Chef “Tee” Terrell Danley

Tee solo edit

Chef Tee is smoke free!  After 27 years of lighting up, the Salt & Pepper co-star quit smoking cold turkey, and says he doesn’t miss it.

It’s been nearly two months since Chef “Tee” Terrell Danley picked up a cigarette.  Even though many stumble when trying to kick their nicotine habits, the Washington, D.C.-native is confident he won’t fall off the wagon, thanks to his faith in a higher power.

“God told me to quit because He said He has big plans for me,” the SNP chef said.

Giving up cigarettes (Chef Tee averaged a pack a day) was half of his two-part fitness plan.  Last year, the SNP co-star completed the first part when he shed 60 pounds.

“I wanted to lose weight by my 51st birthday, and stop smoking by my 52nd,” he said.

Now that Chef Tee has accomplished both goals, he feels amazing.  No cigarettes means he is breathing easier, has an improved sense of smell and a more discerning palate.

“Everything tastes different and smells different,” he said with a bit of wonder in his voice.  “It’s like I’m tasting things for the first time.”

As a result of his more open senses, Chef Tee can balance flavors better when cooking, which ups his game in the kitchen.

If you know the D.C. native, and had never seen him smoke, you’re not alone.  He considered himself a “closet smoker” because he only lit up when driving alone in his vehicle.

Shortly after becoming smoke free, Chef Tee got rid of his truck and bought a new one as a “kick-the-habit” reward.  He also got it because he couldn’t stand the stench in his old vehicle anymore.  Chef Tee didn’t notice the smell when he was a smoker, but now his nose is more sensitive.

“It (the old truck smell) was making me sick,” he said.

Chef “Tee” Terrell Danley

A new FIT man!Collage

“Oh my God!  What happened to you?” is what Chef Tee’s friends, who haven’t seen him in a while, usually ask when they see him now.  The six-foot-three, gregarious Washington, D.C. native was 305 pounds last Thanksgiving.  He’s shed 60 pounds since then and plans to lose 25 more.

“I lost 14 inches off my waste, and I dropped almost four suit sizes,” he said.  “I’m wearing cloths I couldn’t fit in, in ten (years).  I feel amazing.  My skin looks and feels healthier.”

It’s hard to believe that this is the same guy who’s often said “fat tastes good,” “you can’t trust a skinny chef,” and “chefs are supposed to be big.”  Turns out, all that talk was just bravado.

“I wasn’t happy,” he admitted with a sigh.  “I looked at old photos and missed that guy.”

Even though Chef Tee longed for his former self (he was 225 pounds when he graduated from college in the 80’s), he wasn’t in a hurry to change because he didn’t have any major health problems.  No high blood pressure, cholesterol or heart disease.  Then, he knew it was time for a transformation when the following things happened within a week last year around the holidays:

  • The D.C. native didn’t recognize a chef (who was also a friend) because the chef had lost 150 pounds and looked great.  This slimmed-down buddy encouraged Chef Tee to lose weight.  Seeing a fellow chef and friend, who was morbidly obese, now in shape, gave Chef Tee hope that he could get fit too.
  • Chef Tee’s chronic back pain had gotten so bad, that he was walking bent over at work.
  • A co-worker’s dad, who was just a few years older than Chef Tee, died from a heart attack.
  • Chef Tee’s daughter said she wanted him to look “sharp” for her high school graduation, and he knew that was her way of saying she wanted him to get in shape.

 So how did he do it?

“It’s a lifestyle now,” he said.  “I’m not on a diet.  I eat less and exercise.  There are no shortcuts.”

Chef Tee’s Weight Loss Plan

Lose It application — Chef Tee used this app to set calorie goals and keep track of how much he ate daily.  If he consumed too many calories in the morning, he would cut back in the afternoon and evening, and vice versa.

Portion control — He ate several small meals and healthy snacks (apples, yogurt and almonds were his favorites) high in fiber and protein, throughout the day to keep up his energy.  He also enjoyed food in moderation.  For example, he would opt for one slice of pizza instead of two.

Exercise — Chef Tee walked a lot and used Fitbit, a wrist device that tracks the amount of calories you burn per step.  He did push-ups and sit-ups.

Lots of water — He drank a gallon-to-a gallon and a half of water a day.

The end result is a lighter and healthier Chef Tee with an improved back, more energy and a thrilled family.

“I’m quite proud of him,” said his wife, Portia.  “He’s a much happier person, which makes for a much happier house.  I never thought I’d see him back in shape and taking his health seriously.  It’s also great to see how many people he has inspired to follow suit.”

Read how Chef Tee stopped smoking cold turkey.