The Incredible Shrinking Chef -- Weight Loss Tips from Chef Morimoto

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto tells Food Network Magazine how he dropped 40 pounds and gives us a low-cal recipe.
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Iron Chef America

Iron Chef America

Chef Masaharu Morimoto. On the set of 'Iron Chef America', a cooking game show based on a Japan's 'Iron Chef'. June 20, 2008

Photo by: Mark Peterson ©Mark Peterson 2008

Mark Peterson, Mark Peterson 2008

Get Morimoto's Low-Cal Mashed Tofu Salad

Before Masaharu Morimoto was an Iron Chef, he was a baseball player in Japan. But when an injury sidelined him at age 18, he turned to his other passion -- cooking -- and put his exercise routine on the back burner. The chef admits his eating habits were bad, loading up on carbs and skipping the gym. "It’s the most efficient way to gain weight," he jokes.

He made five changes recently and lost 40 pounds in just three months.

1. First things first: Cut calories. The chef slashed his calorie intake 35 percent by eating smaller meals and taste-testing less while cooking. He also added more fruits and vegetables to his diet.

2. Take a walk. Between filming Iron Chef America and running restaurants around the world, Morimoto doesn’t have a lot of free time. But now, he puts in about an hour on the treadmill every day and walks to work; it all adds up to three to five miles a day.

3. Sweat it out. The chef wears a long-sleeve shirt while exercising. "I try to do things that make me sweat," he says. Once, he wrapped his torso in plastic wrap to shed water weight. But he's careful to stay hydrated, of course.

 

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2006\02\14\7cz0fk3g.jpg

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 24: Food critic and editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine Ruth Reichl gets together with restaurateur Masaharu Morimoto at the magazine's 65th anniversary party at Morimoto restaurant on Tenth Ave. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Photo by: New York Daily News Archive ©2006/Daily News, L.P. (New York)

New York Daily News Archive, 2006/Daily News, L.P. (New York)

4. Skip the booze. Chefs are around alcohol all the time, so it was tough for Morimoto to give up drinking entirely. He still enjoys his favorites -- beer, vodka and shochu -- but in moderation.

5. Cook at home. Morimoto’s wife, Keiko, cooks healthful Japanese dishes for the chef most nights. High-protein tofu has become a staple in Morimoto’s new diet; his wife's mashed tofu salad, Shira-ae, is one of his favorites.

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