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Rocco DiSpirito sheds 50 pounds with 'Pound a Day' low-carb Mediterranean diet

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Although he was always a magician in the kitchen, for years celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito was a self-proclaimed "fat guy" when it came to his health and appearance. In an interview with the Rockford Register Star on Jan. 12, Rocco revealed how he lost more than 50 pounds by coming up with his own diet plan and low carb diet recipes to maintain the magic of good food.

Rocco says that his "aha" moment came when he weighed almost 230 pounds. He focused on a healthy lifestyle that included his new fondness for a wholesome Mediterranean-style diet combined with exercise. The result: Recipes that reduce carbs and calories plus enough knowledge about dieting that he's created his own weight loss book: "The Pound a Day Diet: Lose Up to 5 Pounds in 5 Days by Eating the Foods You Love."

Asked for his favorite go-to meal, Rocco names a healthy version of a smoothie.

“With a good blender, protein powder, coconut water, fat-free yogurt, a little monk fruit extract, and a lot of ice you can literally create dozens of delicious smoothies that are extremely low calorie and very filling in less than five minutes," he says. (You can sample one of his recipes below.)

His diet book incorporates smoothies into the weight loss plan, along with its own version of a Mediterranean diet that is calculated to lower both carbohydrates and calories. It also features recipes that Rocco created based on what he terms his "favorite motivational saying: 'Healthy and delicious are no longer mutually exclusive.'"

Rocco says that he designed his "Pound a Day" diet in phases to allow dieters to enjoy more food on weekends while still losing weight.

You begin with a five-day plan, shift to the weekend plan, then return to the five-day plan and keep switching until you've reached goal.

As for keeping off the weight? Rocco has discovered a love for cycling.

"I feel like I was born to ride a bike,” he jokes. “My favorite exercise is cycling and, in the winter, spinning.”

Although the five-day part of the day is extremely low in calories, Rocco told ABC News in a separate interview that he worked closely with a physician to ensure its nutritional merit.

High-Protein Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie from "The Pound a Day Diet: Lose Up to 5 Pounds in 5 Days by Eating the Foods You Love"

Yield: Four 16-ounce servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
  • 2 scoops fiber powder (such as ReNew Life Triple Fiber)
  • 2 scoops protein powder (such as Daily Benefit)
  • 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s
  • Special Dark)
  • 24 packets monk fruit extract (such as Monk Fruit In the Raw; optional)
  • 4 scoops unflavored egg-white powder (such as Jay Robb)
  • 2 cups crushed ice or small ice cubes

Method:
1. Put the water, psyllium husk powder, and fiber powder in a blender and blend on high until smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 1⁄2 minutes.
2. Turn the blender off and add the protein powder, cocoa, and monk fruit powder, if using; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds, and turn off the blender.
3. Add the egg-white powder and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds, then add the ice and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
4. Pour the smoothie into 4 pint-sized glasses.

Tip: Add a pinch of salt if your diet can afford the sodium—it will really draw out the full flavor of the cocoa.
Per serving: 198 calories, 2g fat (.25g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 488mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 30.75g protein

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