Actor Ethan Suplee told Joe Rogan he struggles with mental health and body image issues even after his stunning weight loss. The 44-year-old movie and TV star weighed 550 pounds at his heaviest and now weighs 270 pounds. But during a conversation on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Suplee said, “I don’t look at myself and think, ‘God I look great.’ I see nothing but negative stuff every day.”
Suplee told Rogan it “is incredibly satisfying” to see photos from when he was younger and weighed more than 500 pounds, but, “the reality is I have mental illness.” Suplee said, “I try to convince myself, I try to find something I’m happy with. Usually, it’s my traps. I can look at my traps. There’s not a bunch of loose skin there, they’re not all scarred from surgeries. And I can look at my traps and go like, ‘OK, that looks good.’ And based on that, I can start to feel OK about myself.”
Rogan earlier told Suplee during the May 4 episode of the Spotify-distributed JRE podcast, “If I didn’t know who you are and I ran into you, I’d have no idea that you were the same guy. You’re a f***** completely different human. You went from this guy that looked like you were really in bad shape to a guy who looks like I would avoid in jiujitsu. I’d be like, ‘F*** that guy, let me get away from him. He’s too big. You look f***** great.”
Suplee responded, “This is the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten. All I want is to look like a big dude who is not just gigantic and fat. That’s all I want.” Suplee told Rogan he started his weight loss journey in 2002. He lost 80 pounds on a liquid diet after deciding, “I want to change my life.” His lowest weight has been 200 pounds and he now weighs 270.
“I spent most of my life feeling wrong. Like literally, that I was wrong or bad. Just super negative about myself. I still have to fight through that today. No matter what I’ve done. In 2012, I went and rode every stage of the Tour de France, just for fun. And I could do that on a bicycle. That’s not f***** easy. That’s thousands of miles on a bicycle in a very short period of time. I was much thinner than I am now and I was miserable,” Suplee told Rogan. “I was not happy. I didn’t like the way I looked. I still thought I was fat and I was 70 pounds lighter than I am now. … I think being aware of it, I can talk myself through it. It’s not like I’m hung up on it every day feeling like a piece of s***. But I do catch certain glimpses of myself and feel bad and feel negative.”
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Suplee Told Rogan ‘I Spent the Majority of My Life Trying to Be Invisible’
Suplee told Rogan, “I spent the majority of my life trying to be invisible. I wore shirts at the beach, which made me feel like I was covering it up. … It made me feel less present. I have terrible posture because I try to be smaller.” But then he decided he wanted to change:
For me, for the very first time in my life I was thinking about the future in terms of what I want out of life versus just what makes me happy right this second. And I was seeing a girl I’m now married to — we have a bunch of kids and I couldn’t have a better life. Twenty years ago if I described to you the life I wanted in that moment, I’ve way surpassed that. I have to take a step back sometimes … At 500 pounds, I was not thinking I could be a dad, I could be a husband, I could teach little kids how to do stuff, I could take my wife on a hike, I could go to the beach her and not sit in the back under a towel because I was scared of people looking at me, these were not the thoughts I was having. So that spark of motivation — what do I want out of life — got me just so far.
Rogan told Suplee about those who struggle with their wight, “It’s not their fault. You know what determinism is? There’s an argument of free will vs. determinism. I think there’s a really good argument for bma. The idea is, determinism is essentially based on the idea that you are a product of all of your life experiences. And the idea that you are responsible for everything you do at every step of the day, that’s not entirely plausible. Because there’s childhood trauma, there’s life experiences, there’s emotions, there’s genetics.”
Rogan added, “And those are different from my life experiences and everyone is different. And who you are right now. Someone said to me one day, ‘I could never do what you do.’ And I go, ‘You could if you were me.’ There’s nothing special about me. I am just who I am because of my life experiences and my genetics and things I’ve done. And you are who you are. … And to expect someone who has had bad input and bad emotional guidance and bad perceptions of their own physical health and their identity, to expect them to just get their s*** together, is ridiculous. It really is. But they can do it.”
Rogan said, “Your body is trying to trick you into sabotaging your progress that makes it so much more difficult than other addictions. You have to eat. You don’t have to gamble. We have to come to grips with the fact that human beings are so different from each other. We are so similar and yet so different. And so much of your life experience and your genetics and all these different things determine who you are currently.”
Rogan Told Suplee He Could Be an Inspiration for Others Trying to Lose Weight
Rogan praised Suplee for his efforts losing weight, “Some people can do it. You obviously did it. And that’s probably the best piece of … inspiration for anyone out there who is looking to get their life together physically, metabolically, healthy. … someone who was at rock bottom, who was 500 pounds and worked their way back to, like I said, a guy who I would avoid in jiujitsu class. … That’s what you did. And I think in that you can help so many f***** people. YOu are a gift in so many ways. What you have done is so extraordinary. It’s magnificent. It’s an amazing accomplishment. Not just because of your own personal health and what you’ve done and the way you look, which is an incredible achievement, but you are fuel, man. You are rocket fuel for all these other people. Because they look at you and go, ‘I can do that.'”
Suplee told Rogan, “I have to battle through everything that makes me, me still, but I can do that, and I can win. There was certainly a point where the momentum was such in the other direction that I failed time and time again.”
Rogan added, “You have an amazing position. Because what you have done is incredible, it took a long time, it took an amazing amount of work and it changed who you are as a human being. You are more confident, you have more energy, you are far healthier, you look amazing. You are a guy who could speak to it in a way that I can’t. For very fortunate reasons, my family ate healthy when I was young, I have good genetics and I worked out from the time I was a kid, I never stopped working out. So I’ve never had an issue like that. But f*** I could have if I was you.”
Rogan said, “It’s hard for people to recognize that. But I think overall, in general, we need to be more compassionate with one another. And one way is to recognize that you don’t exist the way you are because you just decided this is the way to be and it’s real clear and I’m going to f*** people over and I’m going to do this and this is who I am. Period, f*** off. No, you just become that person over a long period of time.”