You’ve heard the old axiom that you should never trust a skinny chef, right? After all, a successful wizard in the kitchen ought to be packing on the pounds simply from tasting his own food — or so we think.
Yet there are real downsides when professional chefs overindulge in their own cooking. Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss,” has learned that firsthand.
Valastro’s amazing pastry talents propelled “Cake Boss” to 14 sweet seasons. It also swelled his famous Carlo’s Bakery to 22 locations, plumped up his writing career, and grew a line of pre-made foods.
All of that success came with a cost: It made Valastro more than a little overweight.
“I just woke up one morning and looked at myself and was like, ‘Come on, you’ve gotta stop eating,’” he told People. “It wasn’t like a health scare or anything like that.
“It really was really just, I wasn’t moving the same and was feeling kind of sluggish.” Valastro explained that he had fallen into bad habits thanks to his hectic career.
He explained, “I never ate breakfast. I would have a cup of coffee, and by lunch I was starving and scarf down two slices of pizza.”
Many people manage to significantly reshape their physiques all on their own. But when it came to losing weight for Valastro, he decided that he wanted the help of professionals.
“A lot of people have been asking me how I’ve slimmed down lately so I just wanted to share that I’ve used the Optavia program,” he wrote on an Instagram post that showed off his slimmer frame. “I’m not being paid to say this, and it should be noted that I think everybody is different, and you should do whatever suits you, but this is what I’m doing, and I’m very happy with the results so far!”
Optavia is diet program that combines meal plans with professional coaching. The company’s programs aim to help clients initially shed weight and then keep it off.
Valastro emphasized to People that he didn’t try to lose weight in order to improve his appearance. “I’m not the sensitive type,” he said.
“People could call me fat, they could call me skinny, I don’t really care. … Even at my heaviest, I was always comfortable with myself.”
He’s far from the only professional chef trying to slim down for health reasons. Chef Seamus Mullen, who helms Tertulia and El Colmado in Manhattan, had swelled to 260 pounds by 2007.
A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis snapped him to attention, and he began to radically change his diet and activity level. After several years, he lost 60 pounds.
He thinks his own health revolution is part of a culinary cultural renaissance, telling The New York Post, “There’s been a real change in the culture around the kitchen. It has to do with chefs realizing it is impossible to succeed on [an unhealthy] trajectory for very long.”
For Valastro’s part, he plans on keeping trim despite his decidedly caloric specialty. How does he plan to do it?
“It’s hard being a baker, because I still have to taste stuff,” he said. “But now I’ll just have one lick.”
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