If you were an avid fan of geeky comedy flicks back in the ’90s, there’s no way you won’t know Kevin Smith. Behind the laughs, throughout his life, Smith was dealing with painful struggles behind the scenes — including health issues related to his weight. From being shamed on a plane to nearly dying from a heart attack, Smith was forced to completely turn his life around. These days, he’s literally unrecognizable.
An Undisputed ’90s Film Icon
Kevin Smith didn’t only write and direct classic films such as Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. He also was a supporting actor in those films, portraying the hilariously iconic role of Silent Bob. This character’s name wasn’t for nothing: Silent Bob rarely ever spoke a word on screen. Instead, he communicated through a series of facial expressions, allowing his partner-in-crime Jay (played by actor Jason Mewes) to do all the talking instead.
Silent Bob’s silence was a part of his charm, as well as his iconic long black trench coat, backwards hat, goatee, and shoulder-length jet black hairstyle. But that’s not why people are looking at him today and dropping their jaws.
Struggling For Multiple Years
Although Kevin Smith found fame and success in Hollywood, there were other aspects of his life he wished he could change. No matter how hard he tried, he constantly struggled with his weight, finding himself unable to change his situation. So when Kevin Smith posted a handful of pictures of himself, illustrating to the world just how much weight he had lost, people felt like they were looking at a different person.
As we prepare to dive into the myriad of hardships that led to this massive transformation, we’ll see just how much he inspired people with his journey. But before we see what the new Kevin Smith looks like now, let’s find out what led to it in the first place.
Hiding His Weight
Kevin Smith was an overweight teen back in high school, and as a result, felt like he had to be the “funny guy”. He used comedy as a way to talk to girls, sharing his witty and humorous insights about the world around him. But he remained insecure about his body. When he’d go swimming with friends, he’d swim with his shirt on so people wouldn’t see his torso.
He also made a habit of wearing large hockey jerseys. Their shape, he said, helped conceal his weight. “I lived in hockey jerseys,” Smith divulged in an interview with Men’s Health fitness magazine. “Because hockey jerseys are like a fat guy’s muumuu. Looks really great. You can hide your weight under it.” But there were some occasions where his weight was a reality he couldn’t hide from.
Shamed On A Plane
One particularly hurtful incident in 2010 began when Kevin Smith boarded a Southwest Airlines plane. It was something he had done countless times before. Especially for his profession of making movies, he’d constantly finding himself flying from one set location to another. But this time would stand out for all the wrong reasons.
The flight attendants kicked him off the plane, humiliating him in front of everyone. Their reason was that “a customer seated adjacent would be very uncomfortable”, and that they might have a problem escaping in case of an emergency exit. Smith was so hurt and outraged that he complained about the incident online — and he knew something needed to change.
The Bathroom Incident
Getting shamed on the plane wasn’t the only time he felt affected socially by his weight. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Smith told a story about something that once happened in a bathroom: “I broke a toilet,” he said. “That’s how heavy I am.”
Smith jokingly continued, “I can’t take all the credit. That was an old toilet and a very waterlogged wall — but my size took that toilet down. I cannot cognitively reframe it and be like, ‘It wasn’t me, it was the toilet.’ It was definitely me. And that’s a wake-up call!” This too was a rough experience that made him realize how important getting healthy was to him. He began to take action.
Giving Dieting A Try
Before shocking the world with his new photos, Kevin Smith had been attempting to lose weight for two decades. As early as the late ’90s, he had been dieting with some success, even losing up to 50 pounds with the help of a program called Optifast. While filming the sequel for his debut film Clerks, 2005’s Clerks II, through Optifast he was able to lose around 25 pounds.
However, while these dieting attempts worked here and there, Smith still found himself reverting to the same old habits. By 2008, he weighed over 400 pounds. He was having difficulty finding a lifestyle that worked for him — and he had to go through Hell and back to find it.
An Unwelcome Greasy Surprise
Kevin Smith told Men’s Health magazine that the weirdest diet he had ever been on required him to ingest something called a “fat blocker”. Smith relayed, “I’ve been on a series of weight loss programs across my life. I took a fat blocker back in the day. It said it blocked 33% of your fat intake.”
This method did something rather difficult to his body. The “fat blocker” pill would turn 33% of the fat going into his body into greasy oil, that he’d be forced to “release” at some point, if you catch our drift. “So that was, like, the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever done to lose weight,” Smith said. Based on this story, one can’t be surprised that Smith might’ve gotten jaded by modern dieting. But in 2014, he finally found a glimmer of hope.
The First Sign Of Change
Losing all that weight was tremendously important to the filmmaker. So, even after a handful of failures, Kevin Smith kept trying everything he could. After watching a health documentary called Fed Up in 2014, he was inspired to cut sugar completely out of his diet. This helped enormously, and even managed to reduce his weight to 240 pounds.
It was a massive step in the right direction for him, and things seemed like they were about to pick up for the better. But right when it seemed like the tide was shifting at long last, there were other factors that surfaced and threatened to bring him down — literally.
A Major Life Scare
It was just a regular night, and yet it would ultimately change Kevin Smith’s life forever. The night was February 25th, 2018, and Smith was performing stand-up comedy at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California. Not long after he got off stage, he experienced a sharp heart attack. His left anterior descending artery was blocked.
After all those rocky attempts to get fit, this event was proof that his health was still in dire shape. Before he was even fully aware of what was going on, he was fighting for his own life. An ambulance rushed over and immediately transferred him to Glendale Adventist Medical Center, where he’d be treated for emergency surgery. His situation wasn’t looking good at all.
Fighting For His Survival
It was lucky that the ambulance took Smith to the hospital when it did, because he was in very dire shape when he got there. Smith claims that if he’d stayed at that comedy club any longer, he surely would’ve died. The doctors were able to save his life, and Smith was left staying in the hospital for days after the surgery.
However, this near-death experience, while undeniably terrifying, ended up being the catalyst that set his whole change of lifestyle into motion. And as he lay there in his hospital bed, the words that changed everything came from the most unexpected place.
Out Of The Mouths Of Babes
First, the doctor approached Smith in his hospital bed and explained that he would have to lose another 50 pounds. But it was Kevin Smith’s young actress daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, who uttered the magic words that would change everything. A vegan herself, she recommended that he join her and become a vegan as well.
Smith recalled of that pivotal moment, “Since I never wanted to see the inside of a hospital ever again, I simply copied the kid.” In his mind, this wasn’t an actual “diet” — rather, it was a new way of life. “I ate the way I wanted to for 47 years. So I told her, ‘I’ll do it your way for six months.’” But he never expected the aftermath of that decision.
Kevin Smith’s New Secret Weapon
After countless years of dieting and getting mixed results, he probably didn’t think anything monumental was about to happen. He wasn’t sure if he’d actually be able to lose all that weight — and yet this was different. He was operating around his new source of power: fear.
He later reflected that without fear, it can be easy to slack off and eat whatever you want. But after nearly losing his life, the fragility of life became a lot clearer to him, and his attitude underwent a massive shift. “This wasn’t a diet,” explained Smith. “These results came from a total lifestyle change of eating solely plant-based foods, which is tough because I hate vegetables.” Would he be able to keep it up?
So Kevin Smith threw himself into a completely new way of life, hoping that this would be the spark he’d been searching for. His new meal plan was based on studies conducted by scientist Ray Cronise, and it required him to eat only one plant-based food for the first two weeks.
Smith decided to go with potatoes, but he wasn’t allowed to eat them with salt or fat. Eventually, he’d be allowed to add other vegetables into the mix, as long as he stuck to potatoes for the first stage. What he didn’t expect was the way in which the results would show.
An Incredible Start
Nine days into the diet (or, rather, lifestyle), Smith had already lost a whopping 17 pounds. This was extremely encouraging, especially because many weight-loss programs rarely yield such strong results that quickly. He still had a long way to go, but those first nine days gave him the confidence to know that he was doing the right thing.
Smith now had his eyes on the prize. He began to feel more energetic every day, and more optimistic that this approach was the perfect one. But would the results be consistent through it all? Or would the good start just prove to be fluke?
An Unimaginable Transformation
Fast forward to eight months into the diet, and you can see with your own eyes that for Kevin Smith, this change was the real deal. Gone were the days of believing real weight loss was impossible. Instead, wondrous avenues of optimism and hope were presenting themselves to Smith.
He had managed to reduce his weight to 198 pounds, over 200 less than he’d weighed a decade previously. Smith spoke to Men’s Health magazine about his new life, and explained that it wasn’t just about the things he was eating. He was employing a few other fitness hacks that may surprise most people.
Intense Workouts Weren’t Necessary
When we dream about potentially getting into shape, we often believe that working out is a big part of that. But that doesn’t interest Kevin Smith. As he told Men’s Health: “An intense workout is something that I would never do. Because that would turn me off to the idea of health and exercise.”
So what does he do for exercise? Smith presented his interviewers with a tour of what he considers to be his home gym: the great outdoors. Every day, he takes his dog on an extended hike in the Hollywood Hills, often trekking through the popular Runyon Canyon. This is empowering — especially when you consider a particular obstacle he dealt with in high school.
Taking The Simple Approach
In his interview with Men’s Health magazine, Smith was asked whether he prefers doing pull-ups or chin-ups. His response? “In high school I could do neither. I remember hanging there in gym class trying to do one single pull-up, and it didn’t happen.” And yet, when we see him today after losing all that weight, Smith maintains that he still doesn’t do pull-ups or chin-ups.
In the same vein, he doesn’t particularly enjoy running. He comically quipped: “I think if I had to run at all, it would only be when chased.” Smith has found what works for him, and that’s keeping it calm and simple. So what does that mean for people who wish to follow in his footsteps?
Anyone Can Do It
Kevin Smith has a message to the average person out there — particularly the ones who have struggled with losing weight, and have felt helpless about it. He wants them to know that if he can do it, so can they: “I would never be featured in the pages of Men’s Health unless it was like an obituary, or before a picture or something.”
Contrast that with the hordes of picture-perfect Instagram influencers out there who post workout videos and tips. They may be helpful to certain people, but Smith is the guru for those who can’t relate to these performative macho types. But it’s more than just that.
It Was Easy For Him
The craziest thing about Kevin Smith’s transformation is that he claims it was easy for him to do, as well as to maintain positivity throughout. He happily told Men’s Health, “I did it with relative ease, it wasn’t hard. It wasn’t like me going, ‘I hate this life and everybody in it’. I was easy to be around and stuff.”
This is comforting for people who feel like every diet in the world is a major struggle, and that hardship is their main obstacle. Smith is here to say that not only is it possible, but that it can be done with happiness and ease. It wasn’t done alone: his fans actually had a large part to play in his transformation.
The Definition Of Supporters
One of the reasons Kevin Smith is so glad to tell the world his story is because they were a part of it. They were instrumental in helping him continue in those hard times: “Mostly, I wanna thank all of you for the kind and encouraging words along the way. Never underestimate the power of positive feedback.”
He continued to talk about how fans told him he looked “better or healthier” during the weight loss process, and that these kind words were actually the catalyst that helped him stick with it. But again, Smith wants to hammer home one particular fact.
Go With What Feels Right
When Men’s Health asked Smith whether he prefers cardio or weights, he said that he chooses “cardio over weights every time.” But why? Is it just because he cares more about losing weight than building muscle? Or is there something deeper going on?
It turns out that it has nothing to do with his overall goal. It’s more to do with the way he feels: “Weights feel like a workout, and I’m never trying for that. I don’t want to feel like I’ve worked out.” This is shocking to hear, considering most gym rats love the feeling of having worked out. With that said, it’s even more interesting to note that Smith has major plans for the future.
He Wants To Get Ripped
Even though Kevin Smith has maintained from the start that he doesn’t want to have intense workouts, he still wants to get ripped. “Anything’s possible at this point,” Smith reasoned, pointing to everything he’s managed to do up until now.
If he was able to lose all that weight with ease, what’s to stop him from retaining that simplified approach while taking it a step further? Nothing would surprise us at this point, and we can’t wait to see what he does in the future. We’ll just enjoy the ride in the meantime, as we look forward to the new and improved, slender Silent Bob.
This article was originally published on Collider: ‘Silent Bob’ Actor and Creator Kevin Smith Has Transformed And Looks Unrecognizable Now
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