actor Ethan Suplee was 24 years old in 2001 when he stood on a freight scale in a shipping center.
It was a humiliating detour for Suplee before checking into a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center. The facility needed his weight to accommodate, but they didn’t have scales for patients his size.
“I was deeply horrified,” said 44-year-old Suplee TODAY health.
At the time, the Boy Meets World alum was carrying roughly 536 pounds on its 6-foot-1 body and suffering from heart failure.
Despite the wake up call, Suplee estimates he gained an additional 14 pounds in rehab.
“I would eat and eat,” revealed Suplee. “It’s what I’ve always done.”
Today, the actor best known for his role as the moronic Randy Hickey on “My Name Is Earl” weighs 255 pounds and is cut to just 11% body fat.
But like Suplee on his “American wolverinePodcast, it wasn’t a linear journey to health.
It wasn’t until 2018 that everything clicked for Suplee, who shares four children with his wife Brandy Lewis. Then Suplee stumbled upon one TED Talk by Mike Isratel and realized that carbohydrates and gluten weren’t the problem. The problem was his relationship with food.
Suplee’s complicated relationship with food dates back to the age of 5 when his well-meaning grandparents put him on a restrictive eating plan.
“It came from a place of love and sorrow, but it had this terrible reverse effect when I said, ‘OK. I’ll just sneak food whenever I can. ‘And that became my habit, “recalled Suplee. “I would binge if no one was looking.”
On televisions and movie sets, Suplee would take advantage of the free catering, but only when the coast was clear.
“I would fill my pockets and go back to my trailer,” he said. “Then I would go through and buy enough food to support a small family and sit in my house alone and eat it.”
Suplee was scared of traveling on airplanes because it meant asking a flight attendant for a seat belt extender. He was too confident to go into the water with his kids.
“Everything was a struggle,” he said. “I couldn’t sit on a chair without first trying to test its strength conspicuously. I couldn’t stand in a row of people without certain parts of my stomach stroking against them. “
When Suplee succeeded in dieting – and he often did – the weight collapsed again and he felt defeated.
“I’ve always really believed that I found the diet, the best diet, and if I failed I would think, ‘Why should I try something that isn’t the best diet?'” He explained. “It was a bad cycle.”
Suplee followed a very low-carb, high-fat one ketogenic Diet when he landed on Isratel’s TED Talk in 2018 and had a life changing revelation. It wasn’t what he ate, it was how much he ate.
“I started tracking what I was putting into my body and putting carbohydrates back into my diet,” said Suplee. “I started to eat what I wanted, but in portions that were right for my body.”
Last year Suplee wrote an essay for Men health outlines his balanced approach.
“The main thing I had to do was make sure I wasn’t eating more calories than I was consuming each day. And guess what? Foods that were nutritious – dark, leafy vegetables, chicken, salmon – were usually also much lower in calories like, say, a two-patty superstar, “he shared. “As I became more calorie conscious, I started eating less and filling myself with healthier foods. After a few months, calories were no longer calories. They started to be food.”
Suplee is now following a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat plan that allows for rice, potatoes, and pasta – though it’s limited to one cup.
“I don’t want to call it a diet,” explained Suplee. “I just eat like a normal person.”
Suplee also lifts weights for an hour a day six times a week. Sometimes he does cardio, but only for 20 minutes at a time.
At 255 pounds he’s currently in Maintenance modewith a clean health certificate.
Suplee’s whole family benefits – especially his wife.
“She is very happy. You know, Brandy put me on very, very, extremely miserable diets where I ate around 400 calories a day and wasn’t that pleasant to be a person, ”he said TODAY. “I now have the energy to do things. Life is so much better. “
This story first appeared on HEUTE.com. More from TODAY: