When you think of Hugh Jackman, you think of the actor and musician most known for playing Wolverine in the X-Men films or as the man behind the voice of Tony the Tiger in the animated series, Tiger King.
Jackman has been a prominent member of the Hollywood community for decades, starring in iconic films like The Princess Bride, and more recently, House of Gucci and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In 2018, he achieved a rare feat by winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as real-life author, and cultural icon, William Shakespeare in the film, Darkest Hour.
While his career may be flourishing, Jackman has been facing a serious health battle for years. In an interview with Esquire in February 2019, Jackman revealed that he had lost over a stone in weight due to health problems. He attributed his weight loss to cutting out gluten, dairy, and processed sugar – three categories that contribute to most disordered eating. He explained that he needed to drop a stone to be able to fit into the X-Men outfit, and the part wouldn’t have felt right without it. Since then, the actor has been open about his health struggles. He spoke with Ryan Seacrest about his experience with disordered eating and the impact it has had on his life and career, revealing how he beat his eating disorder and how you can, too.
Here, we’ll discuss how Jackman lost the weight, what motivated him to fight this battle, and how you can start incorporating more natural foods into your diet to achieve better results.
The X-Men Role Inspired Him To Lose Weight
Although Jackman has been struggling with his weight for years, it was his role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise that inspired him to ditch the junk food and red wine and get back into shape. The character of Wolverine is usually associated with being larger than life, with his classic white beard, and his affinity for Adamantium – a fictional metal that can heal any injury and possesses near-superhuman strength. Jackman himself is a big man, standing at 6’5 and weighing in at around 18 stone (226 lbs), so he was born to play this part.
The actor has said that when he read the original script for X-Men, he realized he had to drop about 10 lbs to fit into his costume. So he did, and the results were life-changing. Not only did it help him shed off the weight rapidly, but it also increased his self-confidence, enabled him to be more comfortable in his own body, and gave him the impetus to keep going. He told Vogue, “After playing Wolverine, I knew what I had to do to stay alive.”
What’s more, the part of Wolverine wasn’t the only thing Jackman gained from the experience. He added, “It made me realize there are more positive things that come from losing weight. For example, when you are trying to achieve something, it can be easier to lose weight because you aren’t as distracted by whether or not you look good.”
Why Gluten, Dairy, And Processed Sugar Are Bad For Your Health
While it may be easy to gain weight, it’s not so simple to lose it. Jackman explained to Vogue that cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar can be difficult because we are so used to consuming these foods. He noted that when he eliminates any of these items from his diet, he feels worse off than when he was eating the junk food in the first place. This is because as we get older our bodies do not function as well as they used to, which makes it harder for us to process food the way we did when we were younger. This is where cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar comes in handy as it enables the body to function better, which in turn, helps you lose weight faster.
These items are heavily processed, which means that they contain additives and preservatives that make it easier for your body to break them down. It’s the same with sugar, which is why many people experience a surge in weight when they eat sweets. The problems associated with these three food groups extend beyond weight loss, however. Cutting out gluten and dairy can help alleviate many digestive issues, while processed sugar has been known to contribute to diabetes and heart disease.
How Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, And Sugar-Free Diets Work
To support his health crusade, Jackman launched a diet plan specifically designed for people with celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or a combination of the two. The program, which he calls the PURE Diet (pronounced ‘Pew’, not ‘Pyu’), aims to cut out all wheat, dairy, and sugar. It promotes the intake of healthy fats like coconut oil and MCT oil (sources of medium chain triglycerides), along with natural protein sources like eggs and chicken to provide the body with the essential amino acids it needs to function.
The PURE Diet plan doesn’t just eliminate the mentioned food groups. It also promotes the consumption of organic produce, along with vitamin-rich foods like carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli. These items all contribute to better health and a strong immune system, which are both necessary if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
The PURE Diet’s Impact On Weight Loss
The PURE Diet has been around for a while, and Jackman has been using it to shed off weight for years. However, this year has seen a surge in people following this type of diet, with Google searches for ‘pure diet’ rising by 73% in the month of April compared to the same time last year.
In an interview with Healthvibes, a blog covering nutrition and fitness, Elizabeth Lim, MS, RD, founder of the nutrition consultancy firm, Thrive Global, claimed that people are starting to see diets like the PURE Diet as a way to lose weight, not just to manage it. She noted that many people are finding their way to gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free diets because these foods appeal to all of the senses – sight, touch, taste, and smell – and are therefore easier to identify. The consultant went on to say that while these diets may help with short-term goals like cutting out specific foods or losing a few pounds, they are unlikely to provide the long-term results that people are looking for.
What’s more, these types of diets are not just restricted to helping people shed off extra weight. They have also been proven to treat a number of diseases and conditions, from diabetes and heart disease to arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, so if you’re serious about losing weight and seeking long-term health benefits, then these diets are a possibility to explore.
Natural Foods Instead Of Conventional Options
While there are plenty of conventional dietary options available to help you lose weight – such as a low-calorie diet or a ketogenic diet – what’s unique about the PURE Diet is that it replaces some of these foods with natural alternatives. When Jackman cut out gluten, dairy, and sugar, he replaced them with healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables, which are all necessary for normal functioning and weight loss.
Eating natural foods is not as dangerous as eating conventional options, as there are plenty of safe foods that you can incorporate into your diet. The key is in understanding what makes these foods good for you and how you can benefit from eating them. When it comes to vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats, you are assured of receiving the vitamins, minerals, and energy your body needs to function.
A 2018 study from the United Kingdom’s Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals revealed that patients who followed either a low-carb diet or a ketogenic diet, saw a higher rate of weight loss than those on a low-fat diet. The study authors believe that this is because choosing these diets enabled the participants to lose weight more easily by boosting their metabolic rates and reducing the amount of calories they consumed. What’s more, research shows that these diets can help to improve some of the conditions noted above, so if you’re serious about losing weight and seeking long-term health benefits, then these diets are a possibility to explore.
Sober Thinking Helps, Too
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll probably already be familiar with the well-established ‘celiac disease diet’, which calls for people to avoid gluten, dairy, and sugar. There’s also FitFluids, a low-carbohydrate diet developed by a team of American and European scientists in 2016, and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, developed by Dr. Frederick Joyce in the 1930s and updated in the 1950s. These are just a few of the diets available to help you shed off that extra weight.