Kumail Nanjiani: Getting ripped for The Eternals fueled a ‘strange relationship’ with food

Kumail Nanjiani’s physical transformation for Marvel’s The Eternals was a defining moment for the actor.

Nanjiani, 44, went viral in December 2019 after being criticized for her role in Marvel’s The Eternals, but it has forced her to come to terms with her “weird relationship” with food and food culture.

“For a brief moment it felt powerful. After that, it was all negative,” he said Mor. “Having that kind of reaction from people at first—I’ve never had that kind of reaction before, and I think part of me always wanted it—it was really powerful.”

But this “exciting” moment quickly changed.

“And after that very quickly felt reduced, felt naked, weak. And this led to the discussion of my body in the public sphere,” she added.

Nanjiani admits that people come up to her on the street and tell her there’s something about her body – something she has a “complicated relationship” with.

The “Welcome to the Chippendales” actor admitted that his main faith in comedy is dieting, because he was “taught” to be ashamed of his body from childhood and does not like jokes about his body.

“When I grew up, I believed that the flesh is evil, that all the desires of the flesh are evil, and that the spirit desires good and the flesh desires evil. So I think my whole sense of humor is based on that dichotomy as well,” Nanjiani said.

She added that growing up she was told not to overeat or waste food.

“I’ve always had a strange relationship with food. I always had guilt or regret. “I’ve always used food as a punishment or a reward,” she admitted.

Nanjiani didn’t think about fixing his relationship with food until he finished filming The Eternals, which brought these issues to the fore.

“Then I realized that I had been thinking about food in a certain way, which needs to be explored and rethought,” she said.

He also admitted that his role as Steve in The Chippendales, a strip club owner whose attitudes about body image differ from those of his employees, helped him get the job done.

Kumail Nanjiani in Welcome to the Chippendales.
Erin Simkin/Hulu

“I realized that I was very strict with food and used it in a lot of unhealthy ways, and then forcing myself to eat unhealthy amounts of junk food got me out of that trap.” , he said. “Still work to do, but I’ve been free for months to eat what I want, eat how I want. It freed me from some of the ways I thought about food.”

Nanjiani also began to realize the double standard women face when it comes to body issues.

“I think I understand 00001% of what women have been through their whole lives,” she admitted. “Of course, the big difference is that I’m not afraid to walk alone in a parking lot at night – you know, there’s no power difference.”

“I feel like sometimes women, men call them, or something feels like they own something that doesn’t belong to them. In some ways, men take power away from women. “I don’t have it,” he continued. “I don’t feel like there’s a power differential when someone makes a comment about my body in public. However, it’s still a big part of it when it comes to how you look.

Even if he wants Nanjia pictures of his dead body “It didn’t take up much space [his] Head space like,”He does not regret releasing them.

“They changed my life,” he admitted.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, you can get help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Hotline at (800) 931-2237 or visit nationaleatingdisorders.org.


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