"I've been a big man for a long time."
Ken Hess is no stranger to good food. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he now plies his trade as a reigning World Champion BBQ chef at Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur, AL. When he's not in the kitchen at work or traveling the country to compete in various BBQ competitions, he spends time in the kitchen at home with his wife Jessica, a fellow CIA graduate, and their children Ali (12), Maya (2 1/2), and Obi (sixteen months).
Ali and Ken keep bees as a hobby, tending five hives while Jess handles the packaging and selling of honey. As two professional chefs with hectic schedules, three young children, and thousands of bees, it's not hard to believe that Ken and Jess were struggling to find time to lose the weight that'd been slowly accumulating over the years. They wanted to do something about it, but being chefs the one thing they would not do was eat the conventionally perceived notions of diet food.
"We didn't want bland diet food," Ken said. "You'd just go off it in a month."
As chefs, theirs was a valid argument. It's in their job descriptions to make—and then eat—delicious food. So bland wasn't going to cut it. Luckily for them both, they discovered the Cooking Light Diet. And using it for a full year has taught them new ways to approach their passion for cooking.
"The hardest thing for us was just measuring everything. It's just not something we do," Ken said. "I never measured seasonings or anything before we started doing this. And now we're measuring how much oil, seasonings, things like that."
Another thing Ken and Jessica are measuring since joining the Cooking Light Diet is their incredible weight-loss success.
"January 1st last year when we started I was between 356-357 pounds," Ken said. "The lowest I've gotten [with the CLDiet] was 296, which was right before Thanksgiving. This morning I was 302.7. So I've lost between 50 and 55 pounds*, even more. And then Jess, she's lost 65 pounds*. I'm down two shirt sizes and two pant sizes, too, and she's down also."[Just to recap: Using the Cooking Light Diet, they lost a small human worth of weight. That's amazing!]
Perhaps the coolest part of Ken's success story, though, comes from last year's World Champion Barbecue Cooking Content in Memphis, TN. As you can imagine, the contest itself is a smorgasbord of meaty temptations. It'd be incredibly easy to go off the rails when traveling for an event like that, as Ken himself freely admits. But with the help of a incredibly-supportive Jess and the CLDiet, Ken was able to to navigate the pork storm.
"[Jess] made me a double recipe of rosemary chicken salad and sent the wraps with me," Ken said. "She sent a few dishes I could heat up in a pan on a hot plate, sent yogurt and oatmeal packets and some things that weren't even on the plan. And I actually lost a pound going to Memphis in May World Food Championships. And it's because she planned my meals for me. I would still try somebody's beef rib. I just wouldn't eat all of them. ...So I made healthier choices throughout the day, and it made it awesome for me."
But not nearly as awesome as you've made working on the Cooking Light Diet for us, Ken. Keep up the good work, and we'll be seeing you soon for some of that world-class barbecue!
*Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose more than half a pound per week.
More Cooking Light Diet Success Stories:
- Former Stay-At-Home Mom Balances Work and Empty Nest with the Cooking Light Diet
- The Cooking Light Diet: New Jersey Mom Proves There’s Strength in Numbers
- Following the Cooking Light Diet as a Vegetarian