LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A photo of Paul Evans taken 14 months ago shows that he had accumulated some body fat -- about 20 percent of his total physique, to be exact.
To most, Evans just looked like a healthy American male in his 30s.
But to Evans, the photo was a reminder that he had poor eating habits, didn’t exercise enough and had not made a commitment to the health and shape of his 5-foot-5 body.
Those shortcomings, he decided, were inexcusable for a man who was executive chef at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club and who always wanted to change the image of chefs as overweight workaholics who die too young.
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“I wanted to show that a chef could make good choices, too, when it came to his body,” Evans said.
Through a 14-month food and fitness program, Evans not only lowered his body fat to 5 percent and changed his appearance from chunky to ripped, he gained a new vocation.
Evans has now added personal trainer to his resume and has started offering private training sessions in food consumption as well as physical workouts.
As part of his transformation, he has also become a professional body builder.
He already has a few clients and hopes to peak at five or six.
“My main focus is still being a chef,” Evans said. “But now I can go into a client’s home and teach them how to cook clean. I can also take them to the grocery store and teach them how to read labels.”
Evans’ utterance -- “cooking clean” -- seems to best describe how he went from 200 to 160 pounds in 14 months.
He cut out candy, soda and pastries and replaced his usual three meals a day with seven small meals anchored by chicken breasts, sweet potato, fresh vegetables and rice.
“It is extremely hard,” Evans said. “The temptation is there 24 hours a day, especially for a chef working in the kitchen. But you have to commit to it and know that your dropped weight takes pressure off your joints and lowers your cholesterol, and your workouts make you look and feel terrific.”
That Evans has become a dual threat to fat has impressed others.
“We are so proud to be able to offer such a unique amenity to our members,” said Lakewood Ranch Country Club general manager Wayne Piazza. “People can improve their health and cooking skills in one place with one person. It’s one-stop shopping.”
Evans describes it as “bridging the gap” between exercise and eating.
Asked how he has been able to resist the temptations in the kitchen, he says he brings a lot of his food with him and steps away from the stove when he is hungry.
“At home, I cook about a dozen sweet potatoes at a time and take them with me,” Evans said.
A typical breakfast he consumes consists of egg whites and cream of wheat cereal. Lunch could be a small steak and vegetable.
“The biggest thing is that I feel better about myself,” Evans said.
For a complimentary consulting session with Evans, call (941) 812-5173.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.