It has been more than four years since Cuisine Noir first spoke both Pat and Gina Neely, hosts of the Food Network's “Down Home with the Neelys” which features the loving husband and wife duo and their recipes inspired by family, friends and life. With the success of the show, they have gone on to author two cookbooks with a third on the way, open additional restaurants and appear yearly at the highly anticipated foodie events, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival. With millions of fans now knowing their names, Gina is stepping into the spotlight for another reason; to help others lose weight as the first spokesperson for the George Foreman ® Grills Weight Loss Challenge.
Making Healthy Living Personal
Losing 20 pounds in 12 weeks, Neely has now embraced a lifestyle that is about feeling great from the inside out. Before being approached with the opportunity to work with Foreman and his amazing grills, she was already looking to make some changes. “I really wanted to be healthy inside. I wasn't really looking at it for a vanity perspective but more of healthy lifestyle living. It was just funny that when the opportunity came, I was like look at God, look at how this all worked out. They want me to do this and I was already on that path so that just further encouraged me that this is for me,” says Neely.
Since first being introduced in 1994, millions have purchased and used an indoor/outdoor George Foreman ® Grill to create meals that are delicious and healthy too. As the spokesperson, Neely will develop and showcase great recipes that participants will enjoy during each of the 12-week Challenge time periods. A Black-eyed pea hummus, mango peach chicken lettuce wraps, garden fresh grilled panini and spicy grilled shrimp and grilled asparagus are just a few of the creations participants will enjoy creating on their grills.
Cuisine Noir readers are in luck as the next 12-week Weight Loss Challenge begins on Monday, March 4 and will end on Monday, May 27. From there, you'll receive a weight loss kit and access to recipes, resources and more. For the chance to win $2500 cash and $500 in product, participants are encouraged to submit a before and after weight loss photo as well as track their progress that can be shared through a short essay. See more of the Challenge details below.
“It is really a lifestyle change and you have to be willing to commit yourself and be disciplined enough to get it done, “says Neely who is already preparing for her 50th birthday in a couple of years. “I was really proud that I was able to step up, make the goal and still keep moving on into it. I still do the same things but like I said it has become a lifestyle.”
After taking the Challenge herself and now with the pounds off, Neely is using this opportunity to “try to be an inspiration to those who try to take the journey but they start and they stop.” She shares, “I wanted to think of what I could do to encourage women or men for that matter.”
All About Timing
Her weight loss maintenance plan now is about consciously thinking about what she eats and how much of it. Moderation being the key. As a busy wife, mother and entrepreneur on the go, she carries healthy snacks with her as well as makes little changes such as removing the top bun of a turkey burger vs. one made with beef. She has also curved her taste for chocolate noting one little Hersey Kiss is now usually enough. “I lost the 20 pounds and 12 inches so now I am getting more into toning and strengthening.”
Neely is truly motivated to keep moving forward and has also tagged husband Pat to come along for the journey. She says although he is on board, he still likes to enjoy some of his favorite foods such as fried chicken wings that may not be recommended for the Challenge.
She wraps up our interview saying that it is important that participants encourage themselves through the Challenge and know that the weight took weeks to put on and therefore will take weeks to come off. In the meantime, she continues to do the same while being the support team for others through her blog and on Twitter.
The Challenge couldn't have come at a more perfect time in her life. She sees this opportunity as more than just a 12-week period but instead as a lifestyle and there is no doubt that she is prepared both mentally and physically. “I'll be 50 pretty soon and look, I am already ahead of the game. I am going to make 50 sexy and bring it back.”