By Cindy Pearlman | Big Picture News Inc.
LOS ANGELES — He remembers the humiliation.
As a kidgrowing up in Brooklyn, Jerry Ferrara would do the typical back-to-school shopping with his mother. “We always bypassed the regular sections and went right for the husky boy shop,” he says. “I would cry every time mom would say that we had to go shopping. It was hard to be that overweight kid.”
Ferrara’s weight issues persisted into adulthood and were even the fodder of comedy on the hit HBO series “Entourage,” where he played Turtle. “I got to that point where I didn’t like the way I looked or felt. I was really out of shape and decided to do something about it.”
The results can be seen in the new “Entourage” movie, out Wednesday, where his Turtle character is lean, happy and newly rich. You could say Turtle has shed his shell.
“We find Turtle living large and loving his life,” Ferrara previews. “Of all the guys, he has changed the most.”
The same can be said for the actor, who has never felt better.
A few years ago, he weighed around 203 pounds at five foot seven inches tall. He was about to turn 30, so it was the perfect time for a change.
Ferrara didn’t go for some juice fast or other extreme weight loss plan. Instead, he went to see a nutritionist and hired a personal trainer. “I didn’t do anything crazy to lose 50 pounds in a month. I knew those diets weren’t safe,” he said. “Basically, I took a hard look at what I was eating and it wasn’t good.Then I prepared for the long haul of getting healthy.”
He decided to make some changes. “My one rule was that I wasn’t going to eliminate food groups. I didn’t do the no carb thing,” he says. “Is that really a realistic way to live? Am I never going to have a carb again?’ No. But I did limit the carbs.”
“The biggest change for me is that I started eating healthy, clean foods and got rid of the hardcore junk foods in my life,” he says.
He also had to limit his love for pasta. “Instead of having it weekly, I have it once in a while,” he says. “The good news is that I don’t like sugar, so that wasn’t a problem. I also stopped looking at pizza as a meal and cut that out, except for now and then.”
His favorite breakfastswerea loaded burrito or a stack of pancakes. “You come to love oatmeal,” he says, laughing. “It’s really true. I like egg whites.
“But I will have what I want because if you deny yourself then you just crave it. So, I’ll have a little. Moderation is key. And you just don’t indulge in your bad habits every single day,” he says. “Just make sure that if you have something not so great, then you don’t have it againthe next day.”
He also got active and made sure that his love of basketball translated into playing several times a week for cardio. “If you love what you do then you will do it,” he says.
“You have to be active every single day even if you have to get up really early to do it. You might hate getting up early, but you’re always glad that you worked out.”
He brings that attitude to Turtle in the new “Entourage” film. “For so many years, people have been asking for the movie, so I’m excited,” he says. “You’d be surprised at how many people are obsessed about the inner workings of show business.”
Has his Turtle grown up? “He’s the last one who has evolved,” he says with a smile. “Remember the early days of Turtle when he tried to get girls to make out with him by promising to tell them where Vinny ate breakfast? Now, Turtle has grown up.
“He’s a man Turtle now.”