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I was destined to be chubby. My mom sent me to school with seven-course lunches -- sandwich, soup, apple, Fruit Roll-Ups, peanut butter–filled crackers, Doritos, Twinkies -- that were so hefty I carried them in a grocery bag instead of a small brown paper sack. Later, in culinary school, there was only one golden rule: Make it delicious. So I became an ace at creamy sauces and buttery cuisine without ever considering calories for a single second. I've spent the past 20 years working 12-hour shifts as a chef in some of New York City's best restaurants but lived off of hurried staff meals before the dinner rush and two heaping bowls of pasta -- made with butter, Parmesan, garlic, and chili flakes -- past midnight when I got home. Now as a judge on the Food Network's Chopped, I'm actually paid to eat! But lately I've been working on opening my own restaurant, and I've given myself until then to get my body in gear. That's where FITNESS came in.
My Moment of Success
It's amazing how I could stand for 10 to 12 hours cooking but couldn't hold a plank position for five seconds when I first hit the gym. Two and a half months later, by doing four workouts a week and finally putting the brakes on all that butter, I've dropped 11 pounds and seven inches. I'm also rethinking the menu of my new restaurant: More protein and veggies; hold the Hollandaise.
Read on for tips from Amanda and her team of experts to meet your own fitness goals.