Reverend Al Sharpton went through drastic weight loss over the past years.
Al Sharpton, real name Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr., is an American civil rights activist, Baptist Minister, talk show host, and politician. He weighed over 300 pounds decades ago, but this determination and self-discipline proved that nothing is impossible if you want to lose weight.
The weight loss journey of the MSNBC’s PoliticsNation host is full of ups and downs, but quitting was not an option for him. Over the past years, he has gone through a series of body transformations – from 305 pounds down to 129 pounds.
He once described himself as a “fried chicken junkie” and a potential “walking heart attack” due to his weight. But, gone are those days as the Reverend decided to live a healthy lifestyle. In a past interview with New York Daily News, he said: “I’m never going to be fat — never again.”
Al Sharpton started to lose weight in 2009. He began exercising regularly and cut out meat from his diet. In 2001, he lost 30 pounds after being imprisoned for protesting. However, he wasn’t able to maintain that, and he realized that he needed to exercise more and have a better diet to slim down.
What did Reverend Al Sharpton do to lose weight?
In order to meet his end goal, Al Sharpton followed a strict fitness plan. In a Q&A interview with GQ in June 2019, he shared his specific diet and workout regimen that helped him lose weight over the past years. His exercise routine begins at 4 AM every day.
“I have to stay at a hotel with a fitness room, and that also has seven-grain toast,” he revealed to the magazine.
The Reverend wakes up at 4 AM and goes to the gym at 5. He uses a stationary bicycle, elliptical, does pull-ups, and lifts weights for his workout. But, before he hits the gym, he eats a banana first, around 4:15 AM, along with protein powder and green juice from Juice Press.
Al Sharpton does not drink coffee in the morning, as well. Instead, he enjoys a hot cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea packets of stevia. In addition, he prefers eating his breakfast standing up while watching the morning news on MSNBC.
He also avoids red meat and fried foods. Instead, he now favors fruits, vegetables, and fish. Between 11 AM and 12 noon, he eats salad and a slice of seven-grain toast. At 6 PM, he’ll have two more slices of seven-grain toast. He eats fish once a week and hasn’t eaten chicken for years.
“It’s always the same salad: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, two or three [hard-boiled] eggs cut in, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing,” Al Sharpton said. “My doctor said to me, ‘You’ve got to have some carbs, and you need protein,’ so he put me on whole-wheat toast.”
That one moment led Reverend Al Sharpton on his weight loss journey.
The Baptist Minister faced several controversies and criticisms over the decades. But, the real turning point for him was when his youngest daughter, Ashley Sharpton, asked him why he was fat. He recalled that moment in a past interview with People.
“Around 2006, my youngest daughter Ashley poked me in the stomach and said, ‘Dad, why are you so fat?’ That kind of hurt my feelings. I grew up in civil rights and politics, so I’m pretty thick-skinned, but when your daughter says it, I started being conscious.”
It happened over decades ago when his daughter was then 12 years old. This particular conversation has led Al Sharpton to lose weight. Even though there were a few setbacks along the way, he still managed to get back on track.
“I could take all the cartoons in the tabloid newspapers, but I couldn’t take my daughter punching me in the belly and asking why I was so fat,” Sharpton also told in a 2014 interview with the New York Daily News. “That was my inspiration to lose the weight. And probably the last time anyone hurt my feelings.”
The key to Reverend Al Sharpton's weight loss success is determination.
The Baptist Minister told People that he would get hungry during the first few weeks of his diet and workout regimen. He did everything to stay away from his cravings and stick to the normal weight range by the National Institute of Health’s BMI calculator. He said that the “key to it is determination.”
He added that he doesn’t miss the foods he has given up, especially his beloved fried chicken. Al Sharpton revealed he used to eat it during breakfast, dinner, and lunch. But after weeks of diet, he didn’t long for it. The Reverend admitted that he has plans on changing his new lifestyle.
“The best part is the energy and the focus,” he said. “I feel like I’m totally in charge of myself. And I’ve been able to get a very nice new wardrobe! I can wear a lot of stuff that I couldn’t wear before.”
Now, Reverend Al Sharpton shares inspirational morning messages on Instagram.
The Baptist Minister posts positive messages before and after his workout on his social media account. He explained the idea behind this, saying that it started when Jay Z did a song about trying to get himself together. The lyrics go: “Al Sharpton doing selfies, so who’s gonna help me?”
It prompted him to do messages with selfies before his workout in the morning, as he thought, “the selfies can help you—I’ll give you a message.” He also found out from his daughters that his selfies had gone viral, and he’s all over the internet.
Jay Z rapped that line and blew up again, and he thought he would turn the negative into a positive – which he does in politics and civil rights. He also thanked the rapper for giving him an idea, noting that he’s “going to turn that around.”
Al Sharpton also enjoys sharing selfies with his followers on social media. He said it makes a person feel good, especially being positively recognized. It helps him hook into the generation, and even though he’s in his 60s, he found a way to communicate with them.