Valerie Bertinelli on the Valuable Lesson ‘I’ve Learned This Past Year’

With the publication of her memoir Enough Already, former Hot in Cleveland star Valerie Bertinelli shared openly about the loss of her ex-husband Eddie Van Halen, her desire to reevaluate her body image more positively, as well as her intentional hope of moving on from self-hatred of her body to a more joyful acceptance of herself as she is.

Recently, in an open essay, the celebrity talked about an equally important lesson she’s learned over the last year.

Food Network's Valerie Bertinelli wears a navy top.
Food Network personality Valerie Bertinelli | John Lamparski/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Bertinelli realized in recent years that she could not go on another diet 

The actor shared in her recent memoir her regret for “believing that I would be happier once I lost those 10, 20, or 30 pounds – or whatever the number was at the time. …

“I was about to begin 2020 resolved to lose 10 pounds – the same 10 or so pounds I had been trying to lose for more than 40 years – and one day, as I embarked on the same morning path from bed to bathroom to scale, I stopped, looked at myself in the mirror, and in a ‘before coffee’ moment of sanity, I said, ‘No. Stop, I can’t be doing this again.’ And I didn’t.”

The actor’s hard-won lesson from this past year

For Bertinelli, forsaking diets has meant finding a new way to make peace with her relationship with food. Instead of using it as a way to numb her feelings, she wrote in New Beauty recently, she’s experimenting with how certain foods make her feel, doing with less alcohol, as well as sugar. Most of all, though, she’s given up weighing herself on a scale.

“It’s all a test and we’ll see how it works, but I do know that my mental health has improved immensely because I stopped looking at the scale every morning—and that’s the first big step for me,” she confessed.

A significant moment of clarity took place recently, according to Bertinelli: “The one thing I’ve learned this past year is that, sometimes, you just have to let yourself feel the feeling. I’ve spent most of my life trying to push down feelings that were uncomfortable … and that, for me, includes food, and I used food in a way that wasn’t healthy. I know I still do it.”

She adds that she recently caught herself eating in an effort to soothe herself, but this time self-awareness replaced her habitual self-loathing: “Even recently, I noticed myself grabbing some crackers after I finished an intense interview, and I said, ‘Oh, I know what I’m doing right now, I’m eating because eating makes me feel good, and I’m doing it because I’m uncomfortable because I just shared a lot of feelings.'”

Valerie Bertinelli wishes she hadn’t urged others to ‘hit a certain’ scale number 

Looking back at her successful weight loss in 2009 with weight loss company Jenny Craig, the actor came to the realization during the writing of her memoir that “I feel guilty about the message I put out to people back then,” she wrote. 

At that time, Bertinelli posed in a bikini on the cover of People, triumphant in her accomplishment. But over a decade later, now having gained back the pounds, she points out: “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.”

Especially for someone like the former One Day at a Time star, being in the entertainment industry, she admitted, “I wasn’t immune to it myself. 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.”

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