Candice Kumai

Looking to lose those last ten pounds, but not give up your favorite foods? Lifetime may have your solution with its new show Cook Yourself Thin. Taking real women who are looking to drop baby weight, get ready for an impending reunion, or perhaps have just let themselves go, each episode features a guest as she learns how to transform favorite (but fattening) recipes into healthy (and still tasty) fare. The viewers get to see how after six weeks the participant has progressed, and if she has kept up the healthier lifestyle. TVGuide.com spoke with one of the hosts, and former Top Chef Season 1 contestant, Candice Kumai about what sets her show apart, how you can enjoy foods you love, and why she's defending Kim Kardashian.  

TVGuide.com: How is Cook Yourself Thin different from other weight-loss shows?
Candice Kumai:
It's really fun, cute and creative because we take really great food and make it even better because we're making it healthy. You don't think of eating lettuce or rice cakes or depriving yourself, you think of an actual burger or fries or milkshake that you can have and actually love. It's mainly the lifestyle change and it's genuinely built for women.

TVGuide.com: There are three hosts, so do you each have a different expertise you bring to the table?
Kumai:
The three of us are so different yet we make the perfect puzzle pieces for each other. Harry [Eastwood] is our original girl from the series in London. She's our blonde, British baker; she really specializes in trying to find the perfect substitute for fat in her baking. Allison [Fishman] is our classic American beauty, girl-next-door, from New York, and she is amazing at cooking instruction— she's very technical. I'm total SoCal, surfer girl, born and raised with a Japanese mother and an American father. So I grew up with all different kinds of cuisines, very cultured, well-traveled and I bring more of the ethnic edge. We are so different but when we come together we make this amazing team and we just feed off of each other.

TVGuide.com: What's your favorite recipe you've made on the show?
Kumai:
The roasted chicken was so good— it's a classic everybody should know how to make. Also one of the alternative recipes I loved was the tequila lime sautéed shrimp tacos. It was always too fattening so I try to find the really healthy, California way to jazz it up.

TVGuide.com: There's been some controversy about Kim Kardashian being labeled as plus-size. Being on TV, do you feel pressure to stay slim?
Kumai:
Kim Kardashian is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. For people to say things like that just blow my mind because it's not all about your waistline. I defend someone like her because she's beautiful and even Allison, Harry and I all have to work really hard to maintain our weight. We're all in the same boat together. Nobody's perfect and everyone can be beautiful in their own way. Dieting has become part of the culture [and] has taken over the world of food. We just want to be able to teach women that food isn't your enemy. It's going to be here for the rest of your life, you may as well make amends with it.

Cook Yourself Thin premieres Monday, May 4 at 5 pm/ET on Lifetime.