Fmr. Oprah chef drops pounds, shares secret

January 4, 2010 (CHICAGO) Smith not only met his goal to lose 50 pounds, he exceeded it.

He went from jolly chef to jock chef. There's a lot less of the loveable Art Smith to love these days -- 80 pounds less. He's dropped all that weight since August.

"As Oprah says, I hate doing it, but I love how it makes me feel," said Smith.

You probably remember the man who was Oprah's personal chef as always living large and topping the scale at 325 pounds.

Smith says his wake-up call came last summer when he was diagnosed with the early signs of diabetes.

"And I said to myself I don't go there, I have too many people that love me, I have too many things I want to do, I have way too much fried chicken to fry," said Smith.

With his 50th birthday approaching in March and a new cable TV show debuting soon, Smith hired a personal trainer and works out at the David Barton Gym every single day.

"He's an amazing man, he has a great spirit, he's always had that spirit, now he had the body to match that spirit," said Joey Thurman, Smith's personal trainer.

Table 52, Art Smith's very hot Chicago restaurant is internationally famous for its friend chicken and macaroni and cheese -- comfort foods rich with calories. So will the menu be changing now?

"OK, we're famous for that but you know what we're also famous for? We have some delicious wonderful fish, fresh vegetables and you can get a great salad. You can get healthy," said Smith.

Smith invited ABC7 into his own kitchen to show how he cooks for himself now. He's replaced his high-carb, high-fat diet with lean meats and lots of vegetables.

"I'll throw in some mushrooms. I'm going to have myself a little vegetable fest here," said Smith.

And most importantly, for the man who has taken care of some of the most powerful people in the world, Art Smith says he has finally learned to love himself first.

"I have to think about Art. I spent 20 years taking care of some of the most famous, most wealthiest, most glamorous people. Art Smith needs to be a little glamorous and feel good about himself and that's what I've done," said Smith.

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