Since May, the New York Jets’ hefty nose tackle has shed 20 pounds, putting him at a svelte 365.
“It sounds funny, but I got serious about it,” he said. “And, I have to say, it has been going great.”
The six-foot-four Jenkins was up to 390 — 30 more than his normal playing weight — earlier this year while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury sidelined him for the second half of last season.
“I couldn’t run or do anything, and that’s the hardest time I have personally to lose weight,” Jenkins said. “Whenever I can’t be active, I suffer. Honestly, I’ve had weight issues my whole career. It just got to the point where I got fed up.”
So, Jenkins — weighing 385 at the time — flew to Miami to meet Dr. Sanford Siegal, creator of Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, which has been around since 1975. And that’s when he started gobbling up cookies to supplement his weight-loss program.
“They’re more like muffin tops than cookies,” he said with a chuckle.
They’re 90 calories each, have 2 1/2 grams of fat and contain ingredients like milk, soy, whole wheat flour, crisp rice and non-vegetable protein.
“It is both an asset and a liability, that name,” said Matt Siegal, the doctor’s son and the company’s CEO. “People hear that name, Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, and they think at best it’s another fad diet or at worst, it’s a scam — what, do you eat Oreos all day? Once people go and do research, any notion that this is not serious is immediately dispelled.”
He’s not exactly downing batches of Chips Ahoy or Famous Amos, but Jenkins has become quite the cookie monster and a believer. After all, the scale doesn’t lie.
“They’re basically appetite suppressants and they make you feel full,” he said. “It’s like being able to have carbs and a dessert at the same time and lose weight.”
Even sweeter: Coach Rex Ryan challenged him and teammate Damien Woody to a three-way weight-loss competition and whoever loses the most — to be determined at a training camp weigh-in Sunday in Cortland, N.Y. — will have a donation made in his name to a charity.
“Right now, I don’t know where either of them stand, so we’re just going to see on the weigh-in day,” Jenkins said. ’I’m hoping that I win and I pull this off.“
His goal is to weigh 350 by the time training camp is over in late August.
“I’ve been blessed with genetics and things like that, but the thing you can’t fight is time,” said Jenkins, who turns 31 next week.
Jenkins recently told The New York Times he thought about retirement this off-season while rehabilitating from his injury. After discussing it with his wife, Tashia, and Ryan, Jenkins realized he wanted to get back on the field <\_> maybe even more than he has in his previous nine seasons.
“I need this camp, I really do,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this.”
Jenkins raised some eyebrows last week during an interview with the NFL Network, when he said, “We’ve had some real men come in and step in for the women that we lost.” He didn’t specifically name any of his former teammates, but many fans and media assumed it was safety Kerry Rhodes.
Jenkins wouldn’t confirm or deny he was talking about Rhodes, who lost his starting job last season and had disagreements with coaches before being traded to Arizona in March.
“When you have any player who comes into the locker room and you’re ready to pad up and suit up and they think they’re better than the team, as a veteran, I’m going to have a problem with that,” Jenkins said.
“You’ve got guys out on the field, bleeding and sweating to make sure we can try to be successful. So, when you have an individual that comes to the locker room and thinks they’re above that, it upsets us.”
Jenkins prefers to put all that in the past now, and he’s focused on coming back healthier — one cookie at a time.