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Chris Pratt: Paleo diet and CrossFit improved health, caused 80-lb weight loss

Chris Pratt's 80-pound weight loss due to Paleo style diet, P90X and CrossFit
Chris Pratt's 80-pound weight loss due to Paleo style diet, P90X and CrossFitChris Pratt Instagram

Chris Pratt looks and feels fantastic after losing 80 pounds with a low-carb Paleo style diet and CrossFit workouts. But beyond looking better, Pratt said his weight loss dramatically improved his health.

Before overhauling his diet and workout routine for "Guardians of the Galaxy," Pratt was obese and suffered from sleep apnea. "I would wake up in the middle of the night and I wasn't breathing," Chris told Esquire. "A little bit of sleep apnea. My neck was pushing down on my throat, so my sleep felt like it was panicked all night."

The 6-foot-2 Pratt said he didn't have a weight problem growing up, but got out of shape during his late twenties and early thirties due to a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and deliberate weight gain for various film roles.

In 2011, Pratt lost 30 pounds for the drama "Moneyball" and then, shortly afterward, regained 50 to 60 pounds for the comedy "Ten Year." "I went from 220 pounds that I cut down for 'Moneyball' to almost 270-280 pounds for 'Ten Year,' " he told Conan O'Brien in 2012. "I gained like 50 pounds to play this fat, alcoholic character. I would drink dark beer every night."

At some point in between, Pratt got ripped to play a Navy SEAL in the 2012 drama, "Zero Dark Thirty." After that film wrapped, Chris gained 60 pounds to play an obese lawyer in the comedy "Starbuck." His weight has fluctuated since then, and his health suffered as a result.

'I Just Drank and Smoked Weed'

Pratt said he was homeless during his early years in Hollywood and spent most of time drinking and smoking marijuana. "I just drank and smoked weed and worked minimal hours, 15to 20 hours per week, just enough to cover gas, food and fishing supplies," he said.

When producers approached Pratt for the part of Peter Quill in "Guardians of the Galaxy," he was reluctant to even consider the leading-man role because he was out of shape and thought he couldn't physically pull off the role of an action hero. Chris said he had been rejected when he auditioned for a part in the 2009 film "G.I. Joe" (Channing Tatum was eventually cast as the lead).

When 'Guardians of the Galaxy' was pitched to me, I said, 'I don't think so. I just didn't picture myself getting the role. I didn't want to go and embarrass myself like I did when I auditioned for 'G.I. Joe' a couple of years previously. I went in there, and halfway through I saw the director's eyes just glaze over. It made sense – I was a little heavy and out of shape."

But Chris decided to put himself on a strict beer-free, low carb Paleo-style diet for six months. Pratt said his diet was very low-carb, high-protein, and eliminated beer and processed foods. For exercise, he did a combination of CrossFit, Tony Horton's P90X workouts and triathlon training (running, swimming and cycling) and promptly lost 80 pounds.

Better Sleep and More Energy After 80-Pound Weight Loss

Beyond the dramatic weight loss, Pratt regained his health and feels like a new man, saying he sleeps better, is happier, and has more energy.

I can do 40-inch box jumps now, action-hero physical stuff. Jumping that high feels really good. You see a giant hillside, and you think, 'I wanna get up that.' You see a building, you think, 'I could climb that.' When you get in shape, the world around you becomes things you wanna jump on and climb up."

Pratt isn't the only celebrity who has transformed his body with the Paleo diet and CrossFit. Country superstar Tim McGraw attributed his incredible 40-pound weight loss to CrossFit and Paleo. Similarly, Joe Manganiello maintains his rippling physique with CrossFit and Paleo.

Actress Megan Fox said she lost all her baby weight on a strict low carb, alcohol-free, dairy-free Paleo-inspired diet, and Kristin Cavallari credited the Paleo diet for her 20-pound weight loss just three months after giving birth to her second child.