Renowned American actress Kelly McGillis is widely recognized for her portrayal of Charlie in Tom Cruise’s film “Top Gun.” Throughout her career, she grappled with body acceptance issues and a distorted self-perception, exacerbated by the Hollywood pressure to maintain a slim physique. This personal struggle prompted Kelly McGillis to embark on a transformative journey, resulting in significant weight loss. Her remarkable body transformation garnered attention as she went from a size 16 to a size 4, shedding an impressive 100 pounds in just a few months. This article compiles comprehensive details about her weight loss journey, covering everything from her diet plan to her workout routine. Read on!

Who Is Kelly McGillis?


  • Born: July 9, 1957, in Newport Beach, California
  • Raised: Los Angeles, California
  • Education: The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Allan Hancock College


  • 1986: Shot to stardom as Charlie Blackwood in the iconic film “Top Gun” alongside Tom Cruise.
  • Acclaimed Performances: Prior to Top Gun, McGillis established herself in theater and independent films, earning praise for her roles in “Reuben, Reuben” and “Witness.”
  • Career Diversity: Throughout her career, McGillis has showcased her talent in various genres, including drama, thriller, and even Shakespearean adaptations.


  • Personal Life: In 2009, McGillis came out as a lesbian and has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Teaching: Transitioned into teaching acting at New York University and the North Carolina School of the Arts.
  • Activism: Passionate about animal welfare and environmental conservation.


  • Awards: Won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Witness” and received several Oscar nominations.
  • Fun Fact: Was once a dental assistant before pursuing acting full-time.
  • Legacy: Recognized as a talented and versatile actress who continues to inspire audiences with her powerful performances and strong spirit.


Kelly McGillis experienced a significant weight gain due to a combination of factors. After her role in Top Gun, she faced a decade-long decline in her career, potentially contributing to a lack of stringent appearance standards for roles. This career gap may have led to mental health challenges, including concerns about her body image. 

During this challenging period, Kelly battled a distorted perception of her body, leading to difficulties accepting her weight. The impacts of distorted body image include disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. In Kelly’s case, emotional or binge eating played a significant role in her weight gain. Research indicates that distorted body image can have severe consequences on physical and psychological health, affecting self-esteem, mood, and social functioning.

To cope with body image issues, individuals may develop eating disorders like binge eating disorder (BED). Kelly’s struggle with BED contributed to her gaining extra pounds, leading to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and chronic pain. Eventually, Kelly took charge of her health and underwent a notable weight loss transformation. Her journey captured the attention of fans, highlighting the secrets behind her successful weight loss.


At 66 years old, the American actress, renowned for her talent since the 1980s, currently maintains a weight of approximately 163 pounds, equivalent to 74 kilograms. While this might appear substantial, the actress has emphasized that her weight aligns harmoniously with her body mass index and is well-suited for her age.

Kelly McGillis attributes her weight gain to factors such as age and nature. Despite not embodying the glamorous screen queen image of her earlier years, she openly acknowledges the inevitable physical changes that come with advancing age. Rather than attempting to alter the natural course of things, Kelly embraces the authenticity that comes with the passage of time.


Kelly McGillis achieved her remarkable weight loss through a dual strategy involving a mindful diet and consistent exercise. She initiated her journey by creating a calorie deficit, consuming fewer calories than she burned.


Kelly McGillis achieved significant weight loss by maintaining a constant calorie deficit, a key factor in her transformation. Her approach centered on the principle that consuming fewer calories than those burned would lead to weight loss. Kelly reduced her daily caloric intake from 2000 to 1200 calories while burning about 500 calories through exercise. Research emphasizes the importance of a negative energy balance for fat loss and weight reduction.

In addition to calorie management, Kelly focused on a balanced diet comprising three meals rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Studies support high-protein diets for effective weight management and appetite control. Kelly also eliminated processed foods, known for contributing to weight gain, and prioritized hydration with water and green tea.

This combination of a calorie deficit, a nutritious diet, and the avoidance of processed foods played a crucial role in Kelly McGillis’ successful weight loss journey.


Kelly McGillis’ weight loss journey wasn’t solely reliant on a diet; it also incorporated a dedicated fitness routine. The American actress demonstrated commitment by working out five times a week, combining cardio exercises with strength training for optimal weight loss results. Research suggests that this blend of exercises, especially in a 12-week program, can offer significant benefits in terms of weight loss, improved cardio-respiratory fitness, and fat loss, particularly in overweight individuals.

Kelly’s weekly workout routine included a variety of activities such as jogging, cycling, running, and weightlifting. This diverse approach contributed to her overall weight loss. Studies also highlight that strength training can enhance lean body mass and metabolic rate, aiding in body toning.

In addition to high-intensity workouts, Kelly incorporated low-intensity exercises like walking or yoga at the beginning of her sessions for effective warm-up. Gradually increasing the duration and intensity through combination training further contributed to her success.

Beyond the physical aspect, Kelly stressed the importance of setting realistic body goals, diligently tracking progress, maintaining a positive mindset, and staying motivated throughout the journey. She recognized that weight loss could be time-consuming but reported feeling happier, more confident, and comfortable in her skin as she successfully dropped pounds through her balanced diet and workout routine.


Kelly McGillis underwent a remarkable transformation, shedding an impressive 100 pounds. Despite gaining extra weight during a challenging period in her acting career, she displayed resilience and successfully reclaimed her fitness over time.

You know about Kelly McGillis’s current appearance? Check out the before and after weight loss photos of the American actress below.


American actress Kelly McGillis faced weight and body image challenges throughout a decade of declining acting career, leading to weight gain. Determined to make a change, she embarked on a transformative journey by incorporating regular workouts with a healthy diet. The ultimate secret to Kelly McGillis’s successful weight loss lies in this powerful combination, helping her shed around 100 pounds and undergo a notable transformation from 263 pounds to 163 pounds. Her globally recognized weight loss journey serves as an inspiration for Dascha Polanco, Robin Quivers, and others.


  1. What illness does Kelly McGillis have?

 McGillis was diagnosed with alpha one antitrypsin disorder, which causes damage to the lungs and liver.

  1. Is Kelly McGillis LGBT?

Yes, McGillis came out as a lesbian in 2009

  1. Is Kelly McGillis an addict?

Yes, she gained 30 pounds and began to rely on alcohol – an addiction that would eventually lead to rehab.