Daphne Oz wants women to stop beating themselves up about losing the baby weight. “There’s a big gap between what people hear and how it actually is,” says Daphne, cohost of The Chew and author of Relish, who gave birth to her first child, Philomena, in February. “Everyone needs to choose what works for them, and it’s not fair to you to compare your progress to others’. We have to reinforce that shedding pounds is a long, hard process.”
Daphne, 28, is losing the weight her way, thank you very much—no deprivation diets or four-hour workouts. Two months after giving birth, she went on The Chew rocking a purple floral “I’m not back to a size 6 yet, and I’m cool with that” shape-skimming dress. She looked luminous and confident, just as she did at the FITNESS photo shoot. Here, Daphne shares her secrets for taking off the pounds in a healthy way, her recipes and eating tips for busy women, and her workout for instant energy.
What surprised you the most after having your baby?
That you still look six months pregnant once you’re home from the hospital. Your body does not instantly bounce back. I don’t own a scale, because it would make me neurotic, but I thought I knew where I’d be when I went for my first doctor appointment a few weeks after giving birth. I’d lost only 10 pounds!
You’ve said you’re not in a rush to lose the weight. But do you ever wish you could speed it up a little?
It’s a priority, but it’s one of many. I’m breastfeeding, so my priorities include eating to nourish my baby, gaining muscle tone, and feeling good. It’s about being back in charge of my body. The weight isn’t pouring off, but I figure that it takes nine months to have a baby and it’ll take at least that long for it to come off. I feel a lot more energetic and in better shape now than I did when I first started exercising again.
You have a very healthy attitude about your body. What’s your secret?
Focus on the things that you love about your body. Feel good about them and you’ll project confidence.
In your first book, The Dorm Room Diet, you talked about being 35 pounds overweight in high school and losing the weight in college. How is shedding pounds now different?
Back then, I tried all the diets, but I came to realize that approach didn’t work for me. I love food and I love to cook, and I’m not willing to give that up. When I embraced that and focused on making smart choices and indulging in moderation, I eventually lost the weight, and that’s what I’m doing now.
What’s your workout routine like as a new mom?
I figure out how much time I have and adjust my routine to fit. Philomena loves being in the stroller or carrier, so that’s how I’ll get a walk in. I run about four miles three to four times a week, and I intersperse that with half-hour online workouts. I love the Ballet Beautiful videos—they’re intense and strenuous but not hard on your joints. I also love Inhale Yoga with Steve Ross. And the Physique 57 DVDs, too. They’re great because I can work out while my daughter is in her bouncy seat.
How do you motivate yourself to exercise when you’re tired?
I put on my workout clothes, and I don’t let myself think about it. Once I’m out for a run or doing a video, I’m on my way to finishing it. The 10 minutes between waking up and showing up are the most dangerous.
It’s tempting to eat badly when you’re sleep-deprived and busy. How do you keep it healthy?
My plate is about protein and vegetables. I focus on lean proteins, like chicken, and lots of fish, like salmon, cod, branzini. I love yogurt for the calcium and protein. I’m going easier on sugar and processed carbs.
Isn’t it tough to be so good?
If I see a beautiful loaf of homemade bread, I’ll have a piece. Then I’ll make healthy choices during the rest of the meal. It also helps to remember what feels best. The more wheat and sugar I eat, the foggier I am and the less energy I have. I look at my diet across an entire week. If I’ve been eating healthy, then I’ll treat myself on the weekend. But I’m flexible. If my husband and I manage to get out for dinner on a weeknight, I enjoy it and then eat healthy after that.
Your food philosophy is “Eat happy.” What does that mean, exactly?
It’s about indulging for a good reason—a gorgeous homemade meal or an amazing dinner out. So you wait to eat the things that you really enjoy, not stale rolls that happen to be sitting in front of you.
How do you avoid overeating on the show?
I have a two-bite rule. I take the first bite to see what’s going on, and then I take a second bite to indulge. If I ate more than that, they would have to roll me out! Not everyone has Carla Hall’s metabolism.
You believe that what a person has in her kitchen says a lot about her. What’s in your kitchen?
In my pantry, there’s rice, beans, sardines, olives, capers, barbecue sauce and hot sauce. I also have dark chocolate chips and raw nuts. In the fridge, I’ve got yogurt, cheese, hummus, salsa, eggs, milk, mixed greens, carrots, zucchini, and cottage cheese. There are always avocados on hand, and I stick to high-fiber fruits like apples, oranges, and berries. I keep my baking ingredients on the highest shelf in my kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind … I wish!
Daphne’s Healthy-Eating Hacks
Cook once, eat three times: Prep meals for the week. Daphne cooks brown rice to use in stir-fries and grain salads and even to make “oatmeal” (heat rice with almond or coconut milk and honey, add bananas and almond butter; top with walnuts).
Bring your lunch: To keep salad from getting soggy, try Daphne’s trick: Place dressing on the bottom of a container. Next, add a layer of garbanzo beans. Fill the rest of the container with mixed greens and veggies. Before eating, shake the container to disperse the dressing. Pack protein such as chicken separately.
Chili out: To get dinner on the table in less than an hour, “make chili,” Daphne says. In a large heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 large yellow onion, chopped, and 4 garlic cloves, smashed, and sauté until translucent. If desired, add 1 pound meat, such as ground turkey, and sauté until cooked through. Add 2 medium zucchini, diced, and 1 bag frozen corn, and sauté, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, one 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes plus the juice, 2 to 3 tablespoons cumin, 2 to 3 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix. Add 1 to 2 chipotle peppers, chopped; 2 cans kidney beans and 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed. Stir. Pour in 1 bottle beer and vegetable stock to cover (about 1 cup). Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for a half hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with shredded cheddar, chopped avocado, lime juice and sour cream.
Chew on This
When you’re on a show with four major foodies, you learn a thing or 12. Daphne dishes about the tips she has gleaned from her cohosts.
Mario Batali: “He cooks for his kids every night. I love talking to him about family meals because here’s this wildly accomplished chef who recognizes that at the end of the day, it’s about sharing the love and fun.”
Carla Hall: “She adds hits of flavor that change a meal, like vanilla-bean salt, which is great on savory dishes like roast pork or on caramel or chocolate desserts.” (To do: Break a vanilla bean in two. Process 1 piece with 2 tablespoons salt in a grinder until very fine. Repeat.)
Clinton Kelly: “He makes pesto with basil from his garden and freezes it in ice-cube trays. Year-round, he’ll throw a cube into soups and sauces for flavor.”