Interviews

Celebrity Transformation: From Fat to Fit

Rockmond Dunbar, star of The Mentalist and Sons of Anarchy, dropped nearly 60 pounds of fat to get a new lease on life, and his career.

rocmond dunbar muscle and fitness

Muscle & Fitness: Your transformation is pretty dramatic. I don’t think most people would recognize you. Your character in Sons of Anarchy was pretty big, heavyset cop. What motivated you?

Rockmond Dunbar: I think the turning point for me was one morning I woke up to my daughter crying. I went to change her diaper like I always do, and she looked at me with gratitude like ‘Oh thank goodness daddy is here.’  Then, I laid her down on the changing table and she looked at me again and something happened in me. You know what they say, ‘When a child is born, the father is too.’ That was my moment. She looked at me and it was like she was looking into my soul. She saw everything, the bad stuff, the good stuff, the struggles. She could see just all of those little things I wasn’t taking care of. My health. My body. I said to myself ‘I need to change. If I can’t do it for myself, let’s do it for Berkely.’ At that moment I wanted to get rid of all of the things that would not put me in a position where I am I healthy at 60, and I am still able to take care of my daughter in a strong way.

How did you lose the weight?

I stopped eating so fucking much. [Laughs] Now I’m eating to survive and to be healthy—not just because I like the food. I spent years eating the worst shit possible and in abundance, all over the world. Everywhere I traveled, just eat, eat, eat, eat. Now I realized that you have to burn more calories than you put into your body.

Right now I’m 190 pounds. In December of last year I was 247 pounds, the heaviest I have ever been. I was embarrassed to even say that. I was telling people all the time ‘ no dude I’m 220, I’m 215. I was so unhealthy. One day my wife looks at me and said ‘every time you eat something your stomach blows up, even the smallest portion of anything. I think you may have a gluten problem.’ I got off gluten for a week and lost seven pounds. It made me realize I need to pay attention to the foods that I was putting into my body, the processed foods, the breads, the wheat, the sugar, it was overkill and I needed to get rid of it. Then I had enough energy to go to the gym.

What kind of junk food would you gravitate towards?

I tried to stay off the McDonalds, but I would sneak it in from time to time. I had way too many Red Bulls—I wouldn’t even do sugar free—to the point that I had to go to the hospital to check my heart. My blood pressure was through the roof trying to keep the energy up, because my body is literally 60-70lbs over weight. I was carrying around too much; I couldn’t even get off the floor.

You can pinpoint the moment that this has started, can you pinpoint a moment during the transformation where you looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe what you looked like?

Yeah. It was about a month and a half ago. I woke up, I been working out, feeling good; I get up, go to the bathroom, I come back in, shirt’s off, and my wife’s looking at me like, “Whoa. Come here.” That’s all I need, bro! That’s all I needed was for my wife to give me that stamp of approval. I’ve heard my wife say, “Oh yeah, that guy has a nice body. This guy has a nice body.” I never heard her say, “Yeah, baby, you have a nice body.” And that felt so good. That felt so amazing. I’m still living off the high of that.

Do you think this will change the types of roles you’re offered?

I don’t know… Hollywood is fickle. You never know. There were roles that I was offered before and I was afraid to do them because I was so big. There was a time when I didn’t take my shirt off for about two years. I think the change will spark some interest. It could be less about my body and more about my attitude toward myself. I hope my change can inspire other people too who see how much I lost and say, “I’m looking forward to having a healthy body. Maybe I should get to the gym today.”

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