Ethan Suplee is a massive guy, but not in the way he used to be. The Remember The Titans actor weighed 550 pounds, but after changing his relationship with food, he dropped around 300 pounds and got abs. It’s a transformation that’s caught mainstream attention, culminating in Suplee appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast, hosted by comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
The two discussed how Suplee trains like a bodybuilder with his coach, IFBB pro Jared Feather, and his overall outlook on fitness and health. If you have not heard the interview yet, you can listen to select clips below. Full episodes of JRE are also available for free on Spotify.
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Know Your Values
Suplee has talked about his weight loss journey many times before but still finds it difficult to discuss. The actor shines a spotlight on the idea that not everyone who is overweight views it negatively despite societal pressures telling them that they should change. Suplee made it clear that he doesn’t care if someone is overweight as long as they’re happy: “If someone wants to be overweight, if that’s a trade-off they’re willing to make, that’s fine with me.”
Then, Suplee picks apart “diet culture” as essentially imposing a set of values that not everyone agrees with but may feel the need to conform to. Suplee was able to change his lifestyle and outlook on food (as fuel, not pleasure) to get really lean because it’s something he wanted. He didn’t overhaul his life to conform to society, and Suplee made it clear that his cyclical weight gain and loss weight resulted from that mentality.
At some point, there’s got to be the recognition that we don’t necessarily have to want the exact same stuff.
What changed for Suplee was visualizing the future he wanted but didn’t think he could have while weighing over 500 pounds. That future included being a husband and father and the physical activities such as hiking with his spouse and teaching his kids how to do things without tiring out.
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Undo the Bad Habits
Between all the different diets Suplee has tried — liquid, paleo, keto — none of them got to the crux of his issue with weight; the underlying distorted perception he had of himself. Although he didn’t specify it by name, Suplee admits that he has a “mental illness” that causes him to view his body negatively, even though he has lost hundreds of pounds and feels healthier than ever before. At his heaviest, Suplee wore shirts on the beach, thinking that it hid his size. Of course, that was all in his mind, but it helped him cope in the moment. He still struggles with those negative thoughts but has isolated how not to let them control his life.
Undoing the bad habits that I had that I would associate with allowing myself to get up to 550 pounds is really more important than anything I could say [about the ways to] lose weight.
A grounded, achievable-goal-based system and realizing that it’s okay to ask others for help is what ultimately got him on a path of success. To this day, he doesn’t view his goals as a means to an end but as a checkpoint to get to before moving the checkpoint to his next goal.
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The Infinite Mindset
Listening to this interview, one thing is for sure: Suplee views his future as an ongoing journey. He has the ability to set goals along the way and the drive to meet them. Gone are the days where a single result, such as getting down to a certain weight or achieving a certain physique, is the end of the journey. The results thus far have been a feature in Men’s Health, the start of his own podcast, American Glutton, and a happy personal life that has “way surpassed” anything he could have described two decades ago.
Feature image: @ethansuplee on Instagram