The weight loss journey of Ethan Suplee

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Lily L. Pyle

When actor Ethan Suplee was 24 years old in the year 2001, he found himself standing on the freight scale at a shipping center. This was very humiliating for Suplee before he checked into a treatment center for alcohol and drug addiction. The center needed his weight; however, they did not have a scale for patients who were of his size. It was utterly horrifying for him. He was 6 feet tall and weighed as much as 536 pounds.. But despite the wake-up call, Suplee gained an additional 14 pounds in the rehabilitation center. Suplee revealed that he would keep eating, and this is exactly what he had been doing for the last so many years.

Today, the actor is best known for his role as “dim-witted” Randy Hickey in the movie, “My Name is Earl.” He now weighs about 255 pounds and has shredded 11% of the body fat that he had. But as mentioned in the “American Glutten” podcast, it was not a linear journey to health. Throughout his lifetime, Suplee gained and lost a total of 1000 pounds. He tried innumerable diets that included Atkins and anti-inflammatory eating plans. There were also times during the entire week when he used to ride a bike for a total of 100 miles.

He found the reason for him being so addicted to overeating.

It was not until 2018 that things started working for Suplee. He came across a TED Talk by Mike Israel where he realized that carbs and gluten were not the problems. The problem was his relationship with food. The complicated relationship between Suplee and food dates back to age 5 when his grandparents put him on a restricted eating plan. They did this because they loved him and were concerned about him. But then it had a terrible reverse effect on Suplee. He decided to sneak food wherever he could. This finally became a habit. He kept bingeing when nobody was looking.

These acts made him gain more weight.

On the sets of TV shows and movies, Suplee used to take full advantage of the free catering service. He would fill his pockets and go back to the trailer. He would then hit a drive-through and buy enough food to feed a small family. He would sit in his house alone and eat it all. He also dreaded traveling on airplanes because it meant that he had to ask the flight attendants for a seat belt extender. Moreover, he was also too self-conscious and hesitant to join his kids in the water. Everything was a struggle for him. From not being able to sit on a chair without testing its strength to standing in a line of people without having to brush certain parts of his stomach up against them.

An unsuccessful diet

When Suplee thought that he would be successful with a particular diet, he would follow it. But then, when he would not be successful, it would leave him feeling completely defeated. He thought about why he should follow a diet that is not the best. It was a really bad cycle for him.

Healthy Diet

Suplee was following a low carb, high-fat ketogenic diet when he came across a TED talk in the year 2018 and had a life-changing epiphany. It wasn’t so much what he ate as it was how much he ate. He, therefore, started tracking what he was putting in his body and introduced the carbs back into his diet. He started eating whatever he wanted, but in portions that suited his body.

The most important thing that he was doing was to make sure that he was not eating more calories in a day and to include foods that were nutritious in his diet. The diet included dark, leafy green vegetables and chicken or salmon that had a lower number of calories in comparison to a two-patty superstar. As he became more calorie-conscious, he started bingeing less and filling his stomach with healthier food options. After a few months, the calories stopped being calories and started becoming foods.

Suplee these days follows a high-protein, low-fat, moderate carbohydrate diet that includes rice, potatoes, and pasta, although he does not have more than 1 cup. This is not a diet, as per Suplee. He says that he is eating like any other normal person. Apart from these, Suplee also lifts weights six times a week for an hour a day. Sometimes he also does cardio, but that is only for 20 minutes at a time. As of now, he weighs 255 pounds and is in the stage of maintaining and has a clean bill of health.

Suplee’s entire family is reaping the benefits of weight loss.

The entire family of Suplee is reaping the benefits of Suplee’s weight loss-especially his wife. She is very happy. Suplee used to eat 400 calories a day and was also not a very pleasant person. But now he feels healthier and life feels so much better. He further added that he wanted to lose weight all the more because he wanted to spend more time with his family on this planet. These were huge motivating factors.

Things that motivated him to lose weight

Apart from the urge to spend more time on this planet with his wife and kids, other motivating factors included

  • The carried a washcloth or some paper towels in his pocket so that he could wipe his brows whenever needed.
  • He sways through his clothes even on cool days, almost immediately after putting them on.
  • He stepped into an elevator and held his breath because he did not want the other people in the elevator to know how hard he was breathing.
  • He slept at night with his feet hurting so badly that he feared he would not be able to walk the next day.
  • I was wondering whether every chair or bench could support my weight.

He does not have to do any of these things now that he has lost a lot of weight. He has blamed these nagging and uncomfortable problems on several things, including genetics, upbringing, in-and-out burgers, and himself. But what he blames these days is the very thing that always promised to help him lose weight in the long run but never actually did, and that is his complex history of dieting.

Confessions of Ethan Suplee

He started dieting when he was 5 years old. The other kids of his age went to sports camps, and he used to be in his grandparents’ home, where they limited his portion sizes and kept watching his habits as he had allowed himself to let go. He does not remember his weight at that time, but his chubby cheeks and affinity for TV were sure signs for his grandparents that he needed to diet. They did not have a structure to their approach or a scientific plan, but since they were his grandparents, he obeyed them despite the other voice that told him that he should listen to himself as what he believed was true. The kicker to all this was that if his parents noticed that he had achieved his weekly diet goals, they would treat him to a trip to drive through. Therefore, later, when he had a car of his own and some money, he rewarded himself daily because of nothing else but because he was alive. When he failed the diet, he felt that he had failed the diet and the diet did not fail him.

He thought that if he lost weight, that would fix everything. Whenever Suplee went on a diet, he would lose weight at first, but after a few days, he would give up. The low-carb diet was, however, different. As a dieter, it made sense to him, and blaming and avoiding a group of foods was easier to do than avoiding specific foods. Technically, he could still eat hot dogs and nacho cheese. At that time, his weight was one-fifth less than his original weight. However, he could not see the results that he was expecting. He struggled at the gym and was having trouble building muscles. Though he looked smaller, he never felt any stronger.

In the year 2018, he underwent a DEXA scan analysis. He found out that for every 10 pounds of weight loss that he lost, four pounds was lean muscle tissue. He wasn’t eating a lot of carbohydrates, but he was depriving his body of protein. He knew that he had to eat more protein, but that would put him out of ketosis and his body could only lose weight if he was following a keto diet and the only energy that his body required was ketones. He then finally admitted to himself that it was nothing more than madness. One day found a video on Youtube of TED that said that no human being had a carbohydrate allergy.

He was very annoyed and thought that this person would kill people. But though initially, he turned off his laptop, later he went back to watch round 2, despite watching and then round 3, and then round 4. It was then that he realized that the reason for his increase was not the type of food that he was eating but rather his amount of food intake. He started reading more anti-diet books as he could no longer blame the food for his increased weight. He started implementing a healthier diet. In the year 2018, he weighed 330 pounds. Within a few weeks, he started having a stable diet plan. He started this because there was no way he could blame GMOs, non-organic foods, sugar, red foods, carbs, white foods, dairy, or animal products.

At first, his weight log was:

  • Day 1: +3 lb.
  • Day 2: +3 lb.
  • Day 3: +3 lb.

He started gaining weight, so he readjusted the macronutrients to fit in with his new exercise plan and stayed calm and rational till his body started recalibrating within a week. After a lot of research and tracking, his final diet consisted of chicken and rice with vegetables, protein shakes, and water in between. But some carb approaches started working.

The weight loss was not dramatic like a crash diet, but once he found his stride he started losing two pounds every week. Within a few weeks, he felt better, looked better, and had a stable plan and he was expecting to have this plan for an entire lifetime. Though his brain would tell him that he wanted a large pizza he did not. But now he is close to what his body needs the entire day. At times he eats something just for entertainment. As of now, he is quite happy and healthy and he feels that he has full control over his diet.

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