A Johnson, a Jackson, and a Journey


To the dismay of some and the applause of others, prominent men are often willing to talk about their decision to resort to bariatric surgery. One example is EJ Johnson (son of basketball star Magic Johnson), who has been in the cast of the reality TV show, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. The latest news is that a much slimmer version of him will soon have his own series, EJ and the City.

It was on Rich Kids that Johnson announced his intention to lose some of his 360 pounds.
Speaking of his planned gastric sleeve procedure, Johnson told newsperson Carrie Dilluvio:

A lot of people think it’s the easy way out, but it’s not. It’s a step in the right direction, just a big push. I feel very mature, kind of in the right place for it and I’m very ready to look cute. The surgery is a huge deal for me and it will certainly be a positive change.

It has now been three years since the momentous decision. During the first post-op year, Johnson lost 180 pounds, and was inspired to show up during New York Fashion week in some very avant-garde outfits that featured his slimmer frame. When reporters asked what else he was doing besides surgery, he credited the Pilates physical fitness system for his ability to maintain the original weight loss.

The following year, when another reporter checked in to see how EJ was holding up, he was still doing Pilates four days a week with his own trainer. He described his eating routine as nibbling throughout the day, which makes sense in his particular case, because gastric sleeve patients should not, and cannot without bad consequences, eat regular-size meals.

Johnson told E! News:

Find a workout that’s something you love to do. For me it’s not even working out it’s just having fun. We dance a lot, we sweat and at the end of it I’m like, “Wow! I burned all these calories and I didn’t even know because we were just having a blast.”

For TV personality Randy Jackson, who was an American Idol judge for a dozen years, the magic number was 350 pounds. Coincidentally, that seems to be the red-alert benchmark for a lot of men. They get to up 350, 360, and start taking it seriously. Following a 1999 diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, Jackson modified his diet and his exercise habits, and four years later opted for gastric bypass surgery which led to a loss of more than 100 pounds.

When he started gaining weight back, Jackson spoke to the press of cultural influences:

I grew up in the South, where food and good times were king. For the old Dawg, a holiday party was a chance to have something to eat, drink, and be merry, but the new Randy does not drink or eat at parties.

None of it is easy, he hastens to add, describing the need to resist the snacking urge as “a constant battle.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “EJ Johnson Receives Weight Loss Surgery,” EOnline.com, 09/28/14
Source: “Rich Kids’ EJ Johnson Shows Off 180-Pound Weight Loss in a Sheer Shirt—See the Pic!,” EOnline.com, 9/14/15
Source: “RichKids Star EJ Johnson Reveals How He Maintains His 180-Pound Weight Loss, Shares Fitness & Diet Tips,” EOnline.com, 03/17/16
Source: “Randy Jackson,” Biography.com, 05/30/17
Source: “How Randy Jackson Lost 100 Pounds,” PKBaseline.com, 10/12/16
Photo credit: Michel Curi via Visualhunt/ CC BY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

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.

Food & Health Resources