Jeannie Mai is working on regaining weight and her strength after dealing with her “near life-threatening” throat condition.
In the weeks since she had to withdraw from Dancing with the Stars and undergo emergency surgery to deal with a “huge abscess that was growing” in her throat, Mai said she’s struggling with how she looks and feels. The Real co-host, 41, told PEOPLE that she had already lost 5 lbs. from her time on DWTS, and then dropped another 10 lbs. while she was recovering from her surgery.
Mai said on The Real Tuesday that she “worked so hard” to gain 20 lbs. and add muscle at the gym prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and between not being able to go to a gym and her health problems, she became “depressed” with how she feels.
“After I got sick – I laid on the couch for three weeks, did not have any solid foods… Guys, my mom saw me change and took a picture of my back without me knowing, and took a picture of my body, because … she thought there was something wrong, that I was depressed. And she sat me down and said, ‘What happened to you? You look so weak here,’ ” Mai told her co-hosts.
The TV host said she was shocked by how she looked in the photo.
“I hadn’t even realized that – not being able to go to the gym, not being able to eat – I had lost so much weight,” she said. “I got so depressed, you guys.”
Mai, getting emotional, said she was originally going to share that photo on the show but decided against it.
“I’m not proud of how I look, and how I feel,” she explained. “Not because of being skinny, but because of feeling weak and feeling unable to do something.”
Mai said that she’s going to start working out with her mom and doing fitness challenges with her friends to build up her muscles again.
“My mom is actually going to be out here walking around with me, because I slowly have to find ways to just build that weight gain,” she said.
And Mai encouraged their viewers to do the same.
“Find other like-minded people to do this with, because … this pandemic cannot get us down,” she said. “We have each other! And even if we’re from a distance, we can find ways to support each other through this.”
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