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How did Jelly Roll lose weight? Star reflects on running a 5K and other lifestyle changes

“I couldn’t walk a mile when I started trying to do this back in January,” the country star said.
Jelly Roll.
Jelly Roll at the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, TX.Sebron Snyder/Penske Media / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Country star Jelly Roll looked prouder than ever to take on the red carpet at the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16, 2024, on the heels of his 70-pound weight loss.

The rapper along with fellow country musician Lainey Wilson took home the prize for music event of the year. The win follows another major victory for the musician, who recently completed the 2 Bears 5K race in Los Angeles on May 7.

Jelly Roll, who’s real name is Jason DeFord, shared that it was "really emotional" for him to cross the finish line because he "couldn't walk a mile" when he started training for the race in January. “So the fact that we got three point whatever it was done today, I feel really, really good about it. I left here feeling really motivated.”

Here's what Jelly Roll has shared about his recent weight loss.

How did Jelly Roll lose weight?

Training for a 5K race has been a big part of helping Jelly Roll lose weight. After finishing the 2 Bears race, he told Entertainment Tonight that he'd lost "50 to 70-something pounds. I got to double check again — it was a lot of weight."

Jelly Roll
Jelly Roll at the Netflix is a Joke Fest 2 Bears 5K at Rose Bowl Stadium on May 7 in Pasadena, California. London Entertainment / GC Images

After completing the 3.1-mile race, Jelly Roll said it was harder than he thought it would be. "I feel great, man. I'm a little tired," he said with a laugh. "A little bit harder than I thought it was, but it's awesome, man."

He added that the coolest part about the 5K was watching other people complete the race, some of whom set personal records.

"I think the coolest thing is how many people stopped to tell us that they were motivated by us, other big guys," he said. "It was just really cool to see — what an eclectic group of people. There was a man running in a bear suit."

In mid-April, while he was still training, he told People that he was "doing 2 to 3 miles a day, four to six days a week. I’m doing 20 to 30 minutes in the sauna, six minutes in a cold plunge every day. I’m eating healthy right now.”

"I’ve been really kicking a--, man," he added. "I’m probably down 70-something pounds."

“I feel really good,” he continued. “I was thinking, I plan on losing another 100, 100-and-something (pounds). If I feel this good down this weight, man, I can only imagine what I’m going to feel like by the time I go on tour.”

Jelly Roll's weight struggles

Jelly Roll has opened up in the past about living with obesity and addiction.

In a 2018 Instagram post, he shared that he once weighed over 500 pounds, calling the day he realized this "one of the most embarrassing" of his life.

"I’ve been obese since I was a small child . All I’ve ever known was being fat , and I’m f-----g miserable. I wanna sky dive , bungee jump, ride a bull, parasail , ride roller coasters, I want to LIVE a normal life and have a normal relationship with food. I fight addictions and alcoholism everyday," he wrote.

In the same post, he shared that in 2016 he lost 200 pounds but then began overeating again in 2018 and gained 60 back. At the time, he said he was recommitting to living a healthier lifestyle.

In February 2023, he posted on X that he was "working out daily… praying and meditating …. Eating better — losing weight. Making sure I bring the best version of me on my new album and this tour… this is what growth and gratitude look like in real time."

In January 2024, around the same time that Jelly Roll decided he was going to train for a 5K, he took a break from the internet due to comments about his weight.

"My husband got off the internet because he was so tired of being bullied about his f---- weight, and that makes me want to cry because he is the sweetest angel baby," his wife, Bunnie XO, said during an April episode of her "Dumb Blonde" podcast.

Bunnie XO has defended her husband's weight in the past. In January, she responded to a TikTok commenter who called her stepdaughter and her husband "massively overweight."

"For you to even come on my page and say something about my underage daughter’s body shows the type of human you are and I just hope you have the day that you deserve," she said in a TikTok.

Even though he recently hit a major health milestone with his 5K, Jelly Roll isn't stopping there.

"Next year, half marathon. We're saying it right now," he told ET. "I'm going to speak for them — we're gonna do the 2 Bears 5k again, but we're going to do a half-marathon before."