Husband and wife, celebrity chef duo and restaurant owners, Patrick (Pat) and Gina Neely, took the world by storm in 2008 with the debut of the Food Network hit, Down Home with The Neelys. They are also New York Times best-selling cookbook authors.
In this interview, Gina Neely reveals her unique weight loss formula, favorite healthy BBQ recipes and top tips for healthier cooking, eating and motivation for staying on track.
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Q: As a BBQ expert and with summertime in full swing, what is one of your favorite BBQ dishes that doesn’t hold back on the flavor but keeps our health in mind?
GN: I would have to recommend the grilled salmon with peach relish. I love the fact that you get the smoky flavor and grill marks, which lends to the BBQ effect, but then you add on the unexpected peach relish. It’s light in calories without sacrificing the flavor. So, in essence, you are “shocking the palate” as well as providing great flavor.
Q: Your weight loss success has been an inspiration to millions, what are some little things we can adjust about how we cook and eat, for big results overtime?
GN: Thank you for the compliment and let me say I’m asked this question all the time everywhere I go! I always explain my formula this way: 80% was a result of what I put into my body and 20% was exercise. It really comes down to making a commitment to a lifestyle change. You have to have the discipline to want it. The experience was so eye-opening to me – not only from a physical aspect, but also from a spiritual one and me wanting to be one with my body. I had to find my rhythm and become “in sync” with it. I first started with cleaning out the things that I knew weren’t good for my body. Then I made little changes like eating on a salad plate as opposed to a bigger plate. When I felt full I stopped. I choose to limit breads and sugar…..even my beloved pasta. It’s all about moderation!!!
Beyond that, I got moving. I started taking the stairs when I could, parking farther and walking more, doing lunges as I walked through the house doing laundry. I did sit-ups while watching my favorite show. These are some of the “small” things that made a huge difference.
Q: When changing eating/cooking habits sometimes motivation can be a challenge, what are some great ways to add variety while maintaining a healthier diet?