• Ross Mathews revealed to Instagram fans and followers that he’s lost more than 50 pounds in 2020 while overhauling his diet and lifestyle.
  • The 41-year-old E! correspondent and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge said the loss of his mother prompted him to kickstart a new “health journey” this year.
  • Ross says he hasn’t stuck to one diet or particular fitness routine, but has shared ways in which he’s revolutionized his health on Instagram over the year.

    Ross Mathews has earned a reputation for being brutally honest (and funny!) in his role as a television host, and so it comes as no surprise that he’s getting real about losing weight during the pandemic. The frequent E! Network correspondent is celebrating a milestone on a new health journey that he’s kicked off in 2020: Ross has lost 50 pounds after first deciding to take charge of his health.

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    On Instagram, the 41-year-old personality explained he’s now about 50 pounds slimmer from his heaviest weight ever, while 5 months into a brand new routine — one that was actually inspired by a personal tragedy. “Breaking the pattern. 50lbs down today from my height in early June when I decided to reclaim my health after my mom died,” Ross told fans in November.

    Ross has been sharing snippets on Instagram of his year in quarantine, mostly inside cozy homes while socially distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, while occasionally filming new projects (like 25 Words or Less!). But friends and fans first noticed his trim figure in playful snapshots: “You look happy and gorgeous,” Carnie Wilson, of the musical group Wilson Phillips, shared on Ross’ Insta shot of a vibrant new outfit.

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    This isn’t the first time that Ross has directly opened up about his weight, as he appeared on Celebrity Fit Club in 2007 after entertaining audiences as the “intern” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in the early 2000s.

    “I will always be a work in progress,” he continued on Instagram. “I may mess up again. I dunno. All I know is that I’m very grateful. And very happy. On we go…”

    In a revealing interview with NBC’s Today, Ross explained how he managed to optimize his diet and introduce more exercise into his routine — and how his drive for change stemmed from his mother’s passing earlier this year. Below, how Ross has tackled weight loss and exercise amid a year of many challenges, in his own words.

    On how losing his mother impacted his own health:

    On Instagram, Ross has shared more of his devastation following the death of his 69-year-old mother, Gaye, to breast cancer in May. “I can’t imagine a world without her. Will colors be less vibrant? Flavors dulled?” he quipped in an emotional public tribute. “She was my audience of one, my head cheerleader, my VIP. And now she’s gone, taken before any of us were ready.”

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    But Ross also said that it was his goal to tackle life with gusto, just as his mother had. “I hope — no, I know – that her spirit lives within me and I will spend the rest of my life trying to be as good as she was, as kind as she was, and authentic as she was. I am who I am because of how she loved me. We should all be so lucky.”

    Speaking with NBC’s Today, Ross admitted that his mother’s death prompted him to reevaluate his own health after the pain it caused. “My mom and I were so close, just beyond close, and all my life, I’ve lost weight and gained weight, done unhealthy things to my body,” he said. “And I decided, you know, this is the one thing I can control and what I can gain in this time when we’re losing so much… Because I think if you lose a parent, and you don’t pay attention, you’re missing out on a gift. And so I paid attention to what it means to have your health.”

    On making the most of time at home:

    “I feel like everyone during this COVID thing has been focused on what we’ve been losing,” Ross told Today. “You know, I’ve lost time from my family. I’ve lost time from my job. I’ve lost this and everyone feels like they’ve lost a year. And I just thought: How can I gain something during this time?”

    Ross adds that he couldn’t justify weight gain during the pandemic in his own life after losing his mother in May. “I refuse to do that. I want to come out of this in a better position than when I entered it. The reason? Because I can,” he said. “I have a choice. I have the power to choose that. Not to be totally a cheese-fest, but I think any other choice that I made would be disrespectful to what my mother’s death taught me.”

    On the first time he tried dieting — and his approach now:

    Believe it or not, Ross has had to face the loss of a parent to cancer before this year, back in 2004, when his father died due to the disease. It’s reportedly why Ross quit smoking cigarettes after college, and the loss first challenged him to think more about his own health — and the reason why he signed up for Celebrity Fit Club in the first place.

    “I was 230 pounds at the end of college. I got it down 16 pounds by making decisions like eating a bag of baked Lays as opposed to a bag of Cheetos. But I didn’t attack the real issue,” Ross told People magazine back in 2007, revealing why he began openly discussing his health. “My father had passed away. It made me take inventory of my life, to say, it’s now or never.”

    Believe it or not, Ross doesn’t credit any particular diet to his weight loss this year — he’s made holistic health choices across the board after taking time to learn about proper nutrition. It’s a shift in his diet that he plans to maintain forever, rather than a short-term diet. “I didn’t do a real diet,” he told Today. “I just started learning about food, talking to people, dabbling in this and that and then I started making my ‘Rosscipes’. I’ve done it just eating as healthy and health-fully as I can, while not feeling like I’m giving up anything.”

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    On what he calls his Rosscipes:

    Because he doesn’t follow any one particular diet, Ross is practicing moderation (a key component of intuitive eating!) and adapting some of his favorite recipes to be a bit lighter. “As I am learning how to eat healthy, I don’t want to give up what I love,” he said in a recipe video, shared on Instagram in September, as what he likes to call a ‘Rosscipe.’ “I met with a nutritionist when I decided it was time to get healthy… It’s the middle of a pandemic, and I’m grieving, as I’ve lost my mom. I said, ‘I’m not going to cut out alcohol, honey. Not going to happen.'”

    He’s gone on to share recipes for things like lighter chicken tacos, better-for-you lasagna, and bountiful taco salads on his profile, sharing some of the tips and tricks he’s incorporating into his life (all without cutting out entire food groups!).

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    On staying active:

    In 2007, after his appearance on Celebrity Fit Club, Ross made his opinions about fitness and gym routines quite clear: “Exercise sucks. It will never not [suck],” he told People magazine at the time. “The reason it feels good when you’re done, is that you’re done.”

    His feelings about the gym haven’t really changed since then, but one thing is for certain — Ross is staying active as possible these days to change his health. And it’s an activity that’s free(!) and doesn’t require you to head to the gym. “I just moved to New York City, so I’m walking tons, which helps,” he told Today. “There’s nothing scarier than the gym. I’d rather watch those awful Halloween movies over and over again. Yeah, the gym is not for me.”

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    On changing the way he snacks:

    “Snacking at night is my downfall,” Ross told Today. “I’ll be pretty good during the day, and then it’s like, a bag of Doritos at night, because I’m sorry, but when you’re watching 90 Day Fiancé, you gotta eat something!”

    He changed his snacking habits by adjusting meal times and reaching for items that were less of a drag on his diet. “It was about cutting out snacking — or, if I did, I would snack on like, a pickle or something. I was looking for the crunch,” he explained. “It was about replacing some things and really just knowing that if nothing changed, nothing changed. That if I didn’t make some changes, I would be stuck in the same unhealthy place that I was.”

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    On working with a therapist:

    For Ross, working on his health was much more than achieving a slim waistline — which is why he began therapy in 2020. “I promise you I will mess up along the way, but the thing that is different this time is that I talked to a therapist throughout this process,” he told Today. “I really wanted to understand why I could lose it but not maintain it, because losing is not the problem, gaining it is not the problem… maintaining is the problem.”

    Ross believes that the therapist has helped him make a more sustainable commitment to his health now than ever before. “I think you have to get down to the root of that and all weight-related issues are not really about the food, I don’t think. I think it’s about why you’re overeating? What are you pushing down by shoving food in?”

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