Chef Jamie West is available as a personal chef, for catering and for consulting. Learn more at www.chefjamiewest.com.
Believes in Great Food…and lost 90 pounds on the Doctors' Weight Management Program
For a renowned chef whose website states "Great food is the key ingredient in creating a memorable event," Chef Jamie West made a bold decision that may seem on the surface to be at odds with his skills and passion for creating sumptuous meals.
Award-winning Chef Jamie West has over 30 years of experience in four and five diamond resorts and restaurants and was formerly Executive Chef at the San Ysidro Ranch. His focus is on the use of quality, seasonal local ingredients and creative presentation to utilize the local bounty from our distinctive region of Santa Barbara with influences from around the globe.
Last summer, West came to Sansum Clinic for his annual physical and was surprised to find that his weight was as high as it was. For a chef who is trained to always "taste your food" he knew that tasting every dish and just being in the presence of so much culinary temptation had made it difficult to maintain his weight. He had been steadily gaining 5 or 10 pounds every year. Finally, when he turned 50, he thought, "Ok, I am 50, I want to lose 50 pounds." His primary care physician, Dr. Richard Ponce, recommended the Doctors' Weight Management Program as a medicallysupervised, safe way to lose weight successfully. West knew he needed a good start and a way to keep motivated so he attended one the program's free orientation classes.
West chose the Decision Free Program because he wanted to lose weight as fast and as safely possible. The program includes Health Management Resources (HMR) meal replacements and entrees. HMR is the leading provider of medically-based weight management programs in clinics, hospitals and major medical centers throughout the country.
The long-term success of the program relies on the education and support participants receive as they learn how to make healthier choices about food. West explains, "The only decision you have to make is to choose to stay on the diet. With the results, support and educational process, it has been easier than I anticipated. I am not saying it is easy, but it is a choice, and once you make the choice to go on the program then it is just the decision to stick to the program and see how well it works."
Today, West has surpassed his initial goal and has lost more than 90 pounds. He is now in Phase II of the program where he combines fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains with the HMR meal replacements and entrees. He attends weekly meetings for support while learning additional simple strategies for successful long-term weight management.
As a personal chef, private caterer and consultant, West is still in the kitchen creating, and tasting, delicious dishes, but freely admits that he approaches food differently these days. "The biggest change I have noticed is that I consider the vegetable to be the primary part of many meals. I often find myself looking for the right protein to compliment my vegetable rather than the other way around."
After speaking with him we were inspired to try a new take on the phrase on his website, "Good health is a key ingredient for creating great food."
Chef Jamie West Offers 5 Tips for Eating Healthier
Have a plan and incorporate more vegetables and fruit into your meals.
Focus first on vegetables, then fruit, then protein and grain.
"You eat with your eyes first." If you put a little extra effort into making your food and your plate more presentable, you will feel more satisfied and like you are not depriving or limiting yourself.
Use a variety of vegetables and fruits in your cooking. This helps to keep things interesting, plus you get all of the health benefits and nutrients from the different vegetables and fruits.
Keep it simple! Don't make your meal too complicated. Keep it easy for the prep, cooking and cleanup, and have fun with your food.