Ken and Jessica Hess are professional chefs. They both graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and Ken has gone on to win worldwide accolades via Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur, AL. When they're not cooking for a living, they're living to cook at home with their kids—Ali (12), Maya (2 ½), and Obi (16 months). And it's their lives that, in part, convinced Ken and Jess to join the Cooking Light Diet.

"We needed to change how we eat," Ken said. "Plus, with Ali getting older she's going to want to watch what she eats, and we need to set a good example for her. And also the little ones as they get older."

Their previous experience with Cooking Light convinced both Ken and Jess that the CLDiet would be one they could make work.

"Anything you're craving, you can find in Cooking Light," Ken said. "You can go to MyRecipes, type it in, and you're going to find the Cooking Light version of it. That's one of the really cool things for the family—'well, I want lasagna' or 'well, I really want tacos.' Whatever it's going to be, you guys have done it. Whether it's banana bread, or cookies if the kids that might want cookies...they don't know that we're doing a diet plan. They just know this is what dinner is tonight. And that's something we love about it."

Ken said that the flavor in the recipes doesn't hurt, either, nor does the weight-loss success he and Jess have had. Combined, they've lost 115 pounds* using the Cooking Light Diet. And Ken will be the first to tell you he doesn't think that name accurately conveys exactly what the CLDiet is.

"I think it's not a diet. It's changing how you eat," Ken said. "Whenever I hear, 'Oh, well you're on a diet,'... You know, I've never been on a diet where I can eat ice cream, eat bacon, eat bread, eat potatoes, eat sauces. But I've changed—our family has changed—how we eat. I used to grill four one-pound ribeye steaks for, at the time, a 10 year old, a 14 month old just starting to eat solid food, a baby, and the two of us. And four one-pound steaks would be gone by the end of the night. Now? We cook 1 one-pound steak for five of us. It's a huge difference of how we look at what we're cooking. Instead of pulling four steaks out of the freezer, we pull one out. And it's just a different way of looking at how much food we were eating. Now I wouldn't even think about pulling four steaks out of the freezer for the five of us."

This different way of cooking via the Cooking Light Diet is one that Ken and Jess are prepared to continue for the long run, if Ken has anything to say about it. He knows teaching the kids about portion control and eating healthy now will pay off in the future.

"The way we're eating now is more how we want to stay eating as a family," Ken said. "Not just for our own personal health, but also so we raise three children that know how to eat properly. I think that's something—not just as well as my physical health—but I want to be there for my grandchildren. And I also don't want to see my children struggle with weight like I did. It's more of wanting to raise our family and be healthy for all of us."

Glad we could help, Ken. Keep up the great work!


If you’d like to know more about the Cooking Light Diet, visit, or email us at We’d love to hear from you!

*Members following the Cooking Light Dieton average, lose more than half a pound per week.

More from the Cooking Light Diet: