Part II of the interview with Antoine Dove from the Biggest Loser. See how he lost over 150 lbs. and kept it off.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Last interview we talked about your success in losing a huge amount of weight and most importantly, keeping it off, for almost three years now. Tell us how you started your weight loss journey when you first arrived on the Biggest Loser Show.
Antoine Dove: When I arrived at the ranch, it was a complete 180 degrees from my old lifestyle. There were no cheeseburgers, no pizza, no soda. And no access to my old favorites. Instead, the registered dietitian that was assigned to my group stocked the house with food. Then we were responsible for cooking the meals. It was interesting, though, and I learned a lot. The other contestants and I worked together, read through lots of the Biggest Loser cookbooks and then found creative ways to satisfy our hunger with healthy foods and flavors.
Anita Jones-Mueller: So, how did it go? Did you instantly start losing weight? Did you want to give up?
Antoine Dove: It was really hard. But I knew it was for a good reason, and I knew I needed to change. But, I was surrounded by the support of the Biggest Loser dietitians and trainers, and I had the other contestants who were working so hard, too. So it was an unrealistic environment. It would have been more difficult if I were at home trying the same. Plus, one of the biggest motivators was that I had to do it because I had millions of people watching on TV and fans cheering for me all across the U.S.
Anita Jones-Mueller: What is one of the most important lessons you learned from being on the show?
Antoine Dove: I learned so much about nutrition, exercise and taking care of my body. I guess one thing that has really helped me was something that Cheryl Forsberg told us. Cheryl was one of the dietitians that worked with us. She is a professional chef and a dietitian and is so passionate about good nutrition and eating well. She told us to primarily shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where all the fruits and vegetables are. That’s where you find the lean protein and the low-fat dairy. She told us to avoid most of the internal aisles of the store because that’s where the processed and high fat, high calorie items are. I still think about that piece of advice almost every time I walk into a grocery store.
Anita Jones-Mueller: So what do you eat now? Let’s start with protein.
Antoine Dove: I really like salmon. I also eat fish like tilapia and halibut. We fix chicken breast a lot. Alexandra, my fiancé, and I like to be creative and find new and flavorful ways to prepare chicken. Alexandra is really into nutrition, and so she’s always researching foods and trying new healthy ingredients. So we add chicken to salads or stuff the breast with broccoli and low-fat cheese. We use citrus juices and fresh herbs a lot. I still like red meat, but Alexandra is trying to get me to emphasize more grains that are high in protein, like quinoa. I also eat a lot of egg whites. I take hard boiled eggs to work and eat them for a snack. Usually I’ll have one full egg and a few egg whites.
Anita Jones-Mueller: How about carbs? What’s that laugh for?
Antoine Dove: Well, I did love carbs. But now I limit them and stick to really healthy carbs. So in the morning I have steel cut oats or whole grains from cereals. Alexandra and I both have moved to eating mostly sprouted or Ezekiel bread, which we now like a lot. White carbs are completely out. That was one thing they emphasized on the Biggest Loser Show. But I always make sure to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. We eat a lot of salads, too.
Anita Jones-Mueller: How about sugar? Dessert?
Antoine Dove: I have pretty much given up sugar. And once I gave it up, I found I didn’t really have the cravings anymore. Eating sugar causes you to crave more. It turns you into a sugar-craving monster. Now when we have dessert, we have dark chocolate ,which really satisfies and has a lot of healthy antioxidant. Stoneyfields has a Greek frozen yogurt which is really good and only 100 calories per serving.
Anita Jones-Mueller: How about fat?
Antoine Dove: That is another thing I learned on the show. Healthy fats are really important. So now I add avocado to my meals. I also snack on nuts, almonds and walnuts or add nut butters to the sprouted bread. When we cook we use olive oil, but sparingly.
Anita Jones-Mueller: You said you eat a lot of salads. What type of dressing do you recommend?
Antoine Dove: We look for dressings that are low in fat and sodium, yet taste good. We try a lot of different types. I found a low-fat parmesan dressing that I like a lot. Sometimes we use fruit and add the fruit juices to our salads. And I like salsa for a dressing, too.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Do you count calories?
Antoine Dove: No, I don’t, but I am aware of calories and I always look at labels. We did count calories on the show. We had to log in everything we ate. That kept us honest and accountable. Alexandra still counts calories.
Anita Jones-Mueller: And now to eating out. That is how I met you. You reached out to me because you were using HealthyDiningFinder.com, right? Tell us how you found out about the site and how you use it.
Antoine Dove: Yes, everyone was telling us that we would have to give up eating out if we wanted to keep our weight down. But Alexandra and I really like to eat out and we didn’t believe that we would have to give that up. So, I googled ‘healthy restaurants’ and HealthyDiningFinder.com came up first. I thought it was really helpful. And it has grown a lot since I first started using it. HealthyDiningFinder makes dining out worry free in knowing that registered dietitians have already identified all the healthier options for me and provided me with the nutritional facts. That way I know what I am going to order before I get there and that makes dining out easy and guilt free.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Thanks, Antoine! You have provided such great advice for all of us. Not only for those who are looking to lose weight but for all who are looking to be at their best every day. Eating healthy gives us the energy, vitality, focus we need. So thanks so much for sharing your healthy eating success strategies with us. Next interview, we’ll talk about your exercise regime and advice. And some of the ways you are involved in contributing to a healthier America.