Published: Jul 01, 2011 7:44 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 01, 2011 6:42 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Eating champion Joey Chestnut says his doctor doesn't mind how he spends his Fourth of July.

The four-time Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest champion appeared Friday with competitors ahead of Monday's event.

Chestnut estimates that he eats about 20,000 calories in one shot at food competitions. When he's not training, he runs and carefully watches what he eats.

The San Jose, Calif., resident says his doctor's OK with that - if he gives himself time to recover, doesn't gain weight and doesn't develop diabetes. The 27-year-old says he's young enough to get away with his gluttonous habits.

This is the first year the contest is sponsoring a separate eat-off category for women.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)