Prior to his unbelievable weight loss, the Reverend Al Sharpton used to weigh 305 pounds — hardly a shock, given the fact that the famous reverend and activist used to integrate fried chicken for all three meals of the day.
The rev. introduced fried chicken to breakfast with grits and eggs, lunch in a sandwich, and dinner when he’d intake half a chicken by himself.
Sharpton later had a remarkable weight loss, shedding as much as 167 pounds! So how exactly did he manage to do it? What was his inspiration? And, more significantly, what’s his diet? Let’s find out.
Al Sharpton Weight Loss – How Did the Reverend Lose 167 Pounds?
Al Sharpton before and after weight loss.
Source: Page Six
While the presence of Reverend Al Sharpton in the social justice community remains massive, his body is not.
Sharpton, 65, was 305 pounds at his peak, before dropping down to 138 pounds back in 2013. He has also given a special reason for his weight loss.
“I gave up meat, I started watching my diet, I work out,’’ Sharpton said. “I get up every morning and watch you Matt, and I say, ‘I want to look like that.’’’
“I bet there’s another motivation,’’ Lauer joked.
Sharpton started his weight loss in 2009, attending daily workouts and taking meat out of his diet. He had lost 30 pounds after a hunger strike in 2001 when he was imprisoned for opposing the U.S. government ‘s usage of Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island for bombing drills.
The reverend, however, couldn’t hold the weight off, so he figured he required more exercise and a healthier diet to slim down. He became a vegan, which he said helped him cut down to less than half the size from what he used to be.
The Reverend Works Out 5 a.m. Every Day – What’s His Diet?
During an interview with GQ, Sharpton discussed his no-days-off 5 a.m. exercise routine and his extremely regimented diet.
GQ: You got to 130 pounds without working out all that much. Why did exercise become the next frontier for you?
Rev. Al Sharpton: As you get older, you’ve got to strengthen your bones. That’s why the weightlifting is important, and why the elliptical is important. The more I did it—and I’ve been doing it every day, seven days a week—the more I found that it was a calming thing. You’ve got to remember, I run a national organization and a television show and a radio show every day. That’s with three different staffs. These are different personalities, different problems, and things you gotta deal with. You need time in the morning to just set yourself down. It’s my morning therapy, and it gets me in shape at the same time.
GQ: When did you start doing the workout routine?
Rev: Around a year-and-a-half ago. I get up wherever I am in the world at four in the morning because I like to go to the gym when I can be in there alone. People like to talk politics with me, but I want to use this as my time to meditate and deal with my stress, get that out of me while I workout.
Every morning, I either do 20 minutes on the elliptical and try to do 2.5 miles, or I’ll do two miles on the elliptical and two miles on the bicycle. Then I do weights. I do three sets of weights of 25 or 30 pounds, and rowing for three sets. And then the pull-ups. In my building on the Upper West Side, they have a gym, so I’m used to that one. When I’m on the road, scheduling always makes sure the hotel has a 24-hour gym. I won’t stay in a hotel unless they have a gym.
GQ: Have you always woken up at four in the morning?
Rev: I always was an early riser. As long as I can remember, I was up at 5, 5:30. But I get up at 4 now so I can be in the gym by 5. The first hour I like to read a bible scripture, look at some inspirational stuff.
GQ: On your diet: I read you wake up and eat toast every morning?
Rev: No, it’s changed. I eat a banana before I work out at about 4:15 am. I have the protein powder with that. Then I may have a salad anywhere between 11 and 12, and I’ll also have one slice of seven-grain toast. In the evening, around six o’clock, I have two more slices. The doctors said I have to have more carbs. So I have three slices of seven-grain toast a day in total. I have to stay at a hotel with a fitness room and that also has seven-grain toast.
The interview was condensed and simplified for clarification.
Sharpton’s Inspiration Behind Weight Loss was His Daughter
Around 21 years ago, Sharpton’s then 12-year-old daughter punched him in the abdomen and told him why he was so fat. And that was more than the minister could take.
“That was my inspiration to lose weight. And probably the last time anyone hurt my feelings,” he told the New York Daily News.
Now, while Sharpton’s political presence may be as large as ever, the man himself is more than half gone weightwise — he weighed in at 129.6 pounds, about one pound above being classified as underweight, according to the National Institutes of Health’s body mass index calculator.
So how does that happen? Is it some special diet, bariatric surgery, or even some sort of illness? Nope. He stopped eating and started exercising. But when we say “stopped eating,” we mean it.
His daily intake, as told to the News, is this:
Breakfast: Three slices of wheat toast (about 300 calories / 15g of protein) and a Doctor Earth green juice from Juice Press (180 calories / 2g of protein)
Lunch: A salad containing lettuce, tomato, onion, a chopped hard-boiled egg, and balsamic vinaigrette (about 240 calories / 6g of protein, depending on serving size) and a banana (about 100 calories and 1g of protein)
Dinner: Another green juice
With breakfast and lunch he drinks breakfast tea sweetened with stevia, which is basically calorie-free. Occasionally on the weekends he’ll have some grilled fish.
That’s it, according to his interview with the Daily News. And he only added the juice, banana, and toast because a doctor told him he wasn’t eating enough with just a lunchtime salad a day. He still doesn’t eat any solid food after 6 p.m.
That’s about 1,000 calories and 26 grams of protein a day, less than half the normal “recommended diet.” His workout is less intense, 20 minutes on the treadmill at 3 mph.
“Certainly compared to weighing 300 pounds, this is preferable,” David Seres of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center told the News. But he might be pretty vulnerable if he got sick, according to Seres. “His intake would make a nutrition expert nervous.”
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His meal plan may also seem a bit boring and not enough for most of us, to be sure, but Sharpton told the News that he isn’t bothered by it. “I’m conditioned now so that I never get hungry,” he said.
So is it healthy, or is it an eating disorder? A doctor might recommend such a low-calorie diet for extreme weight loss, but it’s likely overkill at this point — especially for someone teetering on the edge of being underweight.
Sharpton Talks About the Lessons He’s Learned As an Activist and Civil Rights Leader in His Book
In his book entitled “The Rejected Stone,” Sharpton talks of his physical transition and also the lessons he gained through his tenure as the leader in civil rights engaging in some of the most high-profile trials in the United States.
One such case was Tawana Brawley, an African-American teenager who, in 1987, wrongfully convicted six white men of raping her. Sharpton helped Brawley and in the event, he had strong public words for the attorney. A grand jury concluded in 1988 that Brawley was not the recipient of abuse or sexual harassment, and may have exaggerated her allegations.
“This book is not about cases, this book is about lessons, and I did talk about the lessons of Brawley,’’ Sharpton said. “What I dealt with is that even though I believed her and represented what I believed, you still don’t make it personal. I may believe you’re wrong, but to get into name-calling and to get into denigrating you I think is something that you’ve got to say, ‘Wait a minute, that is not going to help the cause.’’’
Sharpton said he recognizes he’s a polarizing leader, and his presence will, in any situation, cause intense responses from both sides, but sometimes that’s essential.
“I think some double-edged swords are needed because you’re going to be able to draw the kind of attention you need because you need someone that can go in that will make people say, ‘We need to pay attention to that,’’’ Sharpton said. “If someone doesn’t go in, the victim will not be heard at all.”
Sharpton also addresses his upbringing in the book, explaining how he was an outcast due to his precociousness as a Pentecostal preacher.