iron Chef is actually 60 minutes of pure running. I run around more than anybody else on that show.”
     “I try not to think about my diet a lot. I just eat in moderation.” Bobby told Runner’s World Magazine. ” At a restaurant, I try to finish two-thirds of what’s in front of me instead of all of it. That’s made a big difference in how much weight I carry. Honestly, right now with the running, I’m in probably the best shape I’ve been in my adult life. I’m really careful about how much I eat, not what I eat. I eat healthfully, but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat fat, because I do. But I don’t like fast food, never liked it.”

     Silver fox Todd English has a personal trainer who puts him through an hour or two of “high velocity” exercise several times a week, according to the New York Times. Running in place, lifting weights, and  jumping rope are all apparently part of the routine.

     Jamie Oliver of “Naked Chef” and “Food Revolution” fame has built his career out of stressing the importance and joy of foods presented in healthy and natural forms. Through his television shows, books, culinary school, and political activism he has taught millions of people how to eat better and live better, even encouraging folks to grow their own foods. None of my research suggested that Jamie has any organized type of exercise program, though there was comment about him having ambitions to start one. Jamie says that he feels fortunate to have access to home-grown foods and the knowledge to prepare them in a healthy manner and that he wishes everyone had that. He admits to loving all kinds of food but focuses on staying away from over processed ones.  As long as the ingredients are fresh and the portions are an appropriate size Jamie considers that healthy eating. It seems to work well for him.


Chef Amanda Freitag recently made a commitment to fitness.

     How does someone who is “paid to eat” lose weight? Chef Amanda Freytag, judge on Food Network’s Chopped, was featured in the January 2012 issue of Fitneess magazine after having dropped 11 pounds and 7 inches. Having built a career as  on creamy sauces and buttery cuisine the tendency toward weight gain was natural. The losing? Not so much. Fitness magazine put together a team of experts to help Amanda out.  What steps did Amanda take to lose the weight?

     Amanda started small with 15 minutes on the stationary bike and 30 second of strength moves with 7.5 lb dumbbells. Eventually she was doing each move until “failure” (could do no more). Since Amanda travels a lot her trainer also gave her a list of exercises that require no equipment so there would be no excuse for not working out.  On that list – Bridge, Burpee, and Three Legged Plank.

     Amanda’s dietician encouraged her to put in prep time in the kitchen while she had the time available. Cutting up veggies and preparing complex carbs like quinoa and brown rice ahead of time makes for quick meal prep at the end of the day. “Now I can steam broccoli, warm a serving of rice, and grill salmon for dinner in less than 10 minutes” says Amanda. That certainly negates the no time excuse.

     Amanda’s dietician also put her on the path to healthier snacking. She taught her to ask questions first and snack later. The questions? Are you really hungry? Is it thirst instead? Are you fighting the need for sleep? Is this stress eating? If hunger really is the problem then a low-calorie snack of complex carbs was recommended. Below are a few of the snacks suggested, each under 200 calories. If a snack is yummy enough to please a professional culinary judge, it’s worth checking out.



     Amanda is living by the three bite rule these days.  Since her nutritionist taught her that the first and last bite hold the greatest pleasure she is limiting treats and official food tasting to just 3 bites. The exception – veggies. She fills up on plenty of healthy veggies. In order to stick to this plan she never shows up to a tasting starved. She eats greek yogurt with fruit about an hour prior to her tasting events.

Amanda working out.

      The chef I enjoyed reading most about was Amanda Freitag . Probably because she is more like me. We are on a journey to become more fit and sexy.  She is no supermodel. Her weight is around 175  lbs after having already lost some. She isn’t just maintaining. She is fighting for her figure. 

     I’ve decided I like to watch healthy chefs on t.v. After learning that they have to think about it and work for it too, it inspires me. I can have the pasta, but I need to eat in moderation and I need to remember to keep the portions and the exercise in balance. Bobby Flay said he runs so he can eat whatever he wants. That makes sense. If I exercise and train my body to want proper amounts I can enjoy food without the guilt. The counter-balance is based on truth. If you’re gonna eat hearty foods, move that body!



Rachael Ray's timeline.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 14:06:00

    I am part Itallian myself, I discovered I was gaining a pot belly, from PCOS, how to beat this and eat right, and still get pregnant and keep the baby, has been a struggle, lost a miscarriage. Doing the almond milk, fruit, protein thing. Everymorning


  2. Dorothy Mills
    Aug 10, 2014 @ 11:56:55

    Rachel I need your help .I have a 32 yrs old son that weights close to 500 lbs . He is a EMT and all his coworker say he works hard . He wants to have lap band . But crazy things is he s into savings others lives .But his insurance want help him save his own .I worry we have a bad history of heart Desease in my family . I have ask for help from different shows . But seems to me thay focus on family troubles .Drugs are abuse . Being overweight is metal and physical abuse . He barely pays his bills on his pay . That’s why I’m pleading for your help . If nothing else maybe you can show him the tools he needs to change his life around . Thank you Rachel .


    • slimdownwithsandee
      Aug 16, 2014 @ 13:01:18

      Dorothy, this blog is not associated directly with Rachel Ray in any way. I too am impressed by her success. Much luck in reaching her and blessings to your son in his quest for better health. This blog offers some helpful tips that I hope can be a start for him.


  3. Trackback: The Celeb Weight Loss » Rachael Ray Weight Loss

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: