From 324 lbs to Skinny, When Weight Loss Is Not Enough

From 324 lbs to Skinny, When Weight Loss Is Not Enough

Nora Thompson, Cougart Editor

When Michael Accurso was 14 and a freshman he was in Beginning Theatre here at Sahuaro, he was funny, awkward, and a little weird but so was everyone else in the drama department. Accurso was instantly one of the best kids in the class, and was a natural on the stage. He said that he joined theatre because “I’ve always found myself as a funny person, so I just wanted to make other people laugh.”
After freshman year life became 100% theatre, he didn’t have time for friendships that didn’t exist outside of the stage. Sophomore year however, was more than just theatre for Accurso, it was the year he decided to begin losing weight.

“I was into this girl at the end of 2014… and I thought well I’m fat so maybe if I lose weight she’ll like me. It wasn’t for health reasons, it was definitely for aesthetics.”

January 5th of 2015 Accurso decided to make a drastic change “I said okay lets get serious. I weighed myself and I was 324 pounds.” He started counting calories, gave up soda, and used an app that allowed him to track the number of calories he ate every day. “The app recommended that i eat 2,000 calories a day and I changed it to 500 calories a day.” To put that in perspective, 500 calories is around a hamburger, small fries and a small diet coke at Mcdonalds.

In one year Michael lost 150 pounds, then he began to work on toning his body, gaining muscle mass and learning to accept himself. During this time the people that knew him saw a change in his character – he had slightly more confidence but he wasn’t happy, he joked about his weight and used self-depreciating humor more often.

Unfortunately Michael didn’t stop at healthy, he fell into a condition known as “body dysmorphia” which is where a person never sees their body as desirable. He continued to diet, cutting more and more calories out of his diet until his days would consist of one rice cake and two sticks of gum, which is technically classified as anorexia, a disease that is harming to a person’s psyche along with their body in a long-term stand point. Michael continued to talk about it casually and joke about his illness.

Now if this article were about a “Michaela Accurso” it would hit harder, because the reality is – we ignore eating disorders in males. As a society we are programmed to associate “anorexia” with a stick thin blonde looking sad in a black and white photograph. but the reality of the disease is that anyone regardless of gender, weight, or appearance can fall victim to an eating disorder.

For the most part Michael believes his image issues can be stunted with a surgery to remove the excess skin from his body. Such a monumental weightloss often leaves behind a plethora of skin made for a larger person to live in. “I’m living in a shell of my former self,” he says. This is the problem, “I feel like even though I put all that work in, I haven’t made any progress.”  In order to remove the skin he would need a costly surgery that insurance will not cover because it’s “cosmetic”.  There’s no way around it, Accurso would have to pay for the whole thing out of pocket, and for a high school senior with a part time job that’s no small feat. The average cost is $4,236.00.

Below is a Go Fund Me link, Michael would appreciate any help that he could get in the steps toward his surgery.

Michael and Nora during Spirit Week