Kumail Nanjiani Discusses Struggles with Self-Image After Getting Muscular: "I Would See My Body Change in Front of My Eyes"

"It's something, honestly, I have issues with all the time"

Photo: Daniel Benavides

BY Alex HudsonPublished Aug 18, 2023

Kumail Nanjiani cause a big stir in 2019 when he got totally jacked for Eternals — but even though he successfully transformed his body, he has subsequently struggled with self-image and his relationship to food. Now, the comedian has shared his experience of body dysmorphia, saying that it felt like his body was changing in front of his eyes.

Appearing on fast food podcast Doughboys for a review of the spicy fried chicken chain Howlin' Rays, Nanjiani reminded hosts Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger, "The way you see yourself is not how other people see you."

He continued, "When I was really, really cut, I remember I would wake up in the morning, I would look in the mirror at myself shirtless, and for a second I would be like, 'Oh, I look great.' And I would see my body change in front of my eyes. I would see it physically change, and then I would only see the things that I didn't like about it. This happened every morning. I would look at myself, be like 'whoa,' then it would literally morph. … The definition would go away as I looked. I could see the filter that my brain was putting over my eyes, over myself. So I always try to be aware of that, but it's something, honestly, I have issues with all the time."

He added that, even after filming on Eternals had ended, he continued using a calorie-tracking app for years. "I tracked every single thing I ate and I put it into an app," he said. "If I ate a grape, I would put it into an app; if I ate an almond, I would put it into an app. For years. I only stopped doing that last year." He said that he weighed just 149 pounds the day that the photo of his muscles was taken.

He added that going out to eat with his wife, friends and family is his "favourite thing in the world to do," and that it has been a long process to fully enjoy that experience once again.

Hear the episode of Doughboys below.

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