Reality Stars Spill: “How I Lost the Weight”
Forget catfights and breakups — we want celeb secrets to a great body! Use them to flatten your belly (after a baby, after 40, after too many holiday cookies) and slim down everywhere else.
The mom of two, host of The Biggest Loser, and star of Days of Our Lives wasn’t busy enough, so she wrote a book! The Mommy Diet hits stores this month. PLUS: WIN A BIGGEST LOSER MAKEOVER! We’re giving away a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge inMalibu,CA, where you can start the year off right with healthy eating and a fitness program. Enter now at redbookmag.com/biggestloser.
Q In your book you talk about doing a “shape-up week,” where you exercise and focus on eating healthy. Is that your answer to crazyHollywoodcleanses?
A It’s my get-ready-for-a-photo-shoot, big-event type of thing, but I also use it when I find myself slipping into old habits. I have done the Master Cleanse in the past, but it’s not good for you. You totally mess up your metabolism! My shape-up week means cutting out alcohol, red meat, and sugar, exercising every day, and pampering myself, whether it’s with a mani-pedi, a haircut, or a new book.
Q Is it hard to do that around your kids?
A Yes — that’s why I don’t expect anyone to spend their life like that. You have to arm yourself with healthy options so you’re not totally torturing yourself. Almonds are a big snack for me. I also like Greek yogurt and fruit salad with grapefruit, mint, and apple slices.
Q How do you make time for exercise?
A On days when I’m taping both Days and Biggest Loser, I go to the gym from 11 a.m. to noon. Or I work out at night, after I put my kids to bed. I do [Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper’s DVD] Yoga for the Warrior — it’s brutal. If I never had to work again, I’d take an hour and a half yoga class every other day and spin every day. I find those workouts so satisfying. Once I was in spin class just after the baby was born, and they played James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” and I seriously started to cry. I was embarrassed, but it felt so good and I was so proud of what I was doing about my life and my body, and there was something so cathartic about the whole thing.
Q You look amazing. Was bouncing back after pregnancy tough for you?
A Getting back in shape after my first baby, in 2005, was really difficult. I thought, I’ll worry about it later. I’m focused on this new person in my life. Then one month turned into three, and then a year, and I felt defeated because I couldn’t lose those 10 to 15 extra pounds. With my second, in 2009, I had more knowledge about weight loss from the show and I had a goal of wanting to look great at the finale, four months after my daughter was born. I really wanted that transformation, just like the contestants.
Q It must be difficult being on TV while your weight is fluctuating.
A Yeah. You feel judged, whether people say it or not. My book is intended to support the moms. So many women come to The Biggest Loser campus because as soon as that child is born, they dedicate their entire life to taking care of him or her and forget themselves. I want to embrace them and tell them that [taking care of yourself] is not selfish. You need to take ownership, feel like you’re worth it, and invest in yourself.
Q Do you worry about pushing contestants too hard?
A Obviously, so we’re super-cautious. But I feel it’s important for the contestants to be pushed outside their comfort zone. We get heat for making them take their shirts off when they weigh in, but they’ve been hiding from the world and pretending they don’t have a problem for too long. It’s not to embarrass anyone — it’s because they need to be open and honest. And when you take your shirt off and you let people see the truth, you can grow from there, and you can progress and change.
Q The show seems to really be about building self-confidence.
A You’re changing your mind-set about weight. For me, I stopped setting a goal that I had to be “skinny.” I set up a goal to be as healthy as possible. That made a huge difference in my success rate. I wasn’t failing all the time because I wasn’t skinny. And then when you look at it as a lifestyle instead of being on a “diet,” then that also gives you a sense that you’re not failing if you go to a party and you end up not making the right choices. You didn’t fail in your diet; it’s just one day in your whole life, so tomorrow, make a better choice.
After five years hosting Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi knows how to shed the 10 pounds she gains each season. But baby weight was a new challenge. Here’s how she dealt.
Q What was your biggest surprise about your body post-baby?
A That I liked myself at a bigger size. I wanted to lose the weight, but I thought I was doing something more important than tending to my vanity. You look at your body totally differently. It created this life and brought it into the world.
Q Unlike a lot of celebrities, you didn’t seem to be on a fast track to slim down after you hadKrishnain February.
A I gained about 38 pounds total, and I was beginning to feel like I was never going to lose the weight, but from one week to the next, I would. Before I knew it, I had dropped 10 pounds.
Q What advice do you have for women trying to lose baby weight?
A Eat right and exercise and do what you can, but there is a certain portion of what happens to you that isn’t in your control. It took nine months to put on the weight, and it’ll probably take nine months to lose all the weight. So don’t pressure yourself and feel bad.
Q Speaking of weight loss, you gain 10 to 15 pounds from all the eating in each season of Top Chef. What is your trick for shedding those pounds quickly?
A I cut out sweets, red meat, alcohol, and cheese, except for low-fat cottage cheese, for three to four weeks. I basically have veggies, fish, brown rice, and egg-white omelets. Now, because I’m nursing, I’ll have one piece of toast and a poached egg, half a grapefruit, and coffee or tea for breakfast. And for lunch I may have fish, veggies, and garbanzo beans or a turkey burger. For dinner, I like a big bowl of Vietnamese noodles with chicken or shrimp.
Q Do you have any time to work out?
A I really don’t. Whatever extra time I have, I sleep. I was very sleep-deprived [at first] from work plus the crazy hours I had with a newborn at home. So I didn’t have time for long workouts at the gym, so I’d run up and down the stairs in my building in the morning for 45 minutes or jump rope. Skipping rope is great because you can throw it in your suitcase and do it anywhere.
Q I’ve heard that eating spicy foods is a great way to eat less and lose weight. Do you find that to be true?
A I love spicy food. Anyone can make a good dish if they add bacon, cream, or butter; a great cook can make something low-calorie that still tastes amazing. Spices help you do that. That’s why I started my spice company [Easy Exotic] with HSN. We make five blends. The Latin one has chipotle and citrus and is great for grilled meat or fish or in guacamole.
Q What other tips do you have to make cooking easy for busy moms?
A You know you’re going to use onions, garlic, and peppers, so chop it all on the weekend and store it in Ziploc bags so that when you get home, you can prepare a meal fast.
Q When you tape Top Chef, do you ever look at a dish and go, “Oh, no, there’s 800 calories in that!”?
A No, I can’t do that. It would ruin it. I’m judging whether a dish is executed well, not how healthy it is. The chefs put their heart and soul in it, so I want to do my part passionately as well.
We love the queen of the Skinnygirl empire for her brutal honesty and overshares. Now, she spills to us about leaving Real Housewives, baby number two, and her personal eating plan.
Q You were so thin weeks after having Bryn in May. How did you do it?
A I didn’t binge when I was pregnant. Most people treat pregnancy like the big binge, and then they can’t take the excess weight off so they go on a crash diet. I was mellow about it and reasonable. You don’t have to be eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts. When people find out you’re pregnant, they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, you’re going to gain all this weight and you’re going to get hemorrhoids and you’re not going to be able to go to the bathroom.’ I didn’t listen to anyone; I knew I was going to do it my way.
Q Are you strict about what you eat?
A My only slap-on-your-hand “don’t” is binge-ing. It leads to eating out of emotion. You’re not bad if you eat; you’re not good if you don’t. Food is not your best friend or enemy.
Q Were you an emotional eater?
A Absolutely. I used to get drunk and binge on everything in the deli, and then do a juice fast or starve, then do it all over again.
Q How did you get yourself off that roller coaster?
A I was going on a trip toItalyin 2006. Usually when I traveled, I had anxiety about food. I would deprive myself and then overdo it on the last day. This time I decided I was going to try everything and enjoy it. I realized there was no reason to be terrified of a cappuc-cino or a plate of pasta. I started following my instincts. If I had dessert, maybe I wouldn’t have bread or wine. I figured out what I wanted, and treated my diet like a bank account. If I have this, then I won’t have that. My eating philosophy evolved from there, and now I don’t even think about it.
Q You’re crazy-busy. How do you fit in exercise?
A That’s where my yoga DVD comes in [Body by Bethenny]. It’s only 40 minutes, and I do it two to three times a week. Sometimes I split it into two or three parts. You shouldn’t dread working out. Exercise is like an old friend: You may not be able to see that friend all the time, but you’re not mad when you see them, you’re happy, and you get right back into it. I do yoga at night with my husband [after] we put the baby down. I say, a family that namastes together stays together.
Q Okay, one question about Real Housewives of New York City. How hard was it to leave?
A Hard to leave Housewives? It was the easiest thing to do! I’m completely done with women being rewarded for bad behavior. I’m happy, and I love my life. I don’t bite the hand that feeds me, and I’m very grateful to Bravo, but thank God I got out of that alive. It was fun the first season. Then it got not fun, and then it got scary and unhealthy and disgusting.
Q You recently turned 40. Any thoughts or fears about that?
A I would love to have a second child, and it’s not something I have time to wait for. You really experience your biological clock if you’re my age.
Q Tell me about your next book. What’s the idea behind it?
A It’s called A Place of Yes, and it’s about getting what you want out of your life. That doesn’t mean I’m always positive and always in a great mood, because I’m not. It’s about my experiences and how I handled them, like how people told me my first book was going to fail and it was a New York Times best-seller for five months.
Q How did you become so good at casting away self-doubt?
A I just know that it’s possible, and keep going. It’s like driving: Stay in your lane. I couldn’t pay my rent four years ago. I didn’t know if I’d ever have kids or get married, and I found my way. No matter where you are and what you’re doing, go get it.
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