THE LAST TIME SI Players dined with Eagles defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, he was indulging in a typical meal: two slices of cheesecake followed by a half-dozen shrimp, a half-dozen oysters and a filet mignon accompanied by bountiful sides of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes (What Do NFL Linemen Eat?, SI PLAYERS, Dec. 20, 2004). Now Thomas is getting by on things like egg whites, grilled chicken, melon slices and packaged meals (above, right) prepared by his local nutritionist. Having ballooned to 354 pounds by the end of last season, the 6-foot Thomas--who weighed about 330 pounds at the time of his hearty dinner with SI--joined up with L.A. Weight Loss, a national company that last year helped Eagles coach Andy Reid lose (and so far keep off) more than 50 pounds. Thomas, 32, said he hopes the diet will "help keep my energy level up."
Thomas works with Dara Steiger, L.A. Weight Loss's director of behavior education and nutrition, and her personalized program has helped Thomas quit fried foods. The two have weekly conferences, usually by e-mail or phone, in which Thomas divulges the contents of a diary in which he records what and when he has eaten. ("She'll see me sooner or later," he says. "If I haven't been honest, it's going to show.") Then he gets direction for the week ahead. "He has a good sense of what's healthy and what's not," says Steiger. "It's just helping him stay motivated."
Thomas, who aims to get back to 330 pounds by the start of next season, has lost 14 pounds. He has adjusted his lifestyle by eating five or six small meals a day, overcoming a habit of skipping meals that often led to overeating and late-night binges on Fruity Pebbles. A bachelor, he has also been cooking light in his suburban Houston home. One favorite recipe is for brussels sprouts boiled in water that he has sprinkled with artificial sweetener and minced onions. "Somebody told me they didn't like brussels sprouts," Thomas says. "Then they fixed them the way I cook mine, and they loved 'em."