Utah 'Biggest Loser' chef: tips for getting healthy

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DRAPER — A chef at the ‘Biggest Loser' ranch in Ivins visited Draper this week to share tips and tricks for getting — and staying — in shape.

Cameron Payne, a chef at the Biggest Loser: Fitness Ridge ranch, said although guests at the ranch have their meals prepared for them, people cooking at home can see benefits if they are willing to make lifestyle changes instead of simply saying they are "going on a diet."

Payne said a challenge at the ranch that viewers of the "Biggest Loser" and visitors to Fitness Ridge can relate to is "making recipes taste good without all the calories."

"It's very doable, though," he said. "You get the same food as you would at a restaurant, but with healthier ingredients."

He said it's all about how things are cooked: baked or grilled is always better than crispy or fried foods.

"Stay away from those ingredients, and you are automatically making it a healthier meal," he said.

At Fitness Ridge, fruits are limited to two servings a day, and protein comes in elan forms: chicken, turkey or fish. Payne said the challenge is changing people's perceptions of how meals should be structured.

Most Americans eat their biggest meals at dinner, he said. But family members often lounge after dinner, giving themselves limited opportunities to work off the additional calories before bed. Instead, the biggest meal should be lunch — or even breakfast.

Chef Cam's top 5:
  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Eat mostly lean meats, whole grains and veggies.
  • Cut soda and junk food.
  • Eat small portion sizes.
  • Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water every day.

"Don't skip breakfast," Payne said. "You'll make worse choices at lunch because you'll be hungry, plus, breakfast starts your metabolism. Your body is like a car — it needs fuel. If you don't start the car, you won't burn calories, either."

Payne said three medium-sized meals with a couple small snacks throughout the day are the best options to keep yourself healthy and satisfied while keeping your metabolism running strong throughout the day.

Along with lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains are encouraged, according to Payne. He said whole grains keep you full for longer and are a natural energy source. Additionally, don't let yourself be surprised by foods like mayonnaise or cream spreads, who can add 100 calories or more to a sandwich.

Most importantly, think long term. Getting healthy isn't about dieting, Payne said. It's about a lifestyle change.

"If you're not going to change your lifestyle, nothing is going to work for you," he said.


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Stephanie Grimes


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