JoMarie Payton is jazzed. Literally. She's been working on her jazz album since she quit "Family Matters." The actress left in December during her ninth year on the CBS sitcom.
When she's not in the recording studio, she's either on her bike tooling around the neighborhood (Payton, 47, and daughter Chantale, 14, live in Ladera Heights) or sweating it out in the gym. "It's wonderful--even though I'm always cussing and fussing--because when I leave there, I feel like I can jump over cars and trucks," Payton said during a phone interview. "And it's become very important to me because I stopped smoking, you see."
Question: When was this? How long had you smoked?
Answer: Twenty-seven years. Let me see. April. Yeah, the end of April.
Q: Did you gain any weight?
A: Not a pound, and I know that it's going to the gym three times a week. I feel so good, and my primary goal was just to basically maintain. I didn't want my eating habits to get crazy, you know what I mean?
Q: I want to know what you're doing in the gym.
A: Oh, man. It just kills me. If I didn't love her [the trainer] so much, I'd probably hit her. For an hour to an hour and a half, we always have to do the cardio, either on the stationary bike or treadmill. Then we do weights, or run up and down the darn stairs.
Q: Are you dieting?
A: I'm not on a diet or anything. I do watch what I eat though. But what I want, I get it. I learned when I was at 280 pounds, when I was in that life before, denial was not the answer.
Q: You had your stomach stapled in 1985, but why again in '93?
A: They could make it even better because the surgery I had before was stomach stapling-- they stapled a certain portion of the top of the stomach and put an incision there. With the new procedure, they made the opening just a little bit larger. I feel good with the surgery. I'm glad I did it, but I'm so glad that I got a little extra weight on me because I look better.
Q: What weight are you comfortable with?
A: 142 to 152. My face is all rounded out, I look all sexy and feel good, the stuff I could throw around a little bit, you know.
Q: How are you maintaining your weight?
A: On a really good day, if I'm really trying, in the morning I'll have a piece of toast, vitamins and nuts, or a bagel with a little cream cheese. Then at lunch time, I'll get me one of those Chinese chicken salads, a glass of juice and a big glass of water. I like to cook. We always sit down together, my daughter and I, and have dinner--baked chicken breast or a piece of fish with green beans, rice or potatoes. And I love pasta.
Q: Pasta's hard to stay away from, isn't it?
A: Do you know what I'm saying? I swear I love it with everything, some leftover gravy. I don't care, I love it.
Q: What do you usually drink throughout the day?
A: I eat a lot of ice--isn't that ridiculous? I chew on ice and I have maybe two diet sodas a day.
Q: When you said denial is not the answer, what kind of sweets would you have?
A: I love straight pound cake, you know, like a good ol' pound cake, that works for me. I have peppermint patties in a little jar. Oooh, my God. I grab me two or three of those York peppermint patties, and I'm good to go.
Guest Workout runs Mondays in Health.