How Chelsea Handler Boosted Her Metabolism…Without Cutting Alcohol

Graphic: Abby Maker for Well+Good

Kelly LeVeque. Photo: Braedon Flynn

Working with health coach Kelly LeVeque is like having a super-smart BFF on speed dial—only, she happens to be ridiculously brainy about all things holistic nutrition. It's why celebs like Emmy Rossum, Jessica Alba, and Molly Sims turn to the wellness guru when they want to fine-tune their diets. LeVeque's super-positive philosophy (she's all about creating healthy, sustainable eating habits for life) is the foundation for her new book, Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever.

Here, in a new series for Well+Good, the certified nutritionist and Be Well founder is opening up about the wellness trials and tribulations of some of her most famous clients. (Stars: They really are just like us.) 

This week? Chelsea Handler. The 42-year-old funny woman is known for speaking her mind—and she held nothing back from her nutritionist. That authenticity allowed LeVeque to devise a truly tailored food regimen that helped Handler fight bloat and keep her metabolism humming—all while still enjoy a (healthy) cocktail...or two. Here's the all-star intel.

Chelsea (or, as I like to call her, “Sugar”) and I have been working together for over a year now. To say she makes me laugh would be an understatement.

Our first meeting was on a Friday night because she's so busy. I walked into her home to find a few of her besties hanging out and excited to learn all abut being healthy—and they all had cocktails in hand! Chelsea offered me one, too. Yep, I had a vodka with Chelsea during our first wellness meeting.

Chelsea enjoys cocktails and laughs with her friends. (One of her books is Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.) She lives a full, fun life, and her goal was to keep living it—just in a healthier way, if possible.

Here's the nutrition protocol I prescribed to help her keep the good times—and her metabolism—going.

Photo: Instagram/@chelseahandler

Cool-girl client: Chelsea Handler is a comedian, actress, writer, television host, and producer. She’s currently filming season two of Chelsea, her hit original show on Netflix.

Why she came to me for coaching:  This sounds a little funny to say, but it’s so true for a lot of people: Chelsea really wanted to understand how she could live a healthier lifestyle, but not give up alcohol. (I, for one, enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long week.) She also wanted to prevent water retention and learn how to turn off her hunger hormones, so she wasn’t constantly fighting the urge to snack.

My nutrition prescription: One thing I focused on was educating her regarding what else (other than alcohol) is metabolized in the liver, such as the fructose found in fruit. To reduce the metabolic toll, I suggested she cut back on sugary fruit juices and smoothies, as well as sugar in general.

To help Chelsea eat to satiety and not feel hungry every couple hours, the key was increasing her healthy fat intake.

Chelsea really wanted to understand how she could live a healthier lifestyle, but not give up alcohol.

The game-changing meal for her plan: The goal was to get 2 Tbsp of fat at every meal. For breakfast, instead of eating an egg-white omelet, I suggested she have 2–3 yolks, too—that’s where the fat is. She works out in the morning and sometimes a meal doesn’t sound appetizing, so I taught her how to make a chocolate-almond butter Fab Four Smoothie as well.

At lunch and dinner, I encouraged her to build a plate with the Fab Four—protein, fat, fiber, and greens. Shutting down her hunger hormones with the right amount of these macronutrients helped Chelsea eat less at subsequent meals.

As for soda (or water) with a lemon is one of the cleanest options.

The real-girl hurdle she had to clear along the way:  One time, when she was traveling to New York, I suggested she bring a few nut butter packs to help her bridge the hunger gap between lunch and dinner. She started eating one on the plane and texted me mid-air to confirm that she should eat the entire 2 Tbsp pack. I laughed and confirmed, “Yes, please do! It'll help you stay full and calm.” She texted me back: “If this fat makes me fat, I will sue you.” LOL.

What happened when she brought it all into balance: Chelsea is no longer afraid of fat. She also ditched the juices in her refrigerator.

Handler might be her funniest client, but she's not the only celeb whose eating habits LeVeque's helped supercharge. Here's why Jessica Alba and Emmy Rossum also call here coach. 

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