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The Face of Hollywood: Ryan Seacrest's Weight Loss Struggle

The American Idol host reveals how he went from a heavyset kid to a healthy success with his inspiring weight loss story.

Recently you chose to reveal that you were overweight growing up. Why?

I can’t remember how or why it came up, but it was a reality when I was growing up—I remember it vividly. Like going swimming and not taking off my shirt before jumping in the pool because I was a chubby kid, or going to shop for the first day of school and being in the husky jeans section at Marshall’s. I do remember that feeling of growing up and being a little bit overweight. I also remember at times being teased about it and because of that it’s still in my brain. I never want to feel that way again, and that motivates me to strive hard for balance without cutting anything that I truly enjoy, but while also knowing I can’t have it all the time. As a kid, I would go home—my mom didn’t always know I was doing this—and I’d sneak in and make a plate of nachos on a cookie sheet. I’d lay the cheese on top with some jalapenos and crank the oven up to broil, just to get the cheese brown. I did that on a regular basis. I definitely think that remembering how I felt back then drives me to stay fit as an adult.

When you decided to get fit, did that success carry over into other parts of your life?

I know it gave me a little bit of confidence where, maybe, I didn’t have it before. It gave me some satisfaction to put on a pair of pants and feel good in them. It felt great and allowed me to walk into a room and feel less self-conscious. So, yes, I’d say it allowed me to build some confi dence early on. I remember both feelings; I remember not having the confidence and then gaining it and going through that transformation. I haven’t forgotten about that.

What’s your best advice, based on everything you’ve been through?

I think balance is important for all of us, physically and emotionally. It’s tough, it’s not easy to do, but I do think we strive for balance in our lives. That’s balancing your career, balancing your diet, and balancing your family. That would be my advice, because it’s what I try to focus on—but even I don’t always achieve it. 

Are you noticing changes in how your body responds to exercise as you get older?

I don’t feel like I’m 37 years old, but then again I feel my body responding to certain exercises and going, “You are aging!” I went for many years without stretching. I’d run or I’d lift weights without stretching, and I’d be a little sore, but now I find my hips are tight, my lower back can get tight, my hip fl exors get tight, my IT band gets tight, so I carry around this little ball, and I’ll roll on this cylinder—it looks like a piece of pipe—to break up some of the scar tissue that comes with age and hard exercise. I had to add that into my routine.

What’s your key to staying focused and on track?

I try when I’m in a moment to give my all in that moment, whether I’m trying to push up a very small amount of weight on a bench press or working up to host a show. I try and “do what I’m doing,” if that’s an expression. I think that’s a good way to live your life. Do what you’re doing. 

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