When you catch psychopathic killers for a living, it’s important to stay in shape. Even if it’s just a TV job. A.J. Cook plays the perennially calm and collected J.J. on “Criminal Minds,” but she was positively brimming with excitement when she discussed her successful weight loss. While pregnant with her son, Mekhai, A.J. Cook gained 40 pounds at the same time that she was playing an FBI agent on national TV. Despite working crazy hours on the show, A.J. was determined to fit in time to exercise and eat healthy foods to regain her pre-pregnancy body.
To lose the weight, A.J. stuck to a meal plan that averaged 1,500 to 1,600 calories per day. She averaged a weight loss of 1 to 3 pounds per month, which is much healthier than crash diets that tell dieters to expect a weight loss of a pound or more per day.
On a typical day on her weight loss diet, A.J. Cook might eat a banana flavored lightly with peanut butter and stuffed into a whole wheat tortilla. This breakfast offers protein from the peanut butter and potassium from the banana. We’d recommend using a reduced sugar, low-fat peanut butter. Another healthy breakfast option on A.J.’s diet is a parfait made with a cup of plain, fat-free yogurt, blueberries, and ground flaxseed. Flaxseed should always be eaten ground because otherwise, your body will be unable to digest the nutrients.
For a midmorning snack, A.J. Cook would likely eat a high-fiber granola bar or celery sticks dipped in low-fat yogurt. Her lunch would often feature a whole wheat pita stuffed with tuna (packed in water, not oil), light mayo, and dried cranberries. For an afternoon snack, A.J. might eat some cubed cantaloupe or a cup of non-cream-based tomato soup. Soup is a popular weight loss tool, because it makes you feel more satiated than many other types of foods. Just make sure you select a light, low-cal soup.
A.J.’s typical dinner would feature a skinless chicken breast, grilled asparagus, and orzo combined with chopped spinach, red onion, a small amount of feta cheese, and some seasonings. Another healthy dinner option is a veggie burger topped with avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions on a whole wheat bun, served with an ear of corn. Eating healthy, low-cal snacks throughout the day help dieters avoid overeating at meals. Eating your meals with plenty of vegetables, like the toppings on A.J.’s veggie burger, can also help reduce your overall caloric intake.
A.J. found the exercise portion of her weight loss plan to be more difficult to stick to than her diet, primarily because her schedule was hectic. A.J. Cook worked out with a physical trainer. She hasn’t offered the specifics of her workout program, but we imagine it was a mix of cardio and toning exercises. On her days off, A.J. enjoys going for walks with her son. She also fits in various resistance exercises whenever she can on the set of “Criminal Minds.”
A.J. Cook Sample Daily Diet Plan
- Breakfast: Yogurt & blueberry parfait
- Snack: Granola bar
- Lunch: Pita with tuna & cranberries
- Snack: Cantaloupe
- Dinner: Chicken & asparagus & orzo