Though Jimmy Kimmel looks like he exists on salads, you may be surprised to learn that he loves pizza, pasta and steak just as much as the rest of us — maybe more. So how does he maintain his slim physique? According to an essay he wrote for Men's Journal, the late-night host and recent Oscars emcee has been ahead of a certain dieting trend for years: intermittent fasting.
"People call it the 5:2 diet, but I've been doing it since before it had a name," he writes. (What a trendsetter!) On Monday and Thursdays, he'll eat less than 500 calories, then for the rest of the week he'll gorge on his favorite junk foods.
And, yes, on the 500-calorie days Kimmel gets a little hangry.
"On fasting days I'm pretty unpleasant to be around. I mostly just drink coffee and eat pickles endlessly. For 'meals' I'll have some peanut butter and an apple or the whites of hard-boiled eggs or, if I'm really hungry, a bowl of oatmeal," he writes. "It sounds hard, but you get used to it and learn you can get through it."
Intermittent fasting encompasses a variety techniques, according to Men's Health, including methods like 5:2 (called whole-day fasting), alternate-day fasting (in which you restrict calories one day and let loose the next) and time-restricted feeding (wherein you fast for a certain period of time every day).
Not everyone is made for intermittent fasting, and you shouldn't try it without letting your doctor know first. And while there needs to be more research done to fully determine its long-term effects on our bodies, several studies have suggested that it can help to increase longevity, stave off stroke and heart disease and improve brain function.
The Old Jimmy
The 5:2 diet has helped Kimmel maintain his weight at 182 pounds, which — as you'll know if you're a long-time fan — is a relatively new look for him.
For most of his adult life, Kimmel didn't know how much he weighed. "I grew up skinny — my first driver's license had me listed at 6-foot-1 and 136 pounds — so for a long time I had it in my head that I was skinny," he explains. But living with an Italian mother who loved to cook and regularly indulging in all-you-can-eat buffets as a teenager led to rapid weight gain.
So when he finally bought a scale in 2010 — "because I'd read on a gadget website that it had Wi-Fi" — he was shocked to see that he was up to 208 pounds.
"When you see that number, it makes you look at yourself differently," he writes.
Kimmel decided then to turn his life around, but initially went a little too far in the other direction.
"I decided I was going to have two protein shakes and a very small dinner every day. I did that for eight weeks, then I switched to a strict 2,000-calorie-a-day diet," he writes, which led to a 25-pound weight loss.
Needless to say, crash dieting may lead to rapid weight loss in the beginning, but it is unsafe and unsustainable.
Exercise (or Lack Thereof)
Happily, Kimmel has found a diet that works for him. But it looks like he's still working up to exercise.
"The idea that you would not only exercise, but that you would enjoy it is very difficult for me to understand. I just hate it," he writes. "I've realized that you can work out, and that's great, but if you really want to lose weight, you have to eat less."
Sure, dieting may have a greater impact on weight loss than exercise, but Kimmel is missing out on lots of other life-changing benefits that come with working out. It can boost your mood, prevent chronic diseases, speed up your metabolism and increase your longevity.
But until he turns into a fitness fanatic like Gordon Ramsay, we'll just have to be happy he's found a sustainable way to manage his weight!
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever tried intermittent fasting, or are you interested in looking in to it? What made you first want to start eating healthy and exercising? Share in the comments section!