The 'Bob Hearts Abishola' star opened up to ET about his dramatic health journey.
Living healthy and loving it! Billy Gardell is opening up about his impressive weight loss as part of his transformative health journey.
The Bob Hearts Abishola star recently sat down with ET's Kevin Frazier and opened up about his incredible, life-changing efforts to shed pounds and change his mentality in order to keep healthy and stay as safe as possible during the pandemic.
"I’m fighting middleweight these days, I’m down to 212!" revealed Gardell, who weighed over 370 pounds nearly a decade ago. "[It's been] a long journey."
"At first I developed Type 2 diabetes, and then I went on a medication for that for about a year and start taking care of myself better," he recalled. "I lost about 30 pounds. But then COVID hit. and when they punched up all the markings that made you 'at risk,' I had all of them except 'over 65.' I had a full bingo card."
In an effort to change his life dramatically and not be quite at risk for COVID-19, Gardell "finally went and I had bariatric weight loss surgery last July."
"And then I just changed everything I did," he added. "I want to be clear -- [getting surgery] was a very personal choice. I’m not telling anybody to do it. For me, that’s what I needed to do, but it’s just a tool. The real battle is still in [the mind], because people get this big again."
"You have a small window to change the way you live, the way you eat, the way you exercise, and so far I've been able to do that," the 53-year-old actor explained. "I do it a day at a time and I'm just so, so very grateful that that happened for me. No more diabetes, no more bad blood numbers."
For Gardell, the mental aspect of getting healthy and staying healthy has been one of the hardest factors, and has required him to overcome a lot of environmental conditioning that began, like it has for so many, inadvertently in childhood.
"If you grew up like I did, you grow up in a house where it's like, 'We had a bad day, let's eat! We had a good day? Let's eat!' So I had to learn that food is fuel and it's not comfort and it's not celebration. And I work on that daily," Gardell explained. "If you don't have a problem with food, thank whatever god you pray to and be grateful you don't, because it is it's a serious addiction, just like anything else. But I find my way. I do my thing and in the morning and I try to stay between the lines and I'm grateful I get to."
According to Gardell, it's "the little victories" that excite him and bring him joy, like getting to "shop at a normal store" or "not having to take a deep breath when I tie my shoes."
"Things that heavy people understand! I've been freed from them. My body feels better, my joints feel better, and I'm trying to stay around and annoy my wife for another 20 years," Gardell shared.
In his CBS sitcom, Bob Hearts Abishola, Gardell stars as Bob Wheeler, who -- back in the show's first season -- is hospitalized with a minor heart attack. While undergoing care, he falls in love with his nurse, Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku).
Now in its fourth season, Gardell is thrilled to be a part of another successful sitcom with real heart behind it.
"It's such a gift. I thought my ticket was stamped after Mike & Molly. I had no idea I was gonna get another ride with another wonderful cast and a show that I think has a beautiful sentiment about it," Gardell marveled. "I’m always attracted to stuff where love conquers all, no matter what the situation is."
"To me. that’s the secret sauce and I’m really grateful to be working with the group I’m working with," he added.
Bob Hearts Abishola airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.