What It’s Like to Experience a 300 lb. Weight Loss & Adele’s Transformation | Ethan Suplee on Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson

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Key Takeaways

  • Ethan Suplee learned to “sneak” food after he was put on various diets as a child
  • By the time, he was 21 years old, Ethan’s weight skyrocketed to 536 lbs.
  • When you have 100+ pounds to lose, you’re looking at lifelong changes in eating habits
  • The liquid diet is best for losing a lot of weight- start with protein shakes and supplements
  • Don’t fall for the “evil food” narrative – avoid the good food/bad food ideology
  • Sometimes you need confidence first before you can take on the challenge of weight loss
  • People celebrate weight loss in men but when Adele dropped pounds, she was shamed for “caving” into stereotypical attitudes


Ethan Suplee (t:@EthanSuplee) is a film and television actor best known for his roles in Remember the Titans, Frankie in Boy Meets World, My Name Is Earl, and The Wolf of Wall Street and is the host of the podcast American Glutton.

Host: Chris Williamson (t:@ChrisWillx)

Ethan’s Fitness Journey

  • At age five, Ethan had chubby cheeks but wasn’t fat – his grandparents put him on a diet so he began sneaking food
  • By the time Ethan was ten years, he weighed 200 lbs. so his parents put him on a diet
  • Ethan got good at cheating on diets
  • Nutritionists said he was eating the wrong foods and put him on the “no-white diet” – no mayo, white cabbage, etc.
  • By the time, he was 21 years old, Ethan got into fast food and his weight skyrocketed to 536 lbs.
  • He gained even more weight after that

Ethan’s Weight “Secret

  • Ethan met a girl, who didn’t care about his weight but she liked hiking and going to the beach
  • He wanted to maintain the relationship BUT he knew he needed her help to lose weight
  • They’d never discussed his weight and now he had to bring up his secret: “Like she didn’t know, I was 500+ pounds. But I thought if we talk about it, she’ll never look at me in the same way” – Ethan Suplee
  • Ethan finally broke down and asked for her help and she got Ethan onto a liquid diet of protein shakes and supplements – he lost 80 lbs in two months and he never regained it
  • He says he has an addiction to various foods and alcohol – he has been to rehab several times

How did Acting Affect Ethan’s Weight?

  • Ethan got the role, Randy, in the TV series My Name is Earland gained weight
  • Then he started cycling and lost a “shit-load” of weight but wasn’t comfortable being thin
  • “I work better as a fat guy” so Ethan kept going to the gym but ate everything in sight and went back to 400 lbs.
  • He started lifting weights to build muscle and lifted until he couldn’t lift anymore
  • Ethan played two seasons on the Hulu series, Chance and got in great shape
  • He decided to lose weight but kept the “big guy” persona through muscle

What’s Ethan’s Current Diet

  • Ethan goes for a low fat, high protein, mod carb diet
  • He aims for a 3500-4000 calorie a day diet when he’s in a maintenance phase
  • In the deficit phase he goes for 2300 calories daily
  • When he’s working intense 14-15 hours a day, he does a maintenance diet
    • Otherwise you can get cold, light-headed, no energy
  • He brings his own food to the set to avoid pre-packaged catered foods
  • He tried a Keto diet but lost lean tissue, and felt he was losing strength
  • Keto is better for losing weight if you’re fit and want to lose a few lbs.

In Hindsight, What Would You Tell Your 21-Year-Old Self?

  • Don’t fall for the evil food narrative – before it wasn’t about me and my personal responsibility in a diet. It was evil food poisoning me. It took a while to shift my mind around” – Ethan Suplee
  • Ask yourself: What is my goal? How do I get there?
  • Calorie counting is an adjustment- it takes time

What is the Best Diet for Someone Trying to Lose 100+ Pounds?

  • The liquid diet is a good starting point for losing a lot of weight- start with protein shakes and supplements
    • It’s a radical method, but if you have 100 or more pounds to lose, you’re looking at lifelong changes in eating habits
  • “There are levels to all of this, but I’m a relativist, so if it works for you, then fucking keep doing it” –  Ethan Suplee

What Problems did You Have With Diets?

  • The belief system that went along with diets
    • E.g) Gluten is bad – get rid of it
  • If you have a reason not to have gluten, stay away but you don’t buy because others say so
  • Avoid the good/bad ideology: focus instead on energy balance -what’s going in or out

The Adele Controversy

  • People celebrate weight loss in men but when a famous woman like Adele drops pounds she’s shamed for “caving” to an idealized vision of the female physique
  • Ethan says: Adele is glowing, she’s proud of her accomplishment, be happy for her!
  • Sometimes you need confidence first – in his case his girlfriend believed in him– before you can take on the challenge of weight loss
  • There should be no fat-shaming or weight-loss shaming: if you feel good about your body, that’s what matters
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Notes By EWerbitsky

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