Valerie Bertinelli on the Light Side
The Weight-Loss Journey
Ladies' Home Journal: You weighed 172 pounds before signing up with Jenny Craig. This may have felt heavy for someone as petite as you (Bertinelli is 5 foot 4), but you weren't by any stretch of the imagination "obese."
Valerie Bertinelli: I was a size 14. But I was 10 pounds short of the weight I was when I gave birth to my son. I was fat for me. My knees were killing me. I couldn't walk up the stairs without breathing heavily.
LHJ: Was it difficult to lose weight so publicly?
VB: You walk by people and they're like, "Whoa, you look great! Keep it up!" How can you not love that? But there's the flip side. I was halfway through my diet when I went to Hawaii in July. I had the nerve to put a bathing suit on. The paparazzi took a photo of me from behind, bending down. Who but Cameron Diaz looks good in that position? But then I thought, "Who am I kidding? I'm a spokeswoman for a diet company and I'm in a bathing suit. And I look like hell. Of course they're gonna take a picture and make fun of me." I learned my lesson. But wait till next summer. I'll have my bathing suit on again and say, "Okay, now make fun of me!"
LHJ: Have you and Kirstie Alley become friends through this whole thing?
VB: I would say yes. Our kids go to the same school, so we were acquaintances before. But now we've gotten to know each other better.
LHJ: Do you feel competitive with each other about the weight loss?
VB: Everyone's made it like there's some sort of competition. There is none. Two women can't work together without being cats? Ridiculous. The last time I went to her house, we went into her pool and did an hour workout. She kicked my butt!
LHJ: Why do you think men can be fat in Hollywood and women can't?
VB: I don't know why women are held up to a higher standard. I don't get it. It's an unspoken rule about women having to be young and thin. And it's not just who the men in charge are hiring. Women are in charge, too.
LHJ: Have you always battled your weight? Even when you were that skinny teenager on the '70s sitcom One Day at a Time?
VB: I don't remember a time when I didn't struggle, though Hollywood made it worse. People were always saying, "Wouldn't it be nice if you were just a size smaller?" And then I was always comparing myself to MacKenzie [Phillips, who played Bertinelli's sister on the show, and also had a well-documented drug problem]. She was a rail. I used to get so mad about my hips. Now I appreciate them -- they brought Wolfie into the world. Even when I got really thin, though, I never had an eating disorder. Well, at one point I may have been a little anorexic -- I'd go on these super-restrictive diets.