Katie Lee: ‘If you’re not eating carbs, all you do it think about them’

Katie Lee, 37, was married to Billy Joel for a beat in 2004, when she was 23 and he was 54(!). They divorced in 2009 and she went on to date a couple of other high profile guys, including Russell Crowe and Will Arnett. She since remarried, to a television producer named Ryan Biegel, just last month. She’s gone on to have a successful career as a cookbook author and TV chef on the Food Network and Cooking Channel. So a lot of people wonder how she stays so fit being around food all day. Katie, who covers Health Magazine this month, says that she eats everything in moderation basically, which is good advice.

You literally eat for a living, yet are so fit. What’s your secret?
It’s really hard! And there’s no candy-coating it. There’s food everywhere, and even off camera, there’s craft services, where you can just walk by and grab a handful of chips. When I’m filming, I make sure to get up in the morning and exercise, so at least I’m starting my day off right. I learned quickly that if you eat everything [on set], you will feel terrible at the end of the day. So I’ll take a couple of bites, and then I walk away.

In general, what is your top healthy-eating tip?
Lots of vegetables. Nobody ever got fat eating vegetables. If I had to describe my diet in one word, it would be colorful. I always think about adding color to the plate.

What’s your biggest indulgence when it comes to eating?
I’m crazy about pizza—thin crust! I don’t subscribe to that no-carb thing. I’m so sick of the Atkins diet and all that. First of all, if you’re not eating carbs, all you do is think about them. It’s one of those things that you take out and, initially, you lose weight, but you are miserable. So pizza and also french fries—with an absurd amount of ketchup. It’s got to be regular Heinz!

She prefers working out at home
When I work out at home, I don’t have mirrors, and I really like it. When I’m not working out in front of a mirror, I don’t have those conversations with myself that I have in the gym, when my head starts drifting in all those dark spots…

[From Health.com via People]

I’m lucky to work from home because I can get more done around the house and take naps but also because I don’t have to worry about being around food all day. My friends who work in offices say there’s constant temptation with cakes, cookies, candy and fully catered lunches. It must be hard to keep yourself from binging on sweets, especially when you’re stuck in one place around people who annoy you. As for the carb issue, I learned in the last story I covered on this, on Savannah Guthrie following a keto diet, that people who do those type of diets have strong feelings about them. I’m like Katie (and that’s my name too) I couldn’t NOT eat carbs. I love carbs and sugar, I just track my calories. Some people swear they feel better doing low carb though. One of my friends just lost 40 pounds on a low carb diet and she looks great. Maybe once you do it for a few weeks it becomes second nature and you don’t focus on what you’re missing.




Photos credit: WENN, Health Magazine and via Instagram

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43 Responses to “Katie Lee: ‘If you’re not eating carbs, all you do it think about them’”

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  1. Esmom says:

    I am a carb fanatic, in fact I just made a little pizza for breakfast, lol. I know everyone’s different but I haven’t ever been overweight and carbs are a huge part of my diet, always have been. I also have always been an athlete.

    In any case, Jon Lovett recently ranted in his show about giving up carbs to lose some weight before their HBO special and the crabbiness he described was very relatable! Everything in moderation seems like the easiest, best way to go. For me, anyway.

    • Snowslow says:

      I am mostly on a vegan diet (environment oriented and also because it makes me feel good) but I could not let go of carbs. I also work out and play tennis which probably has a lot to do with that. If you are spending that energy exercising, I don’t believe you can do without. However I am careful and try to not eat too much.

      Anyhoo there are carbs everywhere so I am not sure people who think they are foregoing carbs really are doing it… It’s more about those comforting carbs such as bread and potatoes. And fries with Ketchup or mayo+Schiracha which I have every Friday night with a good film…

    • Indiana Joanna says:

      I blow up/gain tons of weight eating the smallest amount if carbs. But I crave them so here I am about 20 pounds too much. Also exercise makes no dent. I walk at least 60 minutes a day and run about 3 times a week. I know that if I ever want to lose weight I will have to feel hungry all the time because as a kid I was very slim, but I remember feeling hungry all the time.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes, as I’ve gotten older I realize I need to eat less to maintain my weight. My appetite isn’t as big as it used to be, so it works out ok, but it does make for weird eating habits. I tend not to eat dinner many nights as I’m generally not hungry in the evening. Working out unfortunately won’t result in weight loss unless you cut calories, too. I found that out a long time ago.

      • Snowslow says:

        Agree. It may not be the ditching carbs altogether but the amount you eat. I did not say that I have to be very careful with the quantity of carbs I eat too. Actually, the amount of everything… But I also have been loosing appetite with age (I am 42) and can longer eat how I used to.

      • Indiana Joanna says:

        Thanks, Esmom and Snowslow. Yes, I am guilty of eating large portions of carbs like bread, pasta and sweets. And I feel awful afterwards. Will focus on cutting portions.

      • Agenbiter says:

        Interesting that you say you ’remember feeling hungry all the time’ when you were young and slim. I think *dieting* leads to an inability to tolerate hunger because we learn to fear that we won’t be able to eat to satisfaction.

        Our natural state is alternating hunger and satiety. If you can manage it with your schedule/family, try no food for 16-18 hours, and eating whatever you want the rest of the time. Feeling hungry isn’t bad if you know you will soon be satisfied.

      • Name begins with K says:

        I know what you mean! But if you substitute fat (good fats, avocado, olive oil) you don’t miss carbs as much. I’m now doing the 16:8 fast and it has CHANGED my life. Seriously. Dark circles under my eyes gone in a week! I bought this book “Why eatig less and exercising more makes you fat” and the weight is dripping off me. Love it!

  2. INeedANap says:

    Has anyone tried any of her recipes? Are they any good?

    • Nancy says:

      She is on a show called The Kitchen on the Food Network. There are four of them generally doing a theme show. Her recipes are always my least favorite. Very basic and IMO not too appetizing. She appears to be a rather privileged woman who caught her break early marrying Billy Joel. Laugh if will, but the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro is great. He makes what appears to be delicious dishes (that aren’t all sandwiches!!) I think the show is on Mondays at noon. If you like simple, healthy dishes, I guess you would like her food. *If you know the Iron Chefs, Geoffrey Z. is also on the show. His food not only makes you want to jump in your television and grab it, they are aesthetically appealing. He is a master and I love him*

      • meh says:

        Sunny makes the show for me. LOVE her energy.

      • MissKittles says:

        She’s admitted she’s had many doors opened for her bc of her marriage to Billy Joel. But I think she’s made a name for herself.
        Her recipes seem to fit her demographic. Quick, simple meals for the working, busy person in their 30’s. Not someone who is retired with time on their side.

      • Tiffany says:

        Love me some Jeff. I really miss his sandwich show. His son was all kinds of adorable when he was on.

        Next is Sunny and then Geoffrey.

        Katie I can take or leave.

      • Nancy says:

        @MissKittles: I actually watched the show today as I was whipping some food of my own! Like usual, Katie made a pizza, with mozz and basil. Good enough, but even the most basic cook could master this! Maybe, that’s her appeal, a more chic Rachel Ray. @Tiffany, I love Jeff. He cooks with a flair and personality. You can tell he loves what he does and his son Enzo ❤. Sunny is okay. I liked her food better when she had her own show. Geoff is a bit smug like Katie, but the man’s food is clean and I’ve learned from him. I’m a foodie and watch these shows when I can. Worst: Pioneer Women (stop smirking) Giada (put some clothes on); Best: I could name several, but it’s got to be Ina Garten. Her lemon engagement chicken truly is a masterpiece! Everybody’s favorite nana! I remember when Jennifer Garner was on her show…..she loves her too.

    • msmlnp says:

      Her recipes are FANTASTIC!

      I am an experienced home cook who is the go-to for thanksgiving dinners, i host large parties , etc. Her recipes are solid and don’t require obscure ingredients. I have 3 of her cookbooks, I love them all. I use them much more than my Barefoot COntessa ones.

      • Nancy says:

        We all have our favorites. She’s too blah for me. My sisters and I can do Thanksgiving in our sleep! Ina does use a lot of liqueurs and spices most people don’t have, but I have a kitchen and pantry she would be proud of. She’s my go to, along with my mom who taught us all.🥖🍗🥩🍠🥑

  3. Nikki says:

    I gave up carbs for 3 months on the Whole Life Challenge, and I honestly think it gave me an eating disorder for a while. I missed carbs so much, I gained 10 pounds OVER my starting weight when I got off it. Now I’m eating a healthy diet, and I allow myself a limited amount of carbs every day.

    • Snowslow says:

      That’s THE ting: everyone around me who has stopped eating carbs gained a bunch of weight after the diet and became quite weird: one of the symptoms: talking about food all the time.

      • Nikki says:

        That was me: I became obsessed missing them!! And my weight had been stable for decades, and I lost 10 pounds but put on 20 after going off it! So I’m not a fan!

      • Alyssa Calloway says:

        Yes! That’s the thing about any temporary “diet.” They don’t work longterm unless you make a complete lifestyle change. A lot of diets can trigger disordered eating.

        I’ve always been told that weight loss and maintenance is 80% diet and 20% workout. So, when I see someone say that they get and keep weight off by working out (not that Katie said this), I’m suspicious. Either they are blessed with a good metabolism, or they are working out a tremendous amount. And calories in/calories out isn’t really the simple equation that a lot of people think.

        And I understand why celebrities talk about exercise and diet, because it’s their job to look good and they get asked. But in my personal life, I find myself immediately turned off when people start talking about what they eat. I’ve considered getting off of Instagram bc I’m tired of my “friends” (mostly acquaintances) posting food stuff with all their wheat/dairy/meat substitutes and trying to recruit people for whatever workout they’re doing. And like 60% of social media is fitness and food.

        One of the hosts of my fave podcast started the keto diet and she was talking about it and her co-host said (not unkindly) that there is nothing more boring than talking about what people eat or their workout routine. But it takes over a lot of people’s life, thus all the jokes about vegans and people who do crossfit: because it’s one of the first things they tell you.

  4. TheHufflepuffLizLemon says:

    I’ve recently lost 23 lbs (still some more to go) by adjusting when I’m eating-I tend to have smaller snacks or protein supplements during the day and eat my main meal with my family. Food is very social for me, so it’s important to be able to flex and have that time to enjoy my dinner without obsessing over calories. During the day, I can be so distracted with work that I don’t think about food, so a bit of breakfast and a few snacks keep me going without the starvation feel or giving up carbs. I would cut someone.

    I also drink now 120+ oz of plain water a day and that’s made a difference too, I think. It’s become a solid habit-I don’t think I realized that I was dehydrating myself even though I thought I was fine. 🙄 No sodas, rarely a sparkling water. Still plenty of wine and tequila on occasion 😂

    Diets rarely work-long term success is about making your life include exercise and balanced eating, according to my trainer. What works for some (Keto, etc) would make others miserable. I’m with Katie on this one!

    • Nancy says:

      I think the water is the reason for your weight loss (btw good for you!) and probably a healthier you. I think we tend to dismiss the importance of water. It flushes our systems and keeps us hydrated. I can’t drink plain water, I add a little lemon to it. Twenty three pounds is no joke, that’s hard work. Keep drinking that H20……………..and a little tekillya occasionally…lol! *I’m tallish and skinny (when not pregnant) In law school, one weekend we had a tequila shot game going on. I had to show all the boys who the baddest bitch was, and I drank 7 shots of El Toro. Needless to say, haven’t touched it since! But I won!!!*

  5. nicole says:

    I’ve been keto since last December and I don’t think about carbs or the food that I’m not eating. I have a healthy relationship with food and my life does not revolve around it.

  6. KidV says:

    I don’t think about carbs at all. Bread smells like stinky feet to me. My husband eats bread and junk food, doesn’t bother me at all. I know I’ll feel like crap if I eat any of it and I have no interest.

    • meh says:

      well aren’t you lucky.
      waiter, more bread for me and KidV’s husband. LOL

      • Caribean says:

        LOL, right?? I’d put that yeasty bread smell behind my ears like perfume if I could!

      • KidV says:

        @meh – I’ll be over here stealing your butter.

        @Caribean – I know you’re being snarky, but that cracked me up. I feel the same way about roasted green chilis. I’d wear it as perfume if I could.

  7. Faithmobile says:

    My mother has been on a low carb diet for years and is the worst about, constantly judging me and my kids about everything we put in our mouths. Yesterday she was annoyed that I fed my kids yogurt(organic plain whole btw) because it’s has carbs. Honestly, her nagging makes eating carbs more delicious.

    • Save Mueller says:

      That’s awful! She probably just wants to be eating what you’re eating and it’s making her a crabby bish!

  8. Judith Butler says:

    She was the WORST as the host of Top Chef during season 1. I’m amazed she managed a career after that, so monotone, boring, and stiff. She must have watched herself on camera and improved a lot, or else marrying/divorcing Billy Joel really paid off in dividends/connections!

  9. Parigo says:

    I am borderline type 2 so I did a very low carb diet for about a year and a half. I looked and felt great, I was the thinnest I’ve been since college. But then I just got lazy and started eating my favorite foods again and gained most of the weight back. Bad me. I know deep down I should do it again, but damn I love pasta.

    Also, I don’t think you have to go absolutely keto to have benefits from a low(er) carb diet.

  10. minx says:

    She’s right.

  11. Neva_D says:

    I cannot do low carb diets, but everyone in my immediate surroundings seems to be obsessed with them! I’m a distance runner and will practically fall asleep standing up if I don’t get (healthy) carbs. My favorite part about running so much is that I have to eat a lot of carbs to maintain my training schedule.

  12. Annabel says:

    I’ve always been fit and I work out a lot, but for me it’s pretty much either avoid carbs or get diabetes, so I’ve been on the keto diet for a couple years. It’s fine. If I could eat a piece of bread without my blood sugar spiking to 200, then I’d eat bread every day, but I find it really isn’t hard to avoid carbs when carbs make you feel terrible, and I wouldn’t say I spend much time thinking about them.

  13. Myriam says:

    Exercise (even if it’s minor like walking for 30 minutes a day) and moderation is really all you need. I work at an office, sitting down in front of a computer pretty much 8 hours a day, where every other person has a basket full of candy in their office, or someone brought in donuts, bagels, pizza, cookies in the break room. The temptation here is real. But the only way I manage to control my weight is through moderation and doing a little bit of running here and there. I don’t go to a gym, I don’t subscribe to a dietary lifestyle, but I still manage to stay within 125 lbs. Of course, there are times when I have to suck in to button my pants. That’s when I know I’ve overindulged, and I just do a good 2 or 3 weeks of healthy eating, but if I want to go eat pizza one day, I eat pizza. Depriving yourself is a recipe for disaster.

  14. Pandy says:

    I don’t think we should cut out anything (except meat) from our diets. I think you can have it all if you watch your calories. Said the woman who still eats at least one hot fudge sundae with peanuts per week.

    • OriginalLala says:

      lol I’m agree with the avoiding meat (and avoiding dairy!) I feel 1500% better since I went meat and dairy free! That being said – I still have to be careful about not overdoing it with the deelishcious cashew cheese ;)

  15. Valerie says:

    Am I weird for not craving carbs? Seriously.

  16. Parigo says:

    Honestly when you listen to her, it sounds like she’s eating low carb even though it’s not “no carb”. She says she eats a lot of veggies which I believe. She may eat some pizza or rice from time to time but my bet is she’s eating pretty low carb and healthy to begin with. After that the whole “I love carbs” is probably a “I’m just like you!” thing.

    • tealily says:

      I think you’re probably right, but I do appreciate the message that carbs can be part of a healthy diet! I feel good when I include carbs in what I’m eating.

  17. Caredevil says:

    All you do IS think about them.