There’s been a lot of news this week about celebrities and their struggle with weight.
One of my favorite actresses, Candice Bergen has a new memoir out, and talks candidly about her weight gain: "Let me just come right out and say it: I am fat. In the past 15 years... I have put on 30 pounds," she adds. "I live to eat. I am a champion eater.”
I remember as far back as the age of 4 or 5. The pediatrician told my mom I needed to go on a diet, and that I would have “weight issues” for the rest of my life.
One of our country’s most amazing singers Kelly Clarkson has been critiqued about her post- baby physique. She told Ellen DeGeneres she’s been bullied about her weight since 2002 when she appeared on “American Idol.”
"I was the biggest girl in the show," she said. "And I wasn't big, but people would call me big. Because I was the biggest one on 'Idol,' I've kind of always gotten that." The singer said her weight has always fluctuated, and it always will.
I relate to these stories because I, too, have struggled with my weight my whole life.
I remember as far back as the age of 4 or 5. The pediatrician told my mom I needed to go on a diet, and that I would have “weight issues” for the rest of my life. I apparently had a “fat gene” or something they could test for.
I was so ashamed. All my clothes had to be bought from the “husky girls” section of the store. I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the changing room mirror, and often heard sales clerks commenting: “she has such a pretty face…it’s too bad she’s so heavy. If she lost weight, she’d be perfect.”
I had my first trip to Weight Watchers at 9 or 10. And it did work for awhile. The numbers on the scale were dropping. People told me I looked great! But that didn’t last. I was right back into my husky jeans in no time.
According to research, 97 percent of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within three years. The chances of keeping the pounds off for five or more years is 5 percent. The odds are against us.
It wasn’t until I was at the end of high school that I decided to really cut back my eating. I lost about 50 pounds. It wasn’t healthy, and I was probably on the verge of an eating disorder, but I felt better about myself and the mean looks and whispers were subsiding. I even tried some modeling. I kept the weight off -- for the most part -- but I’ve still gone up and down by 10 to 15 pounds during my entire adult life.
I don’t have many pictures that I’ve saved of me when I was really heavy. I don’t want to be reminded of the days when I was ridiculed.
I was and am still ashamed of the way I looked. I struggle every single day with what I eat.
When I was pregnant with my boys, I got some pretty mean emails from people. “You’re blocking that weather map again! Moooooooooo-ve off the screen so I can see my hometown.”
I even had a co-worker once yell out in front of dozens of people down the hallway: “Here comes the wide load! Look out! … Beep beep beep beep [like a dump truck backing up].” Those tears of shame came back full force. I went into the makeup room and cried. I was that little 8-year-old girl all over again being made fun of at school.
Now that I’m a mom and have small children, I try to eat well and exercise, but I no longer rely on the scale to keep me in check.
There’s one other thing that’s made a real difference to me: I know my husband loves me no matter what size I am.
And, even though we still live in a society where thin is in there are little moments when I think the tide is turning.
Many women in the music industry are making it OK for girls to like their size. Beyonce made it OK to be “bootylicious.”
Meghan Trainor’s hit song song “All About That Bass” is getting plenty of airplay for its wonderful message:
“Yeah it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to do
If you got beauty beauty just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top.”
However, that fat little girl is still a part of me, so when I hear others being made fun of, whether it’s celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, or folks warning “stay away from buffet,” I feel like I’m the one being targeted.
I used to feel sad, but now I’m just mad as hell.
Today, I’m standing up to all of you in my little girl husky pants: The fat jokes are not funny. They are hurtful and mean.
Will you join me? Wouldn’t it be nice if for once we could make those fat shaming bullies eat their own words?