In an all encompassing interview about his life, airing this Sunday on OWN, with media mogul Oprah Winfrey, the Reverend Al Sharpton discussed his substantial weight loss. The civil rights leader, who’s always been a fierce orator, decided to become just as passionate about his health as he was with his beliefs. After a max weight of 305 pounds left him feeling like a “prisoner in my own body,” Sharpton has since lost nearly 170 pounds.
The 135-pound Sharpton once coupled his larger than life sermons with an equally boisterous body. While his physique can now be best described as shockingly petite, he’s still a spitfire in the pulpit. His come-to-the-scale moment happened when he realized the contradictions involved in preaching self-control while he overate and lived a lethargic lifestyle. He told Oprah, “We can’t preach community control when we aren’t practicing self-control.”
So, how did the good reverend do it? Simple portion control and exercise. He swapped platefuls of fried chicken for whole grains and salads and exercises on a cardio bicycle everyday. “You live seven days a week, that means you should exercise seven days a week,” he told Oprah.
The man who once ate fried food multiple times a day now has the diet of a rabbit. Now a vegan, Sharpton has two pieces of whole wheat toast for breakfast, a salad and banana for lunch, and two slices of toast again for dinner. The vegan, sugar-free diet has actually been an easy transition for the good Reverend. “A vegetarian diet has a way of absorbing the stress and gives you greater endurance,” he said. “I just love greens and grains.”
Sharpton’s improved health and looks aren’t self-serving changes, they are his way of practicing what he preaches. “You can’t address our issues demand social justices when you are a prisoner in your own body,” he told Oprah. “How do you pastor when they are in the church cafeteria frying [food]?”
At age 59, the outspoken civil rights leader has a new lease on life and looks forward to promoting social change not only through his electrifying preaching, but also as a model of healthy lifestyle habits.
And don’t expect to catch Sharpton sneaking in a piece of fried chicken, papa don’t preach that. “I eat a lot of salad and fruits,” he said. “I feel like a new and improved me.” Amen to that.
Image via npr.com