2 years, 38 weeks, 5 days. 79.8 pounds.
It was an unassumingly foggy Friday morning. More specifically, Friday June 14, 2013. My brother, his friends, and I were driving to the Lincoln Center IMAX to catch the morning show of Man of Steel on opening day.
I was in between jobs that week.
As we were turning left on 74th St to park, a speeding cab slammed into us. We were fortunate enough to not have any major injuries.
The next day, I was cooking for the family for Father’s Day. The food turned out great (or so they said while politely declining seconds). My uncle, also my physician at the time, pulled me aside with a grave face.
I thought someone had died.
Turns out, it would’ve been me.
He received my blood test results from a few days before.
“Deep,” he started. “you need to make some major changes in your life. Otherwise, at this rate, you won’t make it to 40.”
I was speechless.
“Your cholesterol alone is enough to give an elephant a heart attack. But combined with your triglycerides and glucose levels?”
He kept talking, but my mind had already zoned out. I was in another world entirely. I kept nodding, but all I could think about was the fear I was feeling. The gripping anxiety.
I weighed in at 242 pounds.
That night, I cleaned out my fridge and restocked with only the bare essentials. I was forced to face my mortality like never before. It was fight or flight, and I chose to fight.
I cut carbs and upped my protein. My uncle gave me a handful of food suggestions, and he helped review my weekly food logs, but I was largely making it up as I went along. Ultimately, I had to do this myself, otherwise it wouldn’t stick. Nobody was telling me what to do. Also, you can’t tell me what to do.
In just a month, I had lost 10 pounds.
2 months, 20 pounds.
By October, I had lost 50 pounds.
By January of 2014, I donated all my clothes and had to restock my wardrobe.
This morning, I weighed in at 162.2 pounds.
It’s been a long and arduous journey over the last few years, for my health. Something I don’t talk about often, but I now think it’s silly to keep hidden, is that I have/had an auto-immune disease. Specifically, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (I say have/had, because it’s dormant right now, but any damage done is permanent.)
Having depleted thyroid function makes it significantly harder to stay healthy, even if I do take thyroid replacement hormone every morning (and will have to continue to do so for the rest of my life). I have to watch what I eat incredibly carefully.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come since that car accident, partly because Batman vs. Superman, the sequel to Man of Steel, is about to come out.
We, as society, tend to worship these perfectly chiseled bodies, and that’s not particularly healthy. It’s a line of thought that’s never been healthy for me. Even now, I’ll look at myself in the mirror one morning and still see that same 242 pound self.
How can I ever be happy with my body if I hold myself up to such impossible expectations?
So I accept my body and all its limitations.
I’m grateful for having gotten a second chance, and I remember it every single morning.
I hope that, by sharing this little story, I can show other people who are unhappy with their bodies after weight loss, or currently undergoing weight loss, or simply unhappy with their bodies in general, that you’re not alone. Post-weight-loss depression is especially common due to loose skin that gives the appearance of added fat and weight which isn’t really there anymore (and is exacerbated by the existence of expensive procedures that promise to cut away that loose skin and make you look perfect — procedures which most people, including myself, cannot afford).
And the unhappiness doesn’t really go away.
The trick I’ve found is to focus on being healthy. As long as you’re healthy, everything else will fall into place.
Thank you to my parents, my brother, my uncle, my cousin, and my friends, who all supported me and trusted me to take care of my health. If it weren’t for all of you, I’d probably be diabetic — and possibly dead — right now.