Courtesy of PEOPLE Great Ideas/Michael Simon/Startraks

Chef and author Daphne Oz says she has more important things to focus on than the number on the scale.

April 02, 2015

Chef and author Daphne Oz’s food habits tend to shift with major life milestones.

“When I first came on The Chew, I ate mostly vegetarian. But as [my co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly] say on our show, they converted me to the dark side. [Now] I eat everything!” Oz tells PEOPLE at the taping of 3rd annual The View/Chew Cookoff, which pairs co-hosts from each show to compete in a culinary challenge — Oz served as a judge alongside Mario Cantone.

Now, her diet revolves around her 13-month-old daughter Philomena. “I’m more aware of what I bring into the house now,” says the daughter of Dr. Oz. “I really don’t want to bring in processed foods because Philo is going to eat what I eat. I [remember] sitting on the couch eating chips and she reached into the bag and took one for herself and I realized she’s going to do exactly what I do. I might as well keep the best things around.”

That includes roasted vegetables and purees for “adventurous eater” Philomena. “She loves chicken thighs on the bone and lentils,” says Oz, who loves to cook healthy meals at home while her daughter watches, something she did with her own mother. “The way I learned to cook was being in the kitchen with my mom. It’s a very safe place to share and bond with your family.”

Oz, who is married to John Jovanoic, is also focused on what’s best for her own body. “I wish I could say I don’t care when I lose the baby weight; it will come off when it does, but I’ve never been a skinny girl so I can’t just bounce back to a former size so easily,” she said. “It hit me around 8 months after giving birth – I didn’t feel strong in my skin.”

Twice a week Barry’s Bootcamp classes and online Ballet Beautiful and yoga sessions changed that. “It really toned me up,” she said. “When Philo goes to bed it’s nice that I can do a 15, 20 minute workout on my computer. I really just want to get in the place where I can feel really comfortable in my clothes again.”

She added: “Before, keeping in shape would have been a huge priority for me, especially as someone who isn’t naturally thin … but now with Philo, I realize life is really short. I would rather be really happy and [weigh] 5 lbs. more, then be my perfect weight and struggle for that last couple of pounds.”

ABC’s The View/Chew Cookoff airs Thursday, April 2 at 11am EST/10am CST/PST.









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