Yet it appears the downtime from work is what ultimately helped the TV personality focus more attention on his health, having not only changed his diet but also his workout routines.
Mathews says he’s shed a whopping 50 pounds since the summer, and while it would have been easy for him to fall off his fitness journey — during which time he also lost his mother, Gaye, to breast cancer back in May — the 41-year-old seemed too determined not to keep going.
“I feel like everyone during this COVID thing has been focused on what we’ve been losing,” he told Today.
“You know, I’ve lost time from my family. I’ve lost time from my job. I’ve lost this and everyone feels like they’ve lost a year. And I just thought: How can I gain something during this time?”
After the passing of his mother, the RuPaul’s Drag Race judge said it was out of the question that he was going to gain weight during the pandemic, explaining that with all the devastating things that occurred in his life throughout the year, there needed to be some sort of positivity by the end of it all.
“I refuse to do that. I want to come out of this in a better position than when I entered it. The reason? Because I can,” he shared.
“I have a choice. I have the power to choose that. Not to be totally a cheese-fest, but I think any other choice that I made would be disrespectful to what my mother’s death taught me.”
Ross first started being considerate about his health after the passing of his father in 2004 led him to cut out a significant amount of junk food from his day-to-day meals.
It also prompted him to stop smoking cigarettes and working out regularly, having feared that if he wasn’t going to change his life and make better decisions as far as his diet and health was concerned, he was ultimately going to die.
“I was 230 pounds at the end of college. I got it down 16 pounds by making decisions like eating a bag of baked Lays as opposed to a bag of Cheetos. But I didn’t attack the real issue,” he told PEOPLE back in 2007.
“My father had passed away. It made me take inventory of my life, to say, it’s now or never.”
While many fans would want to know Mathews’ secret to drop 50 pounds in a year, the talk show host told Today that he didn’t have any particular secrets as to how he’s been able to make the drastic change.
Instead, he dedicated his time to learning about food and talking to people who’ve been in similar situations with their weight concerns. “I didn’t do a real diet,” he expressed. “I’ve done it just eating as healthy and health-fully as I can, while not feeling like I’m giving up anything.”