They say a picture is worth a thousand words… apparently it’s true. People sometimes look at me today, dashing around from TV show to TV show with tons of energy talking about healthy food and think that I don’t “get it.” But with one glance at these photos, I’m sure you’ll understand that I do. By the time I was 15 years old, I weighed close to 200 pounds. And if I hadn’t found cooking, I swear I’d be sitting on my sofa at this very minute tipping the scales at over 400 pounds, feeling as stuck as I did for so many years. Instead, for over 15 years now, I’ve been a healthy, happy, obsession-free, size 6 with a passion to help anyone and everyone who has ever struggled with food or their weight.
In case I only look vaguely familiar, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Devin Alexander, the author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook, The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, The Most Decadent Diet Ever!, Fast Food Fix, and the soon-to-be-released, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening. I’m also the host of “Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander” on FitTv, a frequent guest on various television shows from “The Today Show” to “Good Morning America” and Discovery Health’s “National Body Challenge.” Maybe you caught me teaching The Biggest Loser contestants how to make healthier versions of their fast food faves on The Biggest Loser a few seasons back? I’m also a frequent contributor and columnist to major magazines like “Women’s Health”, “Fitness RX”, and “Clean Eating”; and the SpokesChef for a number of major U.S. food companies like Weight Watchers Smart Ones Frozen Meals and Circulon Cookware and Bakeware. Needless to say, food is my life.
Twenty years ago, I was the queen of yo-yo dieting-turned-obese-teen sitting on a sofa watching way too much TV only hoping for a day when I would be a “normal” weight and feel like I fit in. I spent more time than I could possibly (or would ever want to) recall, weighing myself, cooking, and baking cookies, hiding myself from the daily ridicule and insults I faced at school, because I was a lot bigger than the other kids.
Fortunately for me, everything changed by my late teens when I heard one simple truth: if you just cut 100 calories from your diet per day, on average, you’ll lose 10 pounds in a year. Quickly, I realized that my passion for cooking was the key to overcoming my demons and shedding the pounds. And by my early 20s I’d helped tons of celebrities and friends lose weight and get healthy simply by cooking the foods that I (and they!) love in a healthier way.
Now you may be thinking, “I’ve tried all that healthy stuff and it just doesn’t taste good.” For the most part, I’d have to agree with you. I would. I don’t get how people go on TV and show a lasagna with tons of meat and gooey cheese and then say in an excited tone that they’re going to make it much healthier by substituting veggies for the meat and adding less cheese. Um….Seriously? Do you not get that I got fat because I like the meat and lots of cheese?
My cooking is different in that instead of denying the cravings, I focus on them…and I get rid of the calories that you’re not tasting anyway. For instance, in my book, “The Most Decadent Diet Ever!”, I have a recipe for a Buffalo Wing Plate. You get four buffalo chicken strips dripping with buttery, firey sauce, blue cheese dressing for dipping, celery, carrots and cherry tomatoes just like you would at happy hour. Only my version of happy hour is much happier to your waistline because I use boneless skinless chicken breast then lightly coat it in flour and seasoning (this makes the sauce stick) before pan-“frying” it. Then, I mix a bit of light butter with plenty of hot sauce (using a natural one is preferred) and coat the chicken in that. I whip up a blue cheese dressing that is just as tasty, if not more, than any that you’d buy and voila!, you’ve saved 302 calories and 38 g of fat! Do you know how long that will keep you off a treadmill?
I make sweet Italian sausage and breakfast sausage from real pork—I just use the leanest cuts then season as they would season the traditional versions and add a bit of low-cal moisture to give it that wonderfully tender texture. I even make a burger in my book, “Fast Food Fix”, that after one bite, Star Jones (on “The View”) said, “it tastes better than McDonald’s!” (Don’t believe me? Go to my website and click the “press” tab and see for yourself–the clip is part of the 3 minute video that immediately pops up).
If you’re at all intrigued, I hope you’ll stay tuned. In the upcoming weeks, I’m going to be hanging out right here on DietsinReview.com sharing secrets, tricks of the trade (did I mention that I am a trained chef?) and even give you a chance to win some pretty cool stuff!
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Happy Cooking (& Eating!)
February 2nd, 2010