Chefs tend not to be the most weight-conscious professionals. "We drink too much, we eat throughout the day, five to six days a week, 12 hours a day – it's very hard to be healthy as a chef," says Mike Isabella, chef and owner of Graffiato in Washington, D.C. That's why the Fit for Hope Challenge, a 12-week weight loss contest involving more than 15 chefs in the Washington, D.C. area, is such a telling feat. The contest, which was created by Isabella as a benefit for the American Cancer Society, ends this Tuesday, September 24 with a final weigh-in and gala that includes food from each of the contestants' restaurants. The leading chefs have come up with recipes, workout regimens, and mental tricks to keep their cravings at bay and shed the pounds. We talked to the current leaders of the contest about their strategies, tips, and how we can all avoid temptation (we included before and after images for a few of them, too).
Original weight: 254.4 pounds
Current weight: 205.5 pounds
Total loss: 48.9 pounds, 18.25 percent body weight loss
Todd Thrasher, the general manager and sommelier of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia, is, foremost, a master mixologist, focusing on homemade syrups, bitters, tonics, and other mixers, and putting them to use in particularly creative concoctions. Take his Las Ramblas, a cocktail with house-made cola, house-made sweet vermouth, and Barbancourt rum. His expertise led him to a 2008 James Beard Foundation Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year Nominee.
His strategy: The 9 pm fast.
"The most effective weight-loss strategy is to stop eating after 9 pm and cut the drinking down to only Sundays."
His vice: Food.
"I want to eat everything I see."
His health food: Hummus and celery.
"Hummus and celery are my new favorite foods."