Gabriel Iglesias, the 39-year-old stand-up comic who's starred in such films as Magic Mike XXL and The Fluffy Movie and the upcoming reality series Fluffy Breaks Even on Fuse, took time to chat with BuzzFeed about his personal mission to lose weight — 118 pounds in two years — and stay healthy.
"It has nothing to do with the way I look," he tells BuzzFeed. "The amount of attention that I get as a big dude is amazing. I'm trying to improve my [health] so I can be around. I got no problems with how I look."
1. He was told by a doctor that he had two years to live.
As Gabriel reveals in The Fluffy Movie, he saw a doctor after "waking up every morning with a 300-plus sugar level." He was told he had two years to live: "That's the biggest wake-up call you can get. Your habit is hurting you. You need to check yourself. You still have a chance."
Gabriel, who has diabetes, talks about how the disease was destroying his body: "There was one point where the back of my legs were almost black from poor circulation... I was pushing 437 pounds so I had really swollen legs... The skin was cracking on the inside part of my legs. There were parts where I was bleeding."
"My vision started messing with me. And then my kidneys right now are still messed up from it."
2. He partners up with a friend to help keep tabs on each other's health habits.
Gabriel spoke about his friend Martin, a fellow stand-up comedian and travel companion, who's helped him maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"It's one of those things where we help each other out. ... We pushed each other. He doesn't get enough credit for that." [When we're on the road], our goal is to find a gym. We'll get ourselves to go to the gym together and once we're in there, we go off and do our own thing. Because everybody has their own way and their own level of working out. Martin is all about lifting. He's got that penitentiary body. I can't keep up with him. But he'll get me into the door. And once I'm inside the gym, I'm like, all right. I'm here. I'm not just gonna sit down. I'll go hit the treadmill, I'll go hit the elliptical, I'll go lift weights, I'll go do something."
3. His girlfriend was the one who first helped him develop a healthy lifestyle.
Gabriel said his girlfriend helped him to lose weight and start eating healthy:
"When I'm home, I'll take her out somewhere to go eat, and she'll pick apart my plate. She'll be like, 'You know what's in that?' And I'll be like, 'Fuck! I guess I'm not taking you out to eat tomorrow! I should eat by myself!' But she was one of the first people who said, 'You know what? You gotta check yourself. I don't want you to die. I want you to be around.' She was the first one who started helping me because I was making her big, too. The reason she started to get overweight was because of me. She was the first one that went and started working with a trainer. And that trainer would become the trainer that I work with now. But yeah, she was the first one who really pushed for this healthy lifestyle."
4. When he first started trying to lose weight, he cried.
Gabriel explains what it was like to finally embark on an exercise regimen: "I wanted to give up. Day one I was like, 'this hurts. I don't like this.' The first couple of days I didn't like it. There was a point when I cried. I was sad. But I told myself, 'If I don't do this, then I'm gonna be gone.' Everything was hurting. And it was frustrating. I'm not enjoying what I'm eating. I'm not enjoying this physical pain that I'm going through right now. I'm not enjoying the sweating. I'm not enjoying the soreness. I'm not enjoying any of this. So it was like, 'UUUUUUUGH!' You want to give up. Most people give up. People join the gym and a couple of weeks later, they're like, 'I can't take this pain. I'm out.'"
5. Because of his weight, Gabriel's body could not handle doing everyday cardio.
As a big man, Gabriel is cautious when trying to do any type of cardio: "With my weight, I can't hang. In the [promo for the show], you'll see me sprinting, but only for that day and that day only... It takes its toll on my knees."
Because of his knee issues, Gabriel took up DDP Yoga — a type of yoga developed by former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (that also helped spawn this viral video): "DDP Yoga worked out in the beginning because I was pushing 450, and so it's very low-impact. There's not a lot of hitting on the joints. Your own body weight is the workout. At 450, it was hard for me to go to the floor and then get back up without using a table, or a chair, or something. So when the workouts would start, I needed to put a chair next to me so I could grab it to get myself up."
"Eventually, I could go straight to the ground and then get right back up. Even right now, my knees hurt, but I could go down, do push-ups, and then get right back up."
6. Since Gabriel is out on the road constantly, he's found little "hacks" to make fast food more healthy.
As a stand-up comedian, Gabriel is constantly traveling from city to city. Because of this, healthy food options are limited. So he adapts fast food to fit into his healthy lifestyle: "If I go to Jack in the Box and I order a grilled chicken sandwich, I won't eat the bread. But I'll eat the grilled chicken itself. I could order four of those sandwiches, and as long as I don't eat the bread, that's four pieces of chicken that I can kill."
Gabriel loves Chipotle: "My favorite thing in the world is to eat Chipotle. I don't feel restricted when I eat one of those. I'll have triple chicken, with barbacoa on it, a little bit of sour cream and cheese. No carbs. No sugar. Take out the rice, take out the beans, don't put corn (the corn will mess you up, too), and I eat this every single chance I can."
While Gabriel is conscious of what he puts in his body, he still has the occasional cheat meal: "I like going to The Hat. They have the best grilled cheese sandwiches, with the sourdough bread, and they put like four pieces of cheese in it. So freakin' good. I also like The Hat's chili cheese fries with pastrami. So good, man! Both of those together with a Cherry Coke."
"I feel like an asshole when I'm done," he says.
7. He's cut down his drinking from four times a week to once or twice a month.
When it comes to the drunchies, Gabriel says, "I try to avoid them. But it's hard. I've woken up with wrappers. I've woken up with Taco Bell wrappers on me or I'll wake up and there's a burger on the floor and I'm like, 'How the hell does a burger wind up on the floor?'"
"I'll get drunk maybe once or twice a month. That's in comparison to the four times a week that I was doing."
8. He believes that weight loss is all about baby steps.
"The thing with weight loss is, you see stuff on TV and everything is 'LOSE WEIGHT NOW!' 'IN 90 DAYS!' The people you see working out in these commercials are already fit. They don't show you that really big guy doing these programs. A lot of people think, 'Oh, if I can't do it quick, then I don't want to do it.'"
"Don't expect to do it in a day. It's all baby steps. One. Day. At. A. Time."