Mike Isabella Graffiato (opening this spring)

(Michael Bonfigli; Inset:)
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Age: 36

Height: 5 feet 9 inches

Peak weight: 230 pounds

Current weight: 215 pounds

Lost: 15 pounds

How he gained: "I was working out seriously when I was on the original 'Top Chef' (Season 6), running, cardio. Once I got back from the show, I was happy at Zaytinya [where he was working as chef], I was getting married. I just started putting on weight. I put on 40 poundsover a year and a half."

Aha! moment: "When I was recording "[Top Chef] All-Stars" this year, competing was so much harder: bending over, my back. I realized it was time to make a change. Seeing all the pictures and video coming out, there's a big difference fromthe shows in Vegas."

Regimen: "I had a membership at Vida that I never used, so I started working out with a personal trainer three times a week. I've been doing that for three months. I do core training, leg exercises. With a new restaurant opening, I'm going to be on my feet all day long for six, seven days a week. I don't want to rush it and lose the weight and have it come right back. It took [time] to put the weight on; it's going to take at least two years to take it off, and I'm three months into it.

"I was never a breakfast eater, but now every morning I have a healthy bowl of cereal that has no sugars in it; or oatmeal; or two eggs with two whites added.

"I drink water 95 percent of the time. Soda is a special thing. I cut out those high sugars. I really cut down on drinking booze to once or twice a week.

"At this point in my life, I have to watch what I drink, watch what I eat, watch my sugars, and work out on a fairly consistent basis. No special diets. It will be little nerve-racking opening up an Italian restaurant that's going to have pizzas and pastas on the menu every day. I'm nervous about that. I just have to be focused. Baby steps, baby steps."

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