Fat Joe has fully embraced happiness after shedding 200 lbs.
The 52-year-old rapper, known for hits like “Lean Back,” spoke about his transformation and improved health in an interview with Men’s Health as part of the magazine’s “Hip Hop Health” series, coinciding with hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.
Fat Joe revealed that he reached a peak weight of 470 lbs. but managed to turn his life around by shedding a staggering 200 lbs.
Born Joseph Antonio Cartagena, Fat Joe experienced a period of deep depression following the untimely death of his close friend Big Pun, who suffered a heart attack in his 20s. It was at Big Pun’s funeral that Fat Joe had a realization about his own health and well-being.
“At his funeral, I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge. I saw myself,” Fat Joe recollected. “I looked at his young daughter, who was the same age as my own daughter, and I told myself, ‘You have to lose weight, or else you won’t be here.’”
Fat Joe described his mind during the depression period as “the most complex Rubik’s Cube you could ever, ever, ever, ever try to figure out.” He likened his mental state to a scene from “The Matrix Resurrections” where Keanu Reeves’ character, Neo, sits in a bathtub with a rubber duck on his head.
“To me, that’s what depression felt like,” Fat Joe explained. “When you’re battling yourself, no wall is high enough, no island remote enough to escape it because you’re fighting your own mind. Every time you wake up and think about it, your brain sends you a message saying, ‘You’re not meant to be happy,’ and you spiral back into depression.”
The artist emphasized the importance of moving forward and not dwelling on the losses he had experienced. He also made significant changes to his habits, which helped him overcome the depressive state.
“When you snap out of it, you should recognize the triggers and head in the opposite direction. The moment I start feeling unhappy, I gravitate towards happiness,” Fat Joe shared with the magazine.
While he has everything he could want at his own home, Fat Joe finds more joy in visiting his mother. Seeing her in the modest home he purchased for her brings a wide smile to his face.
Additionally, he takes pleasure in fulfilling his daughter’s desires, never having to say “no” to her. He also finds happiness in watching movies, such as “John Wick 4,” and keeping up with news from CNN. After being on the road extensively, he cherishes the comfort of sleeping in his own bed.
Fat Joe’s health journey began when he gained an understanding of the science behind cultivating good habits. He recognized that the body functions like a computer, processing and responding to the food one consumes in various ways.
He now regularly monitors his blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels every three months. Fat Joe acknowledges that even when one believes they are doing everything right, their numbers may not be ideal.
Consequently, he emphasizes the importance of exploring new approaches to maintaining control over one’s health, particularly as he embarks on this journey at an older age.
In his Men’s Health interview, Fat Joe shared a conversation he had with his driver, who expressed disappointment over his weight loss.
The driver conveyed that some individuals felt abandoned because Fat Joe had previously celebrated being a larger man. However, Fat Joe explained that his intentions were always rooted in his desire to live a long and healthy life.
“I really wanted to be here. I really wanted to work out. I really wanted to be healthy,” he clarified. While he recognizes the impact his body-positive stance had on many during his fame, he drew a parallel to Lizzo’s current message of embracing one’s body.
Fat Joe has no plans to change his stage name, despite his newfound health consciousness. He views the name as his brand, something he has built and established over time.
Although the moniker may no longer align with his physical transformation, Fat Joe remains proud of the journey he has embarked on and the positive impact it has had on his life.