How Ethan Suplee from ‘Remember the Titans’ Got Jacked

The "Motherless Brooklyn" actor shares how he achieved his phenomenal weight loss.

Actor Ethan Suplee has been on performing on the silver screen since 1994. You might recognize him from his major roles in American History XRemember the TitansBoy Meets World, My Name is Earl, and most recently, Motherless Brooklyn. If you do recognize his name, you might remember him looking like this:

Nowadays, you might not recognize him because he looks like this:

The Conversation That Started It All

According to his new podcast American Glutton, Suplee said that after getting sober in 2002, he had an encounter with actor Jim Caviezel on a flight to film Cold Mountain in Romania. Caviezel approached Suplee on the plane and began talking about how he tried to make his life emulate that of Jesus Christ.

“Basically the gist of [the conversation] was, I was not emulating Jesus Christ. It was the first conversation of that nature that I’d ever had with somebody. Nobody had ever talked to me like that. Nobody had ever said, ‘Look at yourself, you’re going to f*cking hell. You don’t care about yourself. You’re a mess.’ Basically. He wasn’t mean, but it was a thing I had not experienced.”

The conversation dramatically impacted Suplee. Upon landing, he thought to himself, 

[bolding by BarBend for emphasis]

“That was an awful experience. What am I going to do, fight Jim Caviezel? He didn’t call me a fatass. He didn’t say anything that I could challenge him to a fight over. But I was so knocked on my ass by this conversation that I was like, I don’t want to ever allow somebody to feel that they can talk to me that way again.

While in Romania, Suplee relapsed — he called it “a total meltdown.”

All of the Diets He Tried

During the film shoot, which lasted seven or eight months, Suplee had a full month off. During that time, he got sober and started a liquid diet that allowed him to drop “fifty or sixty pounds”.

“You can actually see it in Cold Mountain. There are scenes of me early on, then I lost a good amount of weight in the later scenes.”

Suplee went on to discuss his relationship with food through the lens of addiction.

“It’s so similar to drugs and alcohol and yet so different, because if you want to get sober, you stop drinking, you stop doing drugs, and you’re sober. You just stay away from them. You can’t do that with food.”

This led him to trying out multiple fad diets all the way up to current day, including a blood type diet, Fit for Life, South Beach, Zone, Atkins, and one diet that consisted entirely of pineapple. He also experimented with both keto and paleo diets.

Over that decade and a half period of dieting, Suplee dropped a staggering 310lbs from his heaviest weight of 530lbs to his lightest weight of 220lbs.

Finding the Right Approach

It was such a large transformation that it initially affected his career negatively.

“People were like, “We don’t know who you are. You’re not what we were enjoying before.” And then at some point I was like, well f*ck, I’m just going to get fat again because maybe it will be better for work. And honestly, it was.”

After yo-yoing up and down in his bodyweight, gaining and losing hundreds of pounds over the years, Suplee managed to change his relationship with food by viewing it as a tool for function rather than entertainment. He deemed this change “revolutionary” for him.

“Food is [not entertainment]. Food is an energy source. It’s like gasoline. I try very hard to, in this moment, think about food as an energy source. I think about how many calories I’m going to eat every day. I think about the macronutrients. How much protein am I getting? And then how much fat and carbs am I allowed after I’ve figured out my protein? It’s just a whole new way of thinking about food.”

Suplee is currently doing a low fat diet and hitting the gym with the goal of getting a six-pack.

“I’m not far off. Pretty f*cking close actually.”

He also says he’s close to deadlifting twice his bodyweight. The man isn’t just focusing on weight loss, he’s focusing on strength.

Sometimes, it only takes one very jarring and unexpected moment to change the course of your life for the better, even if it feels terrible in the moment. For Suplee, it was the conversation with  Jim Caviezel on an airplane. According to Suplee:

“He was probably coming from a place of love. I hold no ill-will against him. The f*cking conversation worked because I then went on a diet.”

And while his journey to his current physique certainly wasn’t a straight line, it’s brought him to a very impressive place. We look forward to hearing about that double bodyweight deadlift. 


Who is Ethan Suplee?

Ethan Suplee is an accomplished television and film actor. His filmography includes American History XRemember the TitansBoy Meets World, My Name is Earl, Deep Water Horizons, and most recently, Motherless Brooklyn.

How much weight did Ethan Suplee lose?

Suplee has lost over 300lbs according to Suplee’s podcast American Glutton. He mentions that his heaviest weight was 530lbs and his lightest weight was 220lbs.

Feature image via the Instagram pages of American Glutton Podcast and Ethan Suplee: @americangluttonpodcast and @ethansuplee