Reclaiming Your Health

Celebrity Chef Charles Chen shares his journey

By Sarah Mo

With his glowing demeanor, lean physique, and ultra-positive attitude, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine that California born, Charles Chen was anything other than a role model for healthy living. Yet, this bubbling television personality struggled with his weight and motivation for much of his childhood. These days, Chen is the face of the Wellness Revolution, a movement that’s given substance precisely because of Chen’s far from ideal starting point, and a brand ambassador for the American Heart Association. Gone are the days of hoarding secrets to weight-loss and healthy living, “After I lost all the weight, I realized that my journey wasn’t over. Now, it is my job to pay it forward and help as many people as I can,” he shares. Chen is openly sharing the recipes, tips, and mental shifts that helped him transform his life and he’s getting great responses.

Weighing in at 260 pounds, Chen’s life path to wellness was triggered by a wake-up call from his doctors at the age of 15. Hearing that you’re pre-diabetic and bound to die prematurely is a tough thing to take in at any age, let alone before your 16th birthday. However, Chen didn’t take in this information as a mere scare tactic. Instead of getting intimidated, Chen allowed it to motivate him and began taking baby-steps towards a completely new lifestyle. Chen recounts, “a lot of times change can be overwhelming. I began just by walking around my neighbourhood, then started preparing smoothies and juices.”

Since then, Chen has gathered a storehouse of fantastic recipes that are meant to nourish the body and mind. “Some of my recipes come from my cravings, and whatever is in season. I create healthy swaps for dishes that may not be the healthiest. I believe you can find balance in taste and nutrition. Sometimes, I even dream about food and wake up with a new recipe creation,” Chen comments. A quick stop to Chen’s website (charleschen.tv) or Youtube channel (Charles ChenTV) showcases just how much knowledge and passion he has when it comes to a holistic, natural diet. His videos and blog posts highlight and decode super-foods, such as a Matcha, and teaches his followers how to use these ingredients. Chen’s presence online doesn’t end with dietary tips, there are plenty of videos advocating for keeping good mental health practices—such as affirmations and tips on how to create value and meaning in one’s life, to name a few.

Chen’s attitude towards goal-achievement reveals a lot about why he shares both food knowledge and insights into how to reprogram our brains for success.
“I believe the only way to reach sustained success is by tying our goals to something bigger than ourselves. It’s not just about us, but about how much value we can bring into this world,” he relates. “By focusing on service rather than what I can get, we automatically begin operating from a place of abundance. Soon, all the resources we require will come to us with ease.”
We’ve all heard the out-dated “no pain, no gain” mantra, but it’s time to be done with that. Chen’s point-of-view is grounded in community, and is a refreshing shift from more aggressive self-improvement methodologies.

Still, Chen remembers the difficulties in the beginning while he was reclaiming his fitness.
“My biggest challenge would have to be allowing my mind to catch up with my body. I think it’s one thing to lose the weight but another to sustain the lifestyle change. My mind had to be reminded that my body now requires less amounts of food to be nourished,” he says.
Chen is an advocate for daily meditations and self-reflective time—practices he knows are deeply linked to his success.
“I share my failures candidly with my audience. We are all human—some days we get it right, and others we don’t. The goal is to get back up and keep going,” Chen states.

These days in between hosting Kitchen Hustle, making appearances on The Food Network, and creating a new show on Healthi Nation, Chen is working on a lifestyle cookbook. Even though he has a lot his plate, he is thrilled to be helping people all over the world.
“I never imagined I would be doing what I am doing. I always wanted to make a difference. Everything came organically, and I just kept focusing on providing value,” says Chen.

For anyone seeking to make a change, Chen suggests to, “add one healthy habit for 30 days, and you will see a shift in your life. Don’t get overwhelmed, take baby steps, and stop comparing yourself to others. We are all on our own path; honour your unique journey.” These are fantastic words of encouragement from someone who knows ins and outs of reclaiming your life intimately.