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December 3rd, 2013
09:19 PM ET

Rocco Dispirito and his healthy lifestyle transformation

A self-described former “chubby chef with a crooked spine and flat feet,” the fit, fantastic Rocco Dispirito joined Piers Morgan on Tuesday evening, sharing secrets from his Italian cookbook, and the journey that lead him there.

A world renowned chef, Dispirito has reshaped recipes to accommodate America’s dietary needs, a phenomenon which garnered the "Piers Morgan Live" hosts interest:

“How do you persuade America and Americans who, from my experience as a Brit coming here, eat gargantuan portions of everything” he asked.

To answer the question, Dispirito told his triumphant tale, one that began with a harrowing trip to the doctor:

“He said, ‘Rocco, if I do the numbers, you're in deep you-know-what,’" revealed the guest. "He's like, 'look it, you need this for your high blood pressure. You need this for your cholesterol. You need this other one for your high blood pressure.' And, he starts talking about side effects. It shocked the hell out of me."

Frantically, Dispirito sought guidance from the medical professional:

"Out of desperation, I was like, 'what else can I do?' And he said, ‘Well, you can try diet or exercise, but here you go, no one ever does that.’”

At that point, Dispirito was 35 years old, 40 pounds overweight, and in serious danger of heart disease. With a family history tipping things further against him, he knew he had to seriously rethink his lifestyle.

A year later, he successfully completed a 70.3 mile Ironman race, a feat nearly as impressive as his physical transformation. Thanks to the aforementioned diet and exercise, the kitchen guru dropped 40 pounds, and turned his health around, in the process shocking and thrilling his doctor.

Achieving such a 180 is anything but easy, but Dispirito's example is one that can give everyone hope:

“I am surrounded by the most delicious food available on the planet every day of my life. And if I can do it, anyone can do it.”

Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Rocco Dispirito, and for full edition of a "Piers Morgan Live" episode entitled “Losing It: America’s Fat Obsession,” watch CNN.
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    There is some very interesting research covered by BBC Horizon's 2012 episode "The Truth About Fat" (particularly the bit about the hormones that influence behaviour i) hunger and ii) stopping eating, and how gastric bypass surgery alters those hormones and thus behaviour. Like the surgeon who presents it, I previously always thought that this kind of treatment was only for weak-willed people who allow themselves to get this fat).

    "The Truth About Exercise" and
    "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" Horizon episodes are also very eye-opening, research/science based, and relevant to this discussion.

    Wolf Blitzer gets my juices going in the gym too – HA!


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