Motivation and Two Men

Corey Stoll

In discussing self-image, Childhood Obesity News has mentioned Corey Stoll, who has been remarkably frank about his struggles with weight. A morbidly obese child and 300-pound teenager, Stoll grew up to become well-known actor in “House of Cards,” “Law and Order,” and other highly recognizable TV shows. He uses the residual body dysmorphia as a tool of the trade that gives him a deeper understanding of the characters he portrays.

What turned him around, so many years ago, was a showcase where his teacher proposed that he play either the Hunchback of Notre Dame or the Elephant Man. While being a “character” actor is better than no acting career at all, he realized that it wasn’t the goal to aim for.

I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to only be playing Quasimodo for the rest of my life, so I better lose some weight.

Incidentally, many young people want the day they receive their high school diploma to also be the line of demarcation between fat kid and normal-weight college student. This is so common, it is surprising that entrepreneurially-minded therapists don’t focus on the demographic and specialize in treating this age group. Why not combine a fitness course with the tradition of taking a “gap year” between high school and college? It would be possible to create a physically intense travel itinerary that would turn overweight kids into not only more savvy and sophisticated young people, but fitter ones. It could be marketed as the ideal graduation present.

Stress Brings Back Weight

More recently, Stoll talked on Aisha Tyler’s podcast about how he was working 70 hours a week on a television series when half the cast was fired, and his stress level increased painfully. He put on about 35 pounds in a month and resorted to wearing Spanx, but still didn’t fit into the clothes the wardrobe department had tailored to his physique. This left him psychologically vulnerable and led to an unpleasant encounter with one of the show’s producers who basically told him to shape up or ship out. Stoll says,

This thing that I thought I had left in high school just recurred and there was no escaping it. I was in front of… millions of people. It was a sense of exposure of my deepest insecurities that was just crippling.

Motivated by the specter of unemployment, he started working out and ended the season in much fitter condition.

We have also mentioned Kimanzi Constable, the 332-pound fellow who took part in his brother’s wedding and was motivated by the resulting photos to lose weight. With a 1,200-calorie per day diet and four hours a day of exercise, a person couldn’t help shrinking, but there was much more to his story:

I lost 132 pounds in six months. Mission accomplished. Right?…Since I didn’t learn healthy habits I gained all that weight back plus 38 pounds that next year.

Then Constable’s best friend got married, resulting in another set of wedding photos featuring (this time) a 370-pound best man. He writes:

I worked so hard the first time—how could this happen again? On June 17 of 2013 I didn’t start my weight loss journey, I started the journey to create healthy habits that ultimately changed my life.

He lost 170 pounds in a year, and had much more success maintaining his weight at 200 pounds, rather than ballooning back up again. Healthy habits certainly had a lot to do with it, but this time there were also two special ingredients in the mix. He quit a job he hated, and fulfilled a dream of moving to the beautiful state of Hawaii. This story is but one more instance that proves the importance of getting to the root of problems, rather than only treating symptoms.

Of course, there are no guarantees. If a person has a basically bad attitude about work, changing employment won’t help. Also, many people delude themselves into thinking that the “geography cure” will solve their problems, but as the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Still, in combination with improved habits and therapeutic breakthroughs, a change of life circumstances can sometime make all the difference.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Corey Stoll enjoys wig and new series stardom ,”, 07/13/14
Source: “Girl on Guy # 152,”, 09/30/14
Source: “7 Healthy Habits That Helped Me Lose 170 Pounds in One Year,”, 09/14/14
Image by Gage Skidmore

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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