Valerie Bertinelli Said She’s ‘Sorry’ for the Body Image Message She Promoted as a Jenny Craig Spokesperson

Valerie Bertinelli’s highly anticipated new memoir Enough Already has brought the actor full circle in a journey of self-awareness. In the book, the actor apologized for her part in perpetuating “diet culture” mentality during her time as a spokesperson for weight-loss program Jenny Craig. Here’s more on what she had to say.

Actor Valerie Bertinelli wears a short-sleeved glittery black shirt as she stands in front of a promotional display for weight-loss program Jenny Craig in 2010.
Actor Valerie Bertinelli promotes weight-loss program Jenny Craig in 2010 | Charley Gallay/WireImage

Bertinelli lost 50 pounds in 2009 with weight-loss program Jenny Craig

In her 2008 book Losing It – and Gaining My Life Back, One Pound at a Time, Bertinelli wrote of her experience as a spokesperson for weight-loss company Jenny Craig in 2007. She eventually lost 50 pounds and triumphantly appeared on the cover of People posing in a bikini. 

“Without question, I changed my life from the moment I signed up [with Jenny Craig],” she wrote in her earlier memoir. “Going public with my weight was my way, at age 47, of saying that I was done hiding from the truth, from life, and from myself. I was done hiding, period.”

The process, she added, “was couched in a diet. I measured my progress by the amount of weight I lost. The public saw the surface changes, but I saw the personal changes no one else could see. I regained my life one pound at a time.”

Valerie Bertinelli on the ‘pride’ and ‘shame’ she felt in her ‘People’ bikini cover in 2009

Valerie Bertinelli regrets the message she promoted

Looking back on the effort, denial, sacrifice, and sweat that went into getting herself into a teeny weeny bikini, Bertinelli in hindsight realizes she sent out a faulty message all those years ago.

“I feel guilty about the message I put out to people back then,” she writes in her recently published book Enough Already. “I was part of the problem of diet culture and making women feel less than good about themselves unless they hit a certain number on the scale.”

And it wasn’t just others being affected by the “thin wins” mentality; Bertinelli admits she got swept up in it as well.

“Hey, I wasn’t immune to it myself,” she continued. “Even as I dieted and exercised like an Olympic athlete, I was made to feel bad if I had a little pooch on the side or was a little heavier than my targeted weight that week. The whole experience opened my eyes to realities I had not thought about before.”

Bertinelli’s message now

While Bertinelli was proud at that time of her weight loss achievement in 2009, it was difficult for her to sustain, as she writes in Enough Already: “I had to practically starve myself the week before the [People] photo shoot in order to feel comfortable getting into a bikini, and I obviously didn’t keep the weight off. I mean, look at me. I started to gain it back as soon as that shoot wrapped.”

The former Hot in Cleveland star adds that she considers “the big reveal” of herself in a bikini a lesson learned: “It … made others look critically at their own body and think of themselves as not bikini ready when the truth is that there is no such thing as bikini ready or a beach body. And I am sorry if I led people to believe that there was.”

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