"Mike and Molly" Star Shares Details of 150-Pound Weight Loss
"AT SOME POINT, LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND GO, 'YOU KNOW, IT'S PROBABLY TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOU.'"
Billy Gardell is embracing his body. In a new interview with ET, the funnyman shared he's dropped over 150 pounds in the last three years after electing to get bariatric surgery and cultivating a healthier relationship with food. Gardell said his weight loss journey has been a "real gift," but there are some things "about being skinny" he's struggling with. First and foremost, his new pants have less room in the ankles.
"I don't want to do yoga to get out of my pants," he joked. "That's where I miss my fat boy pants, because you could drop them and step out like a fireman."
Hear more about Gardell's weight loss journey below, including what milestone he's aiming to reach next.
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Gardell revealed how self-care impacts his weight.
In addition to undergoing bariatric weight loss surgery, Gardell has shifted his mindset around food. The Mike and Molly star, who weighed over 370 pounds during the show's peak, told ET he now "float[s] between 205 [pounds] and 210 [pounds]."
He explained that opting for bariatric surgery was to help reduce his risk of COVID complications, but "finally" investing in a self-care routine has also been a huge help in his weight loss journey. "I think you got to find peace with yourself and at some point, look in the mirror and go, 'You know, it's probably time to take care of you.' And I didn't get that note early on," Gardell said.
He shared two exciting health milestones.
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Since dropping over 150 pounds, Gardell said he's "walking around pretty healthy these days." His resting heart rate has gone from 113 to 68 and he recently learned that he's no longer living with Type 2 diabetes. Despite his progression, Gardell said he's still a victim of online bullying and that keyboard warriors are now accusing him of losing too much weight.
"Of course, there's always people online that, you know, when I was heavy, they were like 'You're too heavy!' And now it's like, 'Are you sick?'" Gardell told ET, exclaiming, "Can I just walk the earth, please?!"
His next big milestone? Quitting cigarettes. "I'm still smoking cigarettes," Gardell confessed. "But I'm working on that one. A buddy of mine told me, 'Knock them down in the order they're killing you.'"
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Gardell said his weight loss is for his son just as much as it is for him.
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The sitcom star is determined to see his weight loss journey through if it means he'll be around longer to see his son grow up. "When you hit 50, you start doing that dad math, like, 'If I can live 25 more years, and he'll be 40,' … You know what I mean? So I want to be here for him," Gardell said to the outlet. The actor shares a son with his wife Patty, who he's been married to for over 20 years.
"I've been an example in a lot of good ways for my child, but I feel like I wasn't a good example of health for him. And so I want him to see that. It doesn't matter what age you are, if you are willing to do something a day at a time, you can change anything," he added.
He said Bob Hearts Abishola has documented his weight loss in real time.
For Gardell, life does imitate art—to a degree at least. Since the premiere of Bob Hearts Abishola in 2019, Gardell and his fictional character have undergone major physical transformations. The series opens up with Gardell's character falling in love with a cardiac nurse (Folake Olowofoyeku) after he suffers a heart attack. In the episodes that follow, both Gardell and his character vow to get their health back on track. For Gardell, this was more than just a fictional storyline, it was his real life.
"That was one of the gifts of the show was to be able to, you know, talk to our producers and say, 'This is what I want to do' and they were incredibly supportive and they just gave little nods to it as it was happening," Gardell told ET.
He also praised his wardrobe and makeup team for helping him feel his best while his body adjusted to his new weight. "At one point we were taping my neck because my skin hadn't adjusted yet and stuff, so God bless them. They got me through it," he said. "They made me look good all the way through. And it was a nice progression to have the audience watch in real time."