Graham Elliot Loses Nearly 150 Pounds — See His Amazing Transformation

03/07/2014 at 01:27 PM ET

Graham Elliot Weight Loss
Courtesy Graham Elliot

Meet the incredible shrinking Graham Elliot!

Nine months after undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy at the University of Chicago Medical Center, the MasterChef judge and acclaimed chef has lost a whopping 147 lbs. “I thought it would take two or three years to do this,” admits Elliot, 37, who now weighs 253 lbs. after tipping the scales at nearly 400 lbs. at one point. “I thought I’d lose 60 or 70 pounds the first year.”

Elliot credits his success to thinking about the surgery as just a stepping stone to making serious healthy lifestyle changes. He works out at least every other day now, can run 5 miles and requests that his dressing room on the MasterChef set is filled with almonds, dried fruit and seaweed chips instead of the usual sweets.

“In the past I would get stressed and ask craft services for cookies and candy,” says Elliot, who is currently in Los Angeles filming the upcoming season of the hit cooking competition show. “But now I know my stomach is the size of a banana and I need to have food that just gives me energy. So I can either have a moment of sweetness but feel really bad or I can order something delicious and light like sashimi.”

The perks of his healthy transformation include wearing the same size jeans he did during his freshmen year in high school (that’s a size 36!), finally flying without wearing a seatbelt extender and losing the sleep apnea machine he’s had to use since 2005. “That’s life-changing,” he tells PEOPLE. “It was like being chained to the bed — not being able to lean over and hug [my wife] Allie or snuggle with my kids [Mylo, 7, Conrad, 3, and Jedidiah, 18 months] — because I have a huge mask on my face. Once my machine broke and I had to stay up for 48 hours because I physically couldn’t sleep for five minutes without gasping for air.”

Elliot believes his personality has changed too. “I’m more assertive but in a positive way,” explains the chef, who recently opened his newest restaurant Primary Food & Drink in Greenwich, Conn. “I’m still the comedian but in meetings I’m a little more in command and not afraid that if I say something wrong, someone is going to call me fat. And really that’s what has taken control of my life since high school.”

But no question, making his three boys proud is the absolute best benefit. “At my son Mylo’s birthday in January, we were all running around playing tag with his friends,” recalls Elliot. “He was telling them, ‘My Dad is the fastest one here. He can beat us in a race.’ That was awesome!”

– Liza Hamm

FILED UNDER: Graham Elliot , Health

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 94 comments

tina kravitz on

He looks wonderful

vljohnson02 on

Congratulations!!! You look amazing!!!

pam on

Congratulations! I also had bypass and got some negative responses. I hope you don’t but if you do just blow them off. It’s just another tool like diet and exercise!! Good for you!!

Angela Brown on

I under went the sleeve gastronomic procedure in September 2013. I have lost almost 100 pounds and it feels great to be able to walk and run without stopping to catch my breath. I’m so glad thati had the procedure done.

Tanya on

Gorgeous well Handsome!!! I’m so happy for him!!!

Cheryl on

He looks wonderful – good for him!!!

samuels on

Needs new frames for his new frame.

Tami Ashford on

wow, great job. I also have the gastric sleeve, and so happy to be on the healthier side of life now. I did not have as much weight to loss, but the journey for me has been an amazing one. It has been a complete life change, from mental to physical to emotional, once I complete embraced and very glad I did. Keep up the great work

CHERO on

Congrats. You look GREAT and so handsome. Chicago guy’s the best!

Robin on

Wow, that is awesome. Good for him on getting healthy!

stacey stiles on

You look great! Looking forward to watching you this season. Keep up the good work!

Lorna on

He’s looks amazing, but he’s got to lose those glasses.

Alli on

He looks absolutely amazing! Very inspiring to me. :)

Anonymous on

Looks very good see him on Fox 8

jwt on

Wow!! Keep up the great work.

Terry on

He looks wonderful !!!

louisa livoti on

Louisa livoti congratulations Graham Elliot – you look marvelous and im sure you feel great -

sandy on

Good for you, you look terrific, I am so glad you did it. I did in 2001. I looks and feel terrific too.

Charlotte on

Graham looks amazing! Keep up the great work not only for yourself but for your family and the newfound confidence.

MrMonkee on

I wonder at what point he’ll elect to have the excess skin that is probably hanging to his knees removed? I lost 200 pounds 4 years ago and am still in the process of having skin removed. Very costly, very serious operation and very painful. I still have 18 inches to be removed from both of my underarms. I can only imagine how much skin he has. I have had 54 pounds removed surgically with probably 20 more just on my arms. People generally have no clue what comes after weight loss especially weight loss of this proportion.

johnny on

he still looks ugly and homely. lol.

Dee on

Simply Amazing… My Inspiration…

JAYWAY on

@Johnny: as long as your comment made you feel better about yourself that’s all that matters……………..

Chris on

Wow Wow Wow! Way to go! Keep it up.

stantheman on

Nice ,but wait until you start having health problems !

beverly on

YOU LOOK GOOD !!!!!

bob on

Greatest news in a long time, even Jon Taffer would be giving a thumbs up reason is when your on the ‘plus side’ you tend to sweat more in the kitchen and guess what your sweat pours off your head and into the food and not even know it, again congrats

p on

omg you look fantastic and yes people can change their size and feel totally happy. are these feelings new to you?

thessa on

woah! unbelievable! good for you chef. keep it up

jenc on

Holy moly! If it werent for the glasses I wouldnt even know who he was! Congrats!

carolyn mathews on

congrats to Judge Graham ,,,,,,,,so glad you did it, while you are young , hold lot harder when you are old,,,,,,,,,,Janell

Julie Donovan on

I applaud you Graham!! My sleeve surgery was 7 months ago. I’ve already lost 81 pounds! It isn’t easy. Recovery takes time.

jwcgd23 on

Reblogged this on Lita's Corner.

Houston Texan on

You look great, good job. Sleep apnea machine (CPAP) is not a very loving machine. My husband and I both have to sleep with one. There is no such thing as cuddling to sleep anymore. Let us try and kiss with our masks on. I’m less than 50 over weight and my might be 55 over weight. me a size 12 and him size 34×30.

Feather on

Awesome job! I am now one year out from having the gastric sleeve surgery and have lost 128 pounds. I would have lost more but have had a very tough emotional two months and so I didn’t always make the right choices. But awesome for you!!! Having the sleeve saved my life and just ignore all the haters!!! This is NOT an easy way out even though some people think it is!

suzy diamond on

WOW….amazing! Congrats! NOW, you have a shot at living a long and healthy life! Good for you.

Cherie DaVall on

Congratulations to you! My husband had the same surg. last year (spring) and has so far lost 265 lbs. Down 3 sizes. We are so proud of him. He tried many many things before choosing the surgery ~ but in the end it is what has worked for him, where other options did not.

Emily Decker on

He looks great. Now he just needs to lose the glasses!!

Anonymous on

GO GUY!!!! YOU LOOK FABULOUS!!!!!!!!

jeannie on

OMG. Chef Elliot looks wonderful !

Mommy on

Hey Graham, here’s a crazy idea. Why don’t you just shut your pie hole and stop eating so much? That may impress your kids more than quick fix plastic surgery. Save those fat pants though. You’ll need them in a year or so.

emma on

Are you running out of stories this is old news

Lala on

I’m glad he emphasized that this surgery was a stepping stone, not just an easy fix. I’ve known people that have had it, and after they lost their weight, continued on their unhealthy ways, and gained it back. I’ve also heard other peoples experiences, and they’ve said those first few months are torturous, and if they had the choice, would probably not opt for the surgery. Apparently if you eat too much, you can end up puking, with simultaneous diarrhea. Yikes! But yea, good for him, adopting this healthy lifestyle. I wish him great success!

Lola on

Good for him, he looks great and healthy!

Wendy on

You look amazing and I am proud of you!! :) Now, please get some glasses that dont take away from your handsome face. Get some that blend well and YOU stand out, not the frames. <3

Anonymous on

Terriffic! You should be so proud of yourself and you give a lot of us inspiration! Keep it off!

Not my name on

He looks better but I will never get past the ridiculous white glasses. If he wants to be taken seriously and not like an idiot, get some respectable frames. What a goof.

Shannon Kans on

Congratulations Elliot. I think you look FANTASTIC Even with your glasses :)

stephkong on

Good for him!

Dawn on

Annndddd he got a decent haircut!!! Now time for grown up frames!!

Rachel on

Holy smokes! He looks great! Good for him

JA on

He should have considered healthy lifestyle choices BEFORE having surgery that can ruin his organs and shorten his life. Eat less, move more…the only way to lose weight in a healthy way.

Bernie on

Congratulation! Not only do you look great but I am sure you are enjoying every minute you get so have fun with your kids now and in the future.

Snigglefritz on

Congrats!!!!!!

Snigglefritz on

Congrats!!!!! Good job

Anonymous on

wow looks so different. what kind of surgery is that? sleeve? like'< gastric.

jackie l on

looks totally awesome. good job.

Kim on

Control of his life? No self control. He took the easy way out. He’ll gain it back because he hasn’t learned self control. Maybe shouldn’t be in restaurant biz. Quick fix but he is no role model.

Debra on

Wow!! You are just amazing…The hard work really paid off…

hattieschenck on

So happy for you.

shannon on

Congratulations Graham! Always one of my favorite chefs, you, and your family must be very proud of your taking control of your health. Looking forward to the new season of your show.

Peg on

How “amazing” is weight loss when you have it surgically done? This saddens me that a well known chef couldn’t use his knowledge of food to show the world that weight loss can be done with proper habits and food know how.

Stan on

Great job GE, you wook mavalos! And for all of you know it all loudmouths out there who comment on things you obviously know nothing about, eating disorders have absolutely nothing to do with self control, it is a mental condition, usually triggered by stress. So you are the ones who should “shut your pie hole” and follow your mamma’s advice by not saying anything if you can’t say something nice.

Mariah on

Amazing Graham! :-D

Kim on

You look great! No bypass for me though, I’m working on it the old fashioned way, determination! Have lost 47 lbs so far and hope to go another 47 at least! Good job Chef!

Doug James on

Good job Mr. Elliot. You look great. You & your family will benefit for the rest of your life for doing this. You should be an inspiration for every one who has weight issues, and are fans of your show(s). I hope every one can learn from your experience.

Anonymous on

Still Ugly as sin!

Ed on

Sure loose it the easy way. Try it by working out and diet. Fat fk. My wife is doing it the hard way and doing awesome.

Shelby Melbourne on

Unfortunately, the reality is that he will most likely put the weight back on somewhere down the line. He loves his food waaaay too much!!!

sammiq on

You looked wonderful before and now you look wonderful and healthy! Big congratulations on the lifestyle change!

Pattycakes on

WOW you look great, did you have to have surgery after to get rid of the loose skin after losing so much weight?

David Morris on

I am totally green with envy. Is it because he has celebrity status that the pounds came off a bit easier than your average fat person? Did he eat designer, low-cal foods? Again, I am totally jealous & at the same time inspired that you don’t have to be fat forever.

lynn on

Wow!! The comments about him doing it the “easy” way is crazy. If you read the article, he describes in detail the diet and exercise changes he’s made. Give him his due credit!

Leslie Shaw on

Go Graham go, you look marvelous!!!!!!!

Chinasl45 on

WTG and congratulations to him!!! I too had the sleeve done March 2011 and lost 110 lbs and have kept it off for 3 years. Folks say that weight loss surgery is “the easy way out”. There is nothing wrong with a tool that will help you lose the weight…I needed portion control and the sleeve gave me that. Just getting up from the table was not working for me because I was hungry and when you are hungry (stomach growling, lightheaded, etc.) you eat.
No matter what surgery you have, if you don’t eat correctly and exercise, you wont lose, so yes, it isn’t the easy way out!!! I am proud of him, myself, and everyone else who has embarked upon this journey called weight loss and became successful!

Angela on

Really?? I can’t believe the comments I am reading. Before you start slamming him and the way he chose to lose weight try walking in his shoes. Kudos to him taking charge of his life and turning it around. Surgery is not the easy way out. And not everyone who loses weight via that method gains it back. Did you joy read the part about the exercise he is doing? Why can’t people just be happy for each other instead of cutting them down? Must be jealous.

Anonymous on

I find it funny that people say he took the easy way out….you have no IDEA what recovery is like after that surgery. He is dieting and exercising and that is the reason he has lost so much in a short amount of time…if he was doing it the easy way..he would still be eating whatever he wanted in smaller portions without exercise….get a clue people

Donna Ball on

Awsome had gastrobypast lost 124lbs still feel great after 12 years.

candjcox on

I applaud his weight loss…I imagine being a chef makes it hard to be disciplined but I am a 53 year old woman who has lost 70 lbs by eating less and moving more. It took me 2 years but I feel as good as I did in my 20’s! I feel I may be able to keep the weight off because I did it slowly and am comfortable with the changes I made to my diet. Congrats Graham! I truly do wish you success in keeping it off!

David on

Inspiration?

He went under the knife. Thats not inspirational.

What about people who actually go the hard yards, stumble at times with exercise and proper eating but keep moving forward.

If anything the surgeon should be congratulated.

And dont give me that, he adjusted his diet, that is a small adjustment when you have a tiny stomach.

Tim Flannery on

ABSOLUTELY INSPIRING….

Anonymous on

how is the blind woman doing after she won..i think her name was Christy

Becki on

So very proud of the hard work and good choices he has made. Congratulations !!!!

Alice on

The white glasses are the old you, wear contacts or another smaller frame. You look very young, my husband will be having this surgery soon.

Jason on

Looks great, but those specs don’t work any longer.

jm Beach04 on

Congratulations Graham,
well done! I have been watching you, Joe and Gordon on Master Chef for a long time. What a life changing event for you in your life. Your family must be proud as am I and my friend too. Say hello to Joe and Gordon for me. Please tell Gordon I send him at least two letters one to his people and one for his people to give directly to him. Again congratulations and I am looking forward to the next season of master chef. You look stunning!

jmBeach on

Congratulations Graham on your life changing news. I look forward to the next season of Master Chef. Say hello to Joe and Gordon for me. Please tell Gordon I sent two letters one to his people and one for him. Again congratulations!

France on

Congradulation in the hard work of loosing weight , not a easy task espacially when you work in the food industry, keep up the good Work .

Susan Relyea on

Just saw the first show of the new season and you look awesome! Keep up the good work.

zebby on

Graham, congrats on the amazing weight loss. Was so surprised to see you on the premiere of master chef. You look a la grand! I am hoping that you can share the regime followed besides the surgery. My son is overweight and hope he can loose some!

wkmtca on

ok.. he looks way better but there is no way someone who weighs 253 pounds wears a size 36 jean. no..freaked…way.

Gabriel Miller on

I think you are looking great man. Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration to me, I would hate to lose a hero to simply being overweight, you are loved by many. Keep on keeping on…:-)

Linda A. Sosenko on

Graham,
I love your commitment and motivation ! I give you so much credit and Congratulations !!

Someone argued that having the surgery was a crutch – but – the Good Lord never said that you had to walk though hell to get to heaven. Enjoy your new found happiness and healthiness !

Linda S.

Janice Miles on

Elliot loos absolutely wonderful and I am glad to see the new Elliot . He can be very proud of his achievement . I too am working on a life change . Not however, through and operation unfortunately for me

advertisement

From Our Partners

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 413 other followers

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters