Catch up on clips from this season of Top Chef Masters
The 52-year-old culinary guru has been steadily losing weight for the past two years, but stripped of his chef whites, the difference was astonishing. He's dropped a startling 120 pounds thanks to portion control and rigorous workouts.
The same guy responsible for creating Lady Gaga's favorite fried chicken and waffles recipe, a signature of his Chicago eatery Fifty-Two, turned a corner in 2010 when he began training for two marathons. Like Deen, it took a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis to motivate the cook to drastically change his lifestyle.
Paula Deen's diabetes controversy
Two years later, filming season four of Masters, his cardio routine kept on ticking. "Filming in 110-degree heat, I never could've done it," Smith told People.com. "I'd run 16 miles [a day] in the desert in Las Vegas."
More recently he's been building muscle mass, weight lifting and boxing with personal trainer Joe Thurman. That may explain why he's proudly going where most American man dare not go: male bikini territory. He's earned it. Training from scratch as a runner two years ago wasn't easy. "I walked, I started jogging, I cried and said, 'I hate it!' Eventually the pain subsided and I started seeing a difference," Smith says in a June interview with Diabetes Forecast. After the first six months he shed 65 pounds from his 334 pound frame.
As for diet, Smith seems to have had a mental makeover to get to the place he is now. "You can change your life with a salad," Smith tells People. He admits to caving into a cookie now and then but he's adamant about portion control. Also, he never skips breakfast.
"For me, I do not skip meals," he says in his Forecast interview. "And I force myself to sleep, because if you don't sleep, you'll gain weight." He also wears running shoes and shorts under his pants so he can rip off his chef's gear at any time and take a quick jog.
At the start of this summer, Smith's health had so improved he went off Metformin, the drug prescribed to keep his Type 2 diabetes in check.
Next up, he plans to write a memoir on his struggle with his weight. Suggested cover photo? See above.
10 surprising signs of diabetes
How Paula Deen lost 30 pounds
Top 5 diabetes superfoods
Hollywood's not-so-hot beach bods