UB student loses 100 pounds, changes life


Derek Drocy has lost roughly 100 pounds since 2014 and it all began with a New Year’s resolution.

Drocy, a senior marketing major, said he never felt that big, but when he looked in the mirror he felt like “someone else.” He said one day he realized that he was the only one holding himself back and decided to stop making excuses and commit to losing weight.

“I was always big. I graduated high school at a little bit over 240 pounds and I got up to a little bit over 250 at my heaviest and I was just unhappy,” Drocy said.

Drocy said he was always insecure about his body prior to his weight loss.

“All my friends were always skinny and I was always the big kid in my group and I was uncomfortable with my weight,” Drocy said. “I would always be the one who would joke around about it because if I said it first then it wouldn’t bother me but if someone else said it first then it would.”

He said prior to his weight loss, he would go into stores like Urban Outfitters and H&M and couldn’t fit into the biggest items of clothing.

Drocy decided not to tell any of his family and friends that he was going to attempt lose weight and instead waited until they started to notice.

By Feb. 1, 2014, Drocy said he had already lost 20 pounds by eating healthier and cutting out processed foods. He said that he was so big that when he got on the scale, he couldn’t even tell he had lost weight.

He also struggled to find a balance between eating healthy and being a college student.

“I would eat pizza, wings and chicken fingers and all the stuff you could get huge platefuls of,” he said. “Then I started to learn to cook in my sophomore year and I didn’t have any meal plans [anymore] and I realized I could eat healthy while still being on a college budget.”

Drocy said he would try a new recipe every day. He started to do his own grocery shopping and fell in love with cooking.

After the first month, Drocy said he started to learn about cardio and fitness by reading magazines, blogs and articles online.

Drocy said it was intimidating for him to go to the gym at first because he would get a lot of stares from people.

“At first I couldn’t run on the treadmill and I would just walk and I would get a lot of weird looks from people and I just put my headphones in and didn’t pay attention,” Drocy said. “Once I got into a routine, I didn’t really notice it at all.”

Drocy participated in a 5K run in May 2014 with his girlfriend Erin Domagola. By then he had already lost 50 pounds. He trained three days a week for the run and started lifting regularly. He participated a 10K run shortly after in July 2014.

When Drocy’s friends and family started to notice his weight loss, he said he felt increasingly more motivated to keep going.

“I’m so proud of him for making these choices on his own,” Domagola said. “From a relationship standpoint his weight meant nothing to me whether he was 250 pounds or 150 pounds.”

Drocy said he eats a lot of protein, which he tries to get from plants and foods rather than shakes.

“I could just eat tons and tons of spinach, dandelion greens, kale, romaine lettuce, lots of beans, rice, chicken and the occasional red meat – which is kind of a treat that I really don’t eat too much,” Drocy said.

But Drocy’s weight loss journey did not come without setbacks.

At the beginning of the fall semester, Drocy was at his lowest-ever weight of 157 pounds. Drocy said he was “surprised” because he realized he weighed 100 pounds less, so he figured he could eat whatever he wanted to.

“I started eating a lot of steak and ice cream but I just didn’t feel healthy and noticed I didn’t have as much energy and whenever I would go to the gym, I just didn’t feel as good,” Drocy said.

This went on for about a month, until Drocy said he began to get a handle on his weight again.

Drocy said he feels like a “totally new person” and that people took him more seriously following his weight loss.

“When I first started losing weight, everyone sort of second-guessed me, but once everyone saw that I was actually losing weight they would come to me for help,” he said.

Domagola said losing weight was a confidence booster for Drocy. She said she notices that he is more comfortable with how he carries himself around others. She and Drocy also began participating in healthy activities together, such as running and bike riding.

Drocy has inspired Domagola to make healthier food decisions. She said he continues to teach her new things and helps her set goals to apply to her life.

“I definitely know that I was unhappy and I would never go back to living like that,” Drocy said. “When people ask, ‘What kind of diet are you on?’ – it’s like I just eat healthy and I intend to eat like this for the rest of my life,” Drocy said.

Drocy said the biggest takeaway from his journey is that “you can’t expect permanent results with a temporary fix.”

Ashley Inkumsah is a news desk editor and can be reached at ashley.inkumsah@ubspectrum.com.