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A Bit of History

Throughout Jeff’s entire adult life, he’s had the desire to be in amazing shape. For 18 years, he traveled all over the United States working the comedy club circuit, and part of his somewhat regular routine during that time was heading outside for 45-minute runs. It was a great way to explore each city he visited while simultaneously getting in a workout. He also dabbled in weight lifting here and there, but just as it is with the rest of us, exercise alone wasn’t enough to achieve the results he really wanted. Nutrition, proper rest and consistency were the missing pieces to the puzzle.

The Way We Roll…

Jeff and I have been together for many years now. During that time, I have been his girlfriend, fiancé and now his (very lucky!) wife. And through it all, per his request, I have also taken on the role of his nutrition and fitness coach. It was a delicate balance to figure out in the beginning, but we both realized that if we maintained the utmost respect for one another in these secondary roles we could make it work. Nowadays, we don’t even think about it. I do most of the cooking, make suggestions when ordering in restaurants, and schedule our workouts. I love doing it and he seems to like having it done!

Don’t get me wrong – he and I have shared many ice cream sundaes and pizzas over the years! We both LOVE food and love to cut loose every once in a while. It’s a big game of balance and we are both committed to making healthy lifestyle choices the majority of the time. Truth be told, oftentimes he encourages me to stay healthy and fit almost as much as I encourage him, whether he realizes it or not!

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Achieving Physical Fitness Greatness in the Past

As you may recall from the About Me section of this site, Jeff had supported me throughout my fitness competition years in such a great way, that he ended up with what you might call “second hand fitness results.” A lot of the time, he ate the same foods I ate and became my favorite workout partner. I felt very lucky that I had a man in my life that was up for doing such a thing! We also trained like crazy for our wedding back in 2012, which was very challenging due to our busy travel schedule, but it was all absolutely worth it in the end. Jeff even had a tour of Australia during that time which added to the crazy, but we stuck together and stayed on track each and every day. In the end, we both reached our goals with 2 weeks to spare!

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Admittedly, however, over the four months that followed, the weight slowly came back.

Cut to February 5th, 2015…

On this day, Jeff was 18% body fat and 183 pounds:

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The day Jeff received the very first Achmed Ventriloquist Doll, which are now available on JeffDunham.com!

Jeff was now extremely motivated to get in incredible shape and he was ready to put in the work, but we needed to do it right. It was important to not get in a big hurry and put him on a plan that was so strict that he’d end up rebounding once he reached his goal and dive head first into a food binge fest all while refusing to set foot in a gym for weeks on end due to massive burnout! (Phew, that was a mouth full!) So instead, we began his journey by just cleaning up his diet a bit all while hitting the weights hard and heavy. And February through May that’s just what we did.

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The Food for Phase 1

Here is a sample meal plan of what is day of food typically looked like:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with protein powder and walnuts added. Some days he would have egg whites scrambled with vegetables instead of protein powder.

Snack: Green shake made with almond milk, frozen spinach, ½ banana, Udo’s oil, berries and protein powder + 2 Brazil nuts on the side

Lunch: Quinoa, black beans, salsa and sautéed green beans

Snack: Sliced apple with almond butter or Ezekiel toast with avocado

(Pre-show meal at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas)
Dinner: Fish or chicken, shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad with no croutons/dressing on the side, and roasted green vegetables

After show snack: Protein muffins made with protein powder and chia seeds. He also had some sort of small treat at this time, which was usually a small handful of M & M’s or a couple squares of dark chocolate.

  •  The goal was to stick to a mostly plant-based diet with minimal processed foods. “Quality” took priority over “quantity” during this time.
  • We also allowed for a little flexibility; when he was really starving, his portions were a little bigger.
  • Also, when special occasions occurred, such as his birthday on April 18th, he cut loose for a day or two to celebrate.
  • I always kept bowls of grape tomatoes, sweet peppers and berries front and center in the fridge to nosh on as he wished throughout the day.
  • Water. Lots and lots of water. But Jeff hates drinking water. If he had it his way, the only liquid he’d consume all day would be coffee! So, I bought 4 large reusuable water bottles, and each day, I filled them up and set them out on the kitchen counter where he would see them several times a day. To help even more, I added sliced citrus fruits and mint leaves to the water to give a hint of flavor. These tricks worked and Jeff got in the habit of drinking more water. As a result, he not only felt more energized, he felt less hungry and his skin started to look better, too.

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The Physical Side of Things for Phase 1

Here is a sample workout plan that he followed during that time:

Monday: Lift weights + 22 mins HIIT cardio (High Intensity Interval Training)

Tuesday: 30 – 40 mins moderate intensity cardio

Wednesday: Lift weights + 22 mins HIIT cardio

Thursday: 30 – 40 mins moderate intensity cardio

Friday: Lift weights + 22 mins HIIT

Saturday: Active Rest – 1 hour walk (round trip) to Starbucks in Las Vegas

Sunday: Early show – Rest Day

  • If he missed a workout during the week for whatever reason, he would make it up on Saturday.
  • Jeff had one week off per month from shows, so we would spend that week at home in Los Angeles. That week was usually jam-packed with meetings with managers and agents, appointments and spending time with family, so workouts were more challenging to fit in his schedule. Therefore, on days he only had 45 mins to workout, weight lifting took priority over cardio.
  • Speaking of priorities: To properly recover from workouts, sleep became a top one; a challenging concept for a man who has endless energy and who’s brain never stops! I reemphasized on many occasions that in order to make all of that time spent in the gym really count, he needed to tell himself that 8 hours of sleep was now the goal. Sometimes he was able to do it, sometimes he wasn’t. A couple of things that helped him relax and fall asleep faster, though, were drinking a nighttime tea and utilizing a white noise app on our phones.

A New Challenge in the Mix

Just as he did with me back when I was in training, I ate almost exactly what Jeff did and we also worked out together most of the time, too. That is, until I got pregnant with my twins in early March and started experiencing extreme cravings, food aversions, exhaustion and evening nausea. My food choices became very different and my workouts were shortened, had less intensity and were much less frequent. But you can read all about that craziness here!

At this point, I usually cooked two completely different meals for us. Jeff was now faced with the added challenge of watching me eat some foods that he really loved but would not help him achieve his fitness goals, such as cheese sandwiches and graham crackers, so his determination and focus had to be cranked up a notch! Oftentimes, he would just have one bite of what I was eating, which eased the tension a bit.

Since there were many days that I felt too tired to hit the gym with Jeff, I used a fitness journal to write-out his workout for him each time he lifted weights. And since he’s extremely self-motivated, I never had to worry about any slacking off. In fact, Jeff regularly reported back drenched in sweat with new PR’s noted in the journal.

By the end of May, Jeff weighed 174 pounds and had put on about 4 – 5 pounds of muscle.

Phase 2: Time to Train Like a Competitor

It was a done deal. Jeff was set to shoot his next special, Unhinged in Hollywood, on August 19th and 22nd , which would then air on NBC on September 17th. Jeff made up his mind that we was ready to take his diet and training to the next level with the goal of looking better than ever by the time he was scheduled to tape the special. A hefty task to take on, considering how much work and stress is already involved in prepping for such an important event.

Jeff was now floating around 14% body fat, so in order to get down into the single digits in ten weeks, it required taking some extreme measures; not something I typically encourage people to do since keeping weight off after long stretches of food deprivation is very, very difficult to do. I communicated my trepidation with Jeff, but ultimately we decided to push on with the agreement that once he reached his goal, he would allow me to help him transition back into a life with more food flexibility all while maintaining the new body he had earned. If I could go back to my competition days, I would have hired a coach to help me do the same thing after each fitness competition.

The Food for Phase 2

At this point, most of Jeff’s meals included white fish, scallops, shrimp, protein shakes, green vegetables, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. In the evenings, however, he also had a tablespoon of almond butter plus 5 M&M’s! Sounds silly, right? But yes, he literally counted out 5 of those little candies each and every night, not any less or any more. It was important to me that he enjoy this little treat on a regular basis just to help keep him sane.

A photo of what Jeff ate for dinner one night: Fish, cauliflower and sweet potato with cinnamon.

A photo of what Jeff ate for lunch one day: Cod, cauliflower and sweet potato with cinnamon.

Phase 2 Workout Schedule

Monday: Lift weights + at least 50 minutes of cardio

Tuesday: At least 50 minutes of cardio

Wednesday: Lift weights + 22 mins HIIT cardio

Thursday: At least 50 minutes of cardio

Friday: Lift weights + 22 mins HIIT cardio

Saturday: At least 50 minutes of cardio before going in for a much needed massage

Sunday: Early show – Rest Day

  • Around the last week of July, his body really started fighting us and his fat loss plateaued. When this happens it’s time to start mixing things up. We then started cycling his carbs where some days he would eat more than others, and in the gym, we utilized different lifting techniques such dropsets, supersets/giant sets (with heavy weight and low reps), and Tabata training. His cardio sessions grew longer and longer, too.

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The Mental Aspect

As mid-August approached, Jeff grew more and more exhausted and I, of course, became more and more pregnant, which meant I was beyond exhausted, too. But there was no way that either of us were willing to throw in the towel – Jeff had come too far and we had to keep going. So we continued to work together as a team and take it one day at time.

Resisting temptation backstage at Planet Hollywood.

Resisting temptation backstage at Planet Hollywood.

It helped to take progress photos so Jeff could see that his hard work was paying off. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the results when just looking in the mirror; we tend to focus on the remaining flaws rather than the incredible improvements.

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Show Day – at last!

Jeff arrived at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on that Wednesday morning weighing a svelte 158 pounds, approximately 9% body fat… and I, being 7 1/2 months pregnant with two baby boys, waddled in behind him! Here’s a funny little secret that I’ve never revealed until now: we both weighed the same amount on that day!

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The tapings on both August 19th and 22nd were a huge success. You can read all about it here!

Backstage at the after party!

Backstage at the after party!

Continuing the Fitness Journey

Following the taping, Jeff took a couple of weeks to enjoy some of the foods he had missed and rest his tired body. We went out for a couple of nice meals to celebrate my birthday which is at the end of August and Jeff flew up to Iowa to help Kenna, his youngest daughter, get settled at her new college.

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A fun birthday lunch with Jeff, my mom and dad, and my big brother, Tim!

In early September, Jeff decided he was ready to get back to the gym and jump on that wild dieting train once again, all while I approached 9 months of pregnancy. This time the plan was to take off the last few pounds to achieve the complete six-pack, and once that was done, he and I would do a photo shoot together pointing at each other’s extreme bellies! We scheduled the photo shoot for October 12th, our 3rd wedding anniversary.

Jeff stuck to the plan, but that photo shoot never happened. Reason being, my water broke at 6:00pm on October 10th and our two boys, Jack and James, were born that following morning. So instead of celebrating our anniversary with a photo shoot, we celebrated in a hospital room sipping champagne and holding our new baby sons (don’t worry – not at the same time!)

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I’m happy to say almost six months later, Jeff has managed to keep a vast majority of the fat off and has settled into a new way to live and eat and exercise to maintain his incredible results! This time, there’s no going back.

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Thanks for reading!

 

Filed under: Fat Loss, My World

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Comments

Jeff Brown

Thanks for sharing! Excellent information and enjoyed reading about the journey together.

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Julie SPaine

I enjoyed reading your story.Thanks for sharing it.It gave me some food idea.I hope someday to meet you Audrey.have you ever thought about writing a book? your fan Julie☺

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Lee

Great story and information, Audrey. Jeff looked more fit than I’d ever seen him at the last show I caught. I do have w question. As you know, mens testosterone levels really go down as we get older. (I’m 59). With the importance of T in staying healthy, but with the negative studies and warnings about TRT, are their any specific exercises or food that boost T naturally? It’s hard to judge what’s true or not researching on the Internet. Thanks.

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Amber Fox

Thank you so much for opening your world & way of life to share with the public. It’s so uplifting! Plus you seem genuine. I really, really appreciate that! ☺️ I loved reading your story… You give me hope for ME.

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Audrey Dunham

Such nice compliments – thank you very much, Amber!

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Neale bacon

Audrey ,
I love reading your blog. Jeff and I are in the same age range so it makes me think there’s hope for me yet LOL.
I would love to know your recipe for protein muffins. Have wanted to try them as a healthy snack.
Take care!

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Jenny Hoffman

Thank you for sharing Audrey. 🙂 Congratulations on your twin boys they are adorable! Jeff’s story is amazing, I have all of his dvd’s. Love them all and I have amazing admiration for you and what you do.

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Audrey Dunham

Thank you very much for this, Jenny!

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Karen white

Hi Audrey, I enjoy reading your blog. It gives great ideas.
During Jeff’s journey did you set him up on a macro program? Or did you both eat similar?
I am on a fitness journey also and the food is the hardest part for me.
Thank you for your time
Karen White

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SHERYL WELLS

Wonderful story, and gorgeous family! You’re both uniquely driven, unique because not many out there believe in having a break from healthy meals and treating yourself is to help you ‘stay on track’ to losing weight and getting healthier.

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tara Larson

What a great inspiration. I liked how you explained how everything was done in phases.

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Erin

Thank you so much for revealing all that went in to Jeff amazing transformation. It’s so awesome to hear the triumphs and struggles. I’ll read this again and take notes. I love how you describe a different way of eating and working out due to his schedule. The “I don’t have time” or “I’m so tired” excuses are out the window. I love how supportive you both are is achieving your goals.

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Audrey Dunham

Thank you for the kind words, Erin! Yep – we avoid excuses as much as possible! The easiest way to make time to work out for most of us is to go to bed a little earlier and then wake up a littler earlier in order to get it in.

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Tammy holbert

My husband, also Jeff, and I are huge fans and have followed his career from when his kids were littler. Very happy for both of your success, the boys and just how much happier you both seem to be now! Congrats!

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Audrey Dunham

Thank you very much, Tammy!

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Roy white

Champagne at delivery. That is fantastic! I hope someone sang “For she’s a jolly good mother…which no one will deny!”
Ok. My goal is to lose 30 pounds, get 8 hours sleep each night, walk briskly 30 or more minutes a day, faithfully work my knee PT–all accomplished by the time of the Vent Haven convention. If I fail, I will donate my self to the Vent Haven museum, and sit for all eternity in my widdle seat–saying nothing. Jeff can personally donate “me” to Vent Haven. But…I…will…succeed. Hope to see you and the boys.

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Audrey Dunham

Sounds like a great list of goals to me, Roy!! We hope to make it out to the ConVention, as well. We’ll have to see how well the boys are sleeping at that time!

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mike Lynch

I’m a wee bit younger than Jeff and this is definitely a motivator. Thanks for the article and the pics.

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Danielle ries

Thank you for sharing this! It really was informative. Losing weight is such a hard thing to do and it’s nice to see that just because someone looks good does mean they don’t have the same struggles.
I love the pictures you and Jeff share of your family. You boys look so adorable.
All the best
Danielle from Canada.

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Philippe

Jeff is an amazing person !
Far away from here ( Belgium)….but we love him!!!!!

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Pamela Kennedy

Jeff I am so happy you found happiness . You look so very happy , and fit. Audrey is smart and Beautiful. And you new sons way to go. Say a prayer for me. I lost my mate March 28,2016.But even he was not my soulmate, at age 60 I don’t think I ever will.

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Debbie Summers

Wow, Audrey! Jeff never looked this good in high school! Do you make house calls?

All kidding aside, you did an amazing job with him. I need to take some of this great advice and put it to use in my household with my hubby.

He plays with guitars… not dolls. 😉

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John Powell

Great read! I got “worn out” just by reading about all of the exercises you were doing! You guys are looking great! Stay Healthy!!

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Pam armstrong

Thanks for sharing Audrey! All your fellas are looking very, very happy and healthy!! You should (& can tell you are!!) feel very, very proud!! ps…tell Jeff we loved his show at Planet Hollywood!!

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Audrey Dunham

Thank you very much, Pam! And yes – very, very proud.

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Tara

I am so happy for both of you! I absolutely love his comedic mind. I’m very happy to hear a true love story in the celebrity life. What good role models you guys make. P.S. cutest babies ever.

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Audrey Dunham

Thank you very much for this, Tara!!

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Marla jacoby

Great Blog, would there be any way that you can make the diet part into a download so I could refer to it, I want what the two of you have together and I want my better half and I to be healthier too. You both are such an insiration. Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes story and the struggles too, make me know that even those that seem to have it all together only do so through hard work. persistance and perservenence!!!

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Rich

Awesome read……big fan of Jeffs and had no idea you had a blog. Awesome work, thank you , great read

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nessa

glad i saw this page! it’s so inspiring for me right now. i’m at a point in my life right now where i have to “start over” after being laid off.
since i’m big on fitness i’ve been studying to become a personal trainer. i want to earn other specialty certificates to be more successful. Eventually, I’d love to be a registered nutritionist. cooking and baking are big parts of my life and i make healthy yet very flavorful foods.
i loved reading this and can’t wait to check out more of your website. Thank you!

P.S. You look beautiful in your wedding dress and jeff looks very happy and healthy (o:

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Audrey Dunham

Such a nice comment – thank you! I wish you all the best as you start this new journey.

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Dayanara

You’ve imersespd us all with that posting!

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steve

Great results. tHANKS for sharing food and workout routine. Thanks Jeff for a funny as H— show in Cleveland.

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Audrey Dunham

Thank you for the kind words, Steve!

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