The Reverend Al Sharpton used to weigh 305 pounds — no surprise, considering that the prominent reverend and activist used to incorporate fried chicken into all three meals of the day.
He added fried chicken to breakfast with grits and eggs, to lunch in a sandwich, and to dinner, when he’d eat half a chicken.
But about 15 years ago, his then 12-year-old daughter punched him in the belly and asked him why he was so fat, he recently told the New York Daily News.
And that was more than the minister could take.
“That was my inspiration to lose the weight. And probably the last time anyone hurt my feelings,” he told the News.
Now, while Sharpton’s political presence may be as large as ever, the man himself is more than half gone weightwise — this week 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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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