Mark Wahlberg is making gainz — and what he had to eat in order to put on weight for a new acting role will definitely surprise you! The 49-year-old actor showed off a before-and-after pic of himself on Instagram, but unlike the traditional photos, his after shot shows him with an extra 20 pounds he gained on purpose for an upcoming role.
"From left photo 3 weeks ago to this, now," he wrote in the caption to the side-by-side pics, one showing him looking ripped and svetle and the other showing him with a cuddlier physique. "Thanks to @chef_lawrence_d cooking," he added, tagging his personal chef, Lawrence Duran, whose been busy making eight meals a day for Wahlberg while partnering with Spiceology, a spice and seasoning company to keep things tasty.
"And it looks just as hot in person baby," Wahlberg's wife, Rhea Durham commented on the post.
"Yo. You wear mad chubby well homie!" posted Mario Lopez.
"I think you look just as good on the left as you do on the right," quipped Dr. Oz.
The actor, who plans to gain a total of 30 pounds for his upcoming role in the movie, "Father Stu," is eating a 7,000 calorie a day diet consisting of at least a dozen eggs, big bowls of rice and protein shakes.
"We try to hit 7,000 calories a day, but it's not easy for anyone to take in that much food even though we're breaking it up into smaller meals," Duran told E! News. "He's eating about every three hours. We do good carbohydrates, dark green vegetables, and then, just switch up the protein throughout the day and, at least, a dozen eggs a day."
"Mark’s chef was using a weight gainer powder that’s dense in protein and complex carbohydrates," nutritionist Christina Meyer-Jax, RDN told TODAY Food. "Adding this powder to regular calorie foods will pump up overall intake. However, Mark was also eating high fat meats such as bacon, big servings of proteins, and large amounts of grains such as white rice." Meyer-Jax noted that abdominal weight gain, also known as visceral fat, in the long run is not a healthy weight gain for those looking to increase weight and that even normal-weight people with excess visceral fat have a notably higher risk of health problems.
The actor may be putting on pounds, but he's not loading up on junk food. Instead, he's eating foods such as ground meats and leafy vegetables at precise intervals and adding mass weight gainer to protein shakes.
According to Duran, Wahlberg eats meals of fish, veggies, olive oil and beets every three hours. And his idea of a dessert, although caloric, definitely does not sound decadent.
"And then the nightcap, right before he goes to bed, we'll do what we call a mash that consists of one cup of cooked steel-cut oatmeal, two tablespoons of applesauce, two tablespoons of jelly or jam, two tablespoons of almond butter and a tablespoon of molasses," said Duran. "He has to take that down right before he goes to bed. It's just another mass gainer to put on weight during his sleep."
Sadly for Wahlberg, he only gets to indulge in fun foods like cookies, pasta and pizza on a weekly "cheat meal," due to the fact that he's trying to gain so much weight so quickly, and in as healthy a way as possible.
Last month, Wahlberg told Jimmy Kimmel that he wanted to eat "a 20-piece chicken nugget, hot wings from Kentucky Fried Chicken with a six-pack of beer," in order to gain weight for the role of the actor-turned-fighter he'll portray.
Meyer-Jax said that when it comes to your health, you must always consider the quality of the calories you’re consuming. She said the best way to approach healthy weight gain is to follow a program that includes healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruits and veggies, and loads of lean protein sources. "Loading up on processed and fast foods will lead to weight gain, but also lead to systemic inflammation putting a person at risk for chronic disease," she said.
As for when he's ready to drop the weight, Duran said Wahlberg should be able to do it quickly.
"Within a few weeks you'll probably see a drastic change," he said. Bu the chef cautioned that this is not something everyone should undertake, and that Wahlberg has been training his body to do this for years. "Not everyone's body is the same and his meal plan may not work for you or I."
Meyer-Jax agreed that this diet definitely falls under the don't-try-this-at-home category.
"Mark Wahlberg was doing this drastic metabolic move for a professional role and was medically monitored throughout by doctors and nutritionists," she said. "This is not a healthy approach to weight gain — or weight loss — for most people. Each person can react differently to this drastic shift and it's hardly ever sustainable for long term health."