…a lesson “in reverse.”
In 1997, Sylvester Stallone starred in Cop Land.
It caused quite a stir as Sylvester Stallone gained a lot of weight — 40 pounds — for his Cop Land role as an out-of-shape cop.
No one would’ve guessed an action movie star known for his physique would go full method actor rather than just put on a fat suit.
Perhaps Stallone wanted to impress his co-star Robert De Niro, who got super-fit and then very fat for Raging Bull.
However, Stallone had a hell of a time becoming an overweight middle-aged cop. No matter how poorly or how much he ate, the weight wasn’t coming on.
The “problem” was Stallone was still self-identifying as Rocky-Rambo. So when friends or fans noticed his growing waistline he’d start explaining himself:
“This is just for a movie. I’ll lose it as soon as we wrap.”
However, his defence affected his ability to assume the character. His movement, his mannerisms. He was still, in a sense, a fit guy wearing a fat suit.
It wasn’t until Stallone learned to let go of his image that the character started to emerge.
The first step was to stop explaining away his condition. He let himself feel embarrassed and self-conscious, which made him feel more introverted.
It led to avoiding Hollywood hot-spots and, soon, going out altogether. He spent his time sitting around at home, alone, watching TV. And eating.
The result was perhaps the most lauded performance of Stallone’s career, but also a great lesson—at least in reverse—for getting in shape.
If you’re overweight and want to change, the first step is NOT to hop on a new diet and exercise plan.
Instead, be like a method actor. Start deeper with things that serve as your internal compass, and then work your way outward.
Like your values and goals. How would being in shape improve your life and make you a better person?
Then address your environment, habits, and schedule. The company you keep and how you spend your time.
All this is a roundabout way of saying body transformation must start with deciding who you really are before you lace up your sneakers.
Are you an out-of-shape and overweight person who just happens to be on a diet?
Or was that just a temporary role you’ve been playing and that movie has finally wrapped? And maybe it’s time for a new role where you go “all in” like a method actor.
Because maybe your next role is your role of a lifetime—the one you were born to play.
The one that represents the real “you” and the one where you get to write the ending.
Well, in that case: