I KNEW WHAT I WAS GETTING INTO: 72-ounce steaks, shakes by the quart, atomic wings. When I landed Man v. Food in 2008, I accepted the fact that my weight would fluctuate. But instead of stressing about the scale, I made my long-term health a primary concern. I met with a hematologist, a lipidologist, a cardiologist, and my doctor. Off the set, I exercised and ate healthy. I figured that as long as my blood work and heart were good, I was good. But those efforts were no match for the thousands of calories I'd eat over the course of a shoot.
It wasn't the 2 1/2-pound pastrami sandwiches or the yard-long bratwursts that did me in. It was all the extras. I was logging 15-hour days, sampling food every minute. I had access to these amazing dishes, and it was easy to lose sight of how quickly the bites added up.
Then I started shooting Adam Richman's Fandemonium, and last January I had a chance to look at the rough cuts. It was depressing. But it wasn't just my appearance--airplane seats felt cramped, I was wearing an XXL jacket, and I had less energy. I went in for a checkup, and when my doctor had me stand on the scale, even he was surprised. Seeing that number (which I'll take to the grave) was a turning point. I knew I needed to make a change.
I cut out white flour and starches and worked with my doctor and a nutritionist to develop a plan. They put me on a calorie-restricted diet that incorporated 100-calorie shakes and fiber-enriched tea and fruit punch. My body adapted quickly. I realized that I didn't need nearly as many calories as I'd grown accustomed to. I ate 100 to 200 calories every two hours or so, consumed healthy proteins (yogurt, lean meat, turkey jerky), and drank a gallon of water a day. And as my weight dropped, my energy soared.
To combat the monotony of gym workouts, I started playing soccer. I looked at workouts as training sessions. My soccer training includes squats, pushups, resistance-band work, and sprints. Ninety minutes of running became part of my love of the game rather than a chore.
Was it tough when the crew was eating pizza while I had almonds and yogurt? Yeah. But because of that momentary sacrifice, I went from an XXL to an L in 10 months. Now I wear slim-cut suits. People no longer call me a teddy bear. Do I miss the food? Sure. . .but not as much as I enjoy the benefits of being at a healthy weight.
HOMETOWN: BROOKLYN, NY
WEIGHT LOST: 70 LB
REACHED HIS GOAL IN: 10 MONTHS
Escape These Fat Traps
Wherever he goes, Adam Richman meets people who expect him to eat big. Here's how he overcomes social pressure in different situations, and how you can too.
YOU'RE KNOWN AS A BIG EATER
If you have a reputation as a bar-food guy, people expect you to stay a bar-food guy. "I ordered a salad in a sports bar, and the guys at the next table went crazy," says Richman. "They were like, 'What's wrong with you? Get some wings!' " But if you want to lose weight, you have to stop living up to other people's expectations. "Now I take an odd pleasure in disappointing people," he says.
YOUR FRIENDS SUPERSIZE IT
On the set, Richman's crew ate with abandon, and that made it hard for him to stay on track. Guys typically eat worse when they're in a group, says MH nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D. So when you know you'll be around an unhealthy spread (like at a poker game or Super Bowl party), stock the snack tray with healthy noshes, like vegetables, nuts, popcorn, and jerky.
YOUR COWORKERS POUND COOKIES
Doughnuts and cake in the office? "I never used to turn down food because I didn't want to seem ungrateful," says Richman. So now he just passes it on. Try it: The next time someone hands you something you'd rather not eat, break off a piece and take a small bite. Then compliment the maker and take another bite. Now pass the plate and suggest to others that they give it a try.
YOUR CLIENTS LIKE TO FEAST
Tackle lunch meetings and client dinners strategically: When you sit down, suggest lean proteins and vegetables for appetizers, Roussell says. That'll keep the onion rings off the table and help you avoid a bread binge. For your main, go for grilled fish or shellfish and say you have a big workout in the morning and need to be light on your feet. Then, do the workout.
Try Adam Richman's tips for tastier vegetables.
Cut them in half, toss them with a couple of spoonfuls of miso paste and some extra-virgin olive oil, and roast at 425°F until browned, about 25 minutes.
CRUDITES WITH YOGURT DIP
Cut up raw vegetables and make a savory dip by adding lemon juice and garlic to Greek yogurt, along with a pinch each of sea salt, black pepper, and paprika.
For a spicy, satisfying, healthy side dish, saute florets of broccoli with some jerk seasoning and olive oil. Or use green beans and carrots instead of broccoli.
The table is set for the ultimate culinary clash in this one part cooking competition, one part game show. Host Adam Richman ("Man v. Food") will give homegrown amateur cooks the chance to test their skills against professional chefs. Every down-home cook has that one signature dish or secret family recipe that always gains favor with friends and family. Now, imagine going head-to-head in the kitchen against five professional chefs, who try to cook your specialty dish even better than you in the hopes of winning over a dinner party made up of the American public. With each savored victory, the cash prize gets bigger and bigger as the home cooks rise to every challenge and outcook the professional chefs. Think you've got what it takes to serve up the competition?