Chefs trim the fat - on themselves

Despite constant temptation, six D.C. chefs resolved to fight back and shed their unhealthy extra pounds. Their insights stand to help any resolution-makers follow their lead.
By David Hagedorn
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 4, 2011; 2:39 PM

Losing weight is not easy for anyone, but for professional chefs the task is especially challenging. They work long hours, don't get much exercise, eat irregularly and are constantly tempted by the abundant availability of rich foods and alcohol. In recent weeks, we noticed that despite those temptations, some Washington area chefs have been shedding the pounds. Their insights stand to help any resolution-makers follow their lead.

Among them, these chefs - Bryan Moscatello, Will Artley, Robert Wiedmaier, Gillian Clark, Cathal Armstrong and Mike Isabella - have lost 278 pounds, the weight of two average-size women.No two of their regimens are the same, but some commonalities emerged from our interviews.

The no-nos: eating late at night, drinking alcohol and consuming sugar and caffeine. The winning strategies: a healthful breakfast, regular exercise and moderation over deprivation. What comes through loud and clear is the message we all know to be true: There is no magic way to lose weight; the process involves hard work.

Being surrounded by deliciousness all day might be difficult, but the challenge is not insurmountable. Clark puts it aptly: "Just because it's there doesn't mean I have to eat it, and if I eat it, I don't have to eat the whole thing."

Chef Gillian Clark

General Store and Post Office Tavern

Age: 47

Height: 5 feet 6¾ inches

Peak weight: 247 pounds

Current weight: 206 pounds

Lost: 41 pounds

How she gained: "I've been on every fad diet there is over the years. When I hit 40, that's when it got hard. I have high blood pressure, and the medicine affects the ability to lose weight. And I'm menopausal. Those things make it harder.

"I struggled with weight all my life. When my father died, there was a lot of depression eating going on. And I'm an anxiety eater. There were the pressures of closing one restaurant and opening another. We [chefs] stand in the same spot all day long and put junk in our mouths. We don't want to throw out that pie!"

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