Scott Conant made a few small changes to his diet, and it paid off in a big way.
The Chopped judge tells PEOPLE that he’s lost 30 lbs. since cutting out wheat from his diet in September. “It’s ironic because I am a chef who is known for cooking pasta,” he says with a laugh. “But I stopped eating wheat on a daily basis. Now I just pretty much do it for work. And I stopped eating GMOs.”
The first half of his weight loss came off rather quickly. “As soon as I stopped eating wheat and GMOs, funny enough, I lost twelve pounds in ten days,” says Conant, 48, who recently partnered with Centrum after taking their vitamins for many years. Following the initial weight loss, it wasn’t until he started incorporating intermittent fasting and working out every day that he was able to drop the last 18 lbs.
Intermittent fasting is a dieting plan that involves a set time period in the day when you can eat, and a longer period of fasting. Conant has his meals only between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. Instead of breakfast, he opts for either black coffee or hot water with lemon.
“I have fallen off a couple times,” he admits. “I travel a lot. I always seem to be on the road all the time, so I think it is easy to fall back into old habits.”
Despite his mishaps, the chef always gets back on the horse. “I’m a big believer in moderation and not killing myself,” he says. “What’s the expression? ‘Everything in moderation, even moderation?’ So I feel like I do not overindulge. But I also do not beat myself up if I have a bowl of pasta. The next day is a new day.”
On good days, Conant sticks to a diet of chicken or salmon with salad for lunch, another protein with vegetables for dinner, and snacks like an apple or a handful of cashews. His one weakness is the Trader Joe’s Organic Corn Chip Dippers. “They’re like Fritos, but organic,” he says.
Conant may have just recently dropped a chunk of weight, but he’s been working on his health for the past few years. “About three years ago, I had gout, I had high blood pressure, I had high cholesterol. I was a mess,” he says. He was inspired to do something about his situation after losing his father, and he felt like he needed to ensure he’d be there for his own two young daughters.
“They are just so darn cute, it is hard to not want to live forever,” he says.
WATCH: How This Mom Lost 105 Lbs. with Intermittent Fasting
For him, the first step in taking back his heath was to quit drinking.
“It is not like I have an issue,” says Conant. “I just did not like the way I felt. I feel like one glass of wine would affect my sleep. And at a certain point — I am not as young as I used to be, obviously — but I feel like you wake up one day and say, ‘How I feel is probably more important than a glass of wine.'”
Now, if he’s out to a nice dinner and someone offers him a great wine, he’ll “taste it,” but it’s unlikely he’ll finish a whole glass.
And his efforts have clearly led to visible results. As he’s enjoyed slimming down, others around him have taken notice. “I was not expecting it. I feel like I am the same,” he says. “My clothes fit me a little better. But the reaction from some of my colleagues has been a little overwhelming.”