If you’ve seen the trailer for Melissa McCarthy’s latest comedy, The Boss, you couldn’t have helped noticing that the former Gilmore Girl star is a much trimmer version of her former self. In fact, she’s lost 45 pounds over the last twelve months, completely transforming her image in the process. Read on to discover how she went from a sixe 20 to a 14 in next to no time at all.
Getting in Movie Shape
It’s no secret that Melissa has struggled with her weight over the years. She’s been on the yo-yo dieting bandwagon too many times to remember. Each time she’s rebounded, it’s left her with more weight on her frame than when she started.
Back in 2013, the Mike and Molly actress lamented . . .
Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size six and I never had to give [my weight] a single thought. It’s something I’m always working on.
So, it’s quite ironic that her latest and most successful attempt was never intended to lose weight at all. In 2015 she landed a role in the movie Spy. The character had to be in shape, which led Melissa down the fitness path. To her utter surprise, she fell in love with working out.
After having previously shied away from weight training due to the fear of putting on unsightly muscle, Melissa discovered that weights were, in fact, the key to losing weight.
Signing up with a personal trainer, the comedienne began following a four day weights based full body training program designed to shape and firm every muscle of her body, while simultaneously, burning calories to strip off body fat.
Melissa was in the gym on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.Monday and Thursday were her compound strength training days, whileTuesday and Friday featured a weight machine based circuit program designed to shunt the blood around her body and promote maximum fat burn.
Let’s break her routines down . . .
Monday, Thursday Workouts
- Smith Machine Squats – Melissa’s trainer opted for the Smith Machine version of the squat exercise to take the pressure off her lower back and to provide a built-in safety mechanism. After a warm-up set of 20 reps with just the bar, shed put 20 pounds on either end and pump out three sets of 12.
- Farmer’s Walk – Grabbing a pair of moderate dumbbells, the actress would walk the length of the gym, taking large lunge type steps to emphasize her glutes and hamstrings.
- Dumbbell Bench Press – Using dumbbells rather than the traditional bar allowed Melissa to get a deep extension and full contraction on every repetition of this powerful upper body exerciser. She would pump out 3 sets of 12 reps on this move.
- Dumbbell Deadlift –The same weights would be used as on the previous exercise. The emphasis would be on correct technique and on getting a deep contraction in the lower back muscles.
- Inverted Pull Ups – Using the Smith Machine bar, which was set at hip height, allowed Melissa to get the benefit of pull ups even though she couldn’t yet perform a traditional pull up by herself. She did sets of 10 reps on this exercise.
Tuesday / Friday Workout
Circuit training day was an opportunity for Melissa to lighten the load a little and focus on getting aerobic effect from her workout. Exercises were done with no rest between them for one minute each. Weights were about 50% of her one repetition maximum. Here’s what the circuit looked like . . .
- Bench press
- Military press
- Triceps press-down
- High knee sprint
- Leg press
- Rowing machine
- Bicep curl
On the days she wasn’t in the gym, Melissa would do 30 minutes of cardio exercise. This ranged from walking the dog, to playing tennis or volleyball.
The ‘Boss Diet’
It was the results that Melissa began seeing from her workouts that spurred her on to get serious about her diet. She had learnt from bitter experience that restricted calorie dieting was nothing but an exercise in frustration. Whenever she’d tried it in the past, her weight would inevitably rebound and she’d end up worse than when she started.
When Melissa understood the body’s starvation response to restricted calories, she made the resolve to ditch the yo-yo dieting for good. To get in shape for her role in ‘The Boss’ she adopted a far smarter approach. In fact, she decided to follow the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean Diet encompasses a lifestyle of healthy choices. To tie all of the elements together, the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust created the Mediterranean Food Guide Pyramid. It is based on the dietary traditions found on the island of Crete, and southern Italy in the early 1960’s (at this time Cretans were found to be among the healthiest people on earth). Melissa was drawn to this diet after a trip to Italy, where she fell in love with the laid back lifestyle and easy, balanced eating style.
At the base of the Mediterranean food pyramid are foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and whole grains. These are the foods that can be eaten every day. The next level up is white meat, fish and seafood and eggs. Consume these several times a week. Cheese and yogurt are next, followed by meats and sweets at the very top of the pyramid indicating that they should be consumed sparingly.
The pyramid also recommends consuming the following on a daily basis:
- A glass of red wine
- 6-8 glasses of water
The pyramid places a priority on fun activities, time shared with family and friends and daily exercise. These activities underpin the base of the pyramid. This was very appealing to Melissa, who loves nothing better than to relax with a glass of wine over a seafood salad with the ones she loves.
Melissa has never been into counting calories. That’s another thing that drew her to this diet. Instead of counting calories, the Mediterranean Diet encourages you to think of the kinds of foods you eat and the portion sizes of those foods. The emphasis is on adding more low-calorie fruits and vegetables and decreasing the portion sizes of calorie dense foods such as meats and grains. When you do that the total daily caloric count will take care of itself.
Food craving have always been a big problem for Melissa. Yet, on the Mediterranean diet, they were never an issue. That’s because it has some built-in factors to keep the cravings at bay:
- Eating every three hours
- Eating protein-rich foods
- Eating high fibre fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes with every meal
Rather than another one of those yo-yo diets that have been so disastrous for her in the past, Melissa has adopted the Mediterranean diet as a lifestyle eating pattern. Doing so is allowing her to keep the weight off.
New Look, New Attitude
Dropping half a dozen dress sizes has given Melissa a new lease on her personal life and her career. She’s going from strength to strength, with big budget movies stacked up for some time to come. As a result of her new love of working out and the Mediterranean diet we can look forward to seeing less of her in future.