Mark Wahlberg's Stu diet was not for the faint of heart.
In just three weeks, the actor gained 20 pounds—with plans to go "up another 20"—for his role in the film about a real-life boxer turned priest. And while Mark was initially looking forward to straying from his routine regimen, he later found himself eating his words.
"Unfortunately, I had to consume, for two weeks, 7,000 calories, and then for another two weeks, 11,000 calories," the Oscar-nominated star said on the July 15 episode of The Tonight Show. "And it was fun for about an hour. It's such a hard, physical thing to do. I mean, losing weight, you just kind of tough it out—you just don't eat, and exercise. And this, even when you're full, I would wake up after a meal and have another meal. I was eating every three hours. It was not fun."
Jimmy Fallon then asked Mark, who turned 50 last month, if it was harder to gain or lose weight as he gets older. And while The Departed alum said it "absolutely" is, he also knew he had only 30 days to film the movie. And considering he financed a lot of it himself, he knew he was "on a ticking clock on my own dime." As he put it, "You get things done pretty quickly when that's the case."
To reach his goals, Mark enlisted the help of personal chef, Lawrence Duran, who spoke to E! News exclusively about the extreme measures Mark took to bulk up.
According to Lawrence, who partnered with Spiceology, Mark had a mission to gain around 30 pounds and consumed about 7,000 calories a day—that's three times more than what the average American eats, if you were wondering.
What's more, those 7,000 calories come from relatively nutritious meals, all flavored by Spiceology, which are the "only spices" that he uses. As Lawrence explained, he's "definitely not loading him up on junk."
At the time E! News interviewed the chef back in May, Mark was halfway through the six-week journey. Afterwards, Mark immediately began to shed the fat, and he appears to be back to his pre-film physique.
To learn about the dozens of eggs, bowls of rice and roughly eight meals Mark chowed down on in a day, continue reading below!
E!: How do you approach this magnitude of weight gain?
LD: We meet with a team of doctors who do his bloodwork and a nutritionist who gives us a full breakdown of what his body needs, what his body's lacking and basically come up with a meal plan accordingly. We go to a specialist every two weeks to see where we're at and adjust things. We went from taking in about 2,000 calories a day, which is where he was in that first picture—all slim and ripped—eating maybe four meals a day, to eating eight meals a day at about 7,000 calories. We try to hit 7,000 calories a day, but it's not easy for anyone to take in that much food even though we're breaking it up into smaller meals. He's eating about every three hours. We do good carbohydrates, dark green vegetables, and then, just switch up the protein throughout the day and, at least, a dozen eggs a day.
E!: Can you take us through an entire day?
LD: So morning usually starts about 3 a.m. and his first breakfast is four eggs—that's the pre-breakfast. Then, he does his workout and then after the workout, which is usually around 5 to 6 o'clock in the morning, we do eight eggs, six strips of bacon, a cup of rice, two tablespoons of olive oil and a protein shake. It's his protein-inspired mass weight-gainer to help build on a little more muscle as well.
Then, three hours later, we do some kind of ground beef or ground turkey, whether it's been made into a hamburger patty or a meatloaf, with another cup of rice. And then, three hours later, I usually do half of a roasted chicken, another cup of rice, I'll do about a cup of cooked spinach and a cup of cooked beets as well.
Three hours after that, we'll go into either a veal chop or a pork chop—I'll do about eight ounces of that and then a small, four-ounce piece of salmon with another cup of rice, olive oil and beets as well.
And then we'll do another meal, which is usually eight ounces of some type of steak, eight ounces of some kind of white fish, like a sea bass or a halibut, and load up on tons of vegetables.
And then the nightcap, right before he goes to bed, we'll do what we call a mash that consists of one cup of cooked steel-cut oatmeal, two tablespoons of applesauce, two tablespoons of jelly or jam, two tablespoons of almond butter and a tablespoon of molasses. He has to take that down right before he goes to bed. It's just another mass gainer to put on weight during his sleep.
E!: Does he have cheat days?
LD: He usually does this six days out of the week, and then, he'll have a cheat meal one day, whether it be Saturday or Sunday, where he'll go to one of his favorite restaurants and he'll indulge and have pastas or pizzas or cookies. He's very regimented during the week, staying on top of everything and not veering off, just because it's so much weight in such a short period of time.
E!: How long do you think it will take him to lose the weight?
LD: It varies. For him, he can drop it pretty quick. Within a few weeks you'll probably see a drastic change. But he's been doing this his whole life, whereas for the average person, it may take months on end. Not everyone's body is the same and his meal plan may not work for you or I.
On April 8, Mark spoke to Jimmy Kimmel about his upcoming movie, in which he portrays a fighter-turned-actor. At the time, he said that he'd ideally gain the weight by eating "a 20-piece chicken nugget, hot wings from Kentucky Fried Chicken with a six-pack of beer," but, clearly, that's not what happened.
"They want me to do it as healthy as possible. I'm like, 'Dude, I've been on such a regimen for so long, I just want to eat everything in sight,'" he shared. "I want to go to bakeries, I want to go to Denny's, I want to get pancakes. I want to get everything that I could possibly get my hands on."
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
(This story was originally published May 5, 2021 at 1:43 p.m. PST).