Valerie Bertinelli on 'Toxic Relationship' With Her Weight and Why She No Longer Buys Into Diets (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
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Valerie Bertinelli knows the hardships of struggling with body issues. The Hot in Cleveland and Food Network star got candid about her "toxic relationship" with her weight and why she is no longer buying into diets while chatting with ET's Nischelle Turner.
In her new memoir, Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today (out now), the 61-year-old actress touches on feeling judged whenever gaining weight and how it affects her life.
"It's a very toxic relationship and I think that being judged on your size is never OK," she expressed. "But I learned at a very young age that I was unlovable if I gained weight -- and that's a lie. It's a lie that all of us have learned or a lot of us have learned and we need to get that out of us. We are all lovable in and of ourselves."
Just last month, Bertinelli posted an emotional video of herself crying after having a bad body image day. She admitted that she is "still coming out on the other side" of feeling down about her appearance.
"I still have my weak moments. Just a couple weeks ago I posted something on Instagram 'cause I was having one of those self-loathing moments. I felt myself spiraling and I think that’s when we stop ourselves and start to look at all the beautiful gifts we have in our life," she shared. "Go outside in the rain, go take a walk with your dog or go pet your cat. If you don't have an animal, go look in the mirror and say, 'I love you just as you are!' Because that is true."
From an early age, she said, she was taught that to show love you "create and make delicious food for people." Now, she's ready to take care of herself and not worry about the number on the scale.
"I like to share it with them, and I just don't wanna deny myself that any longer. I don't want to use food as a crutch. I still wanna eat healthy, I still wanna eat more vegetables and more fruits and not have as much alcohol and less sugar and still move my body," she explained. "So I still wanna take care of myself, but I'm not going to obsess over the scale anymore. No matter what that number was, it never made me happy."
"It was never small enough," she continued. "And if it was too big, I didn't wanna see anybody. So, it's not gonna run my life any longer at all."
One of her regrets over the years when trying to lose weight was posing for her bikini cover and being part of the "bikini ready" narrative. "I bought into it too, yeah," she noted. "I bought into the diet culture. I always wanted to lose that last 10 pounds and it never made me happier, and I regret that."
As for her relationship with food, she shared that she was "able to go back to the beginning." While she learned that "food is love" from her grandmother and mother, she "used food for such a long time to suppress feelings."
"And I abused it and I had a bad relationship with food," she admitted. "That's gone now. I'm back to the love. Food is love and I'm going to share it and I'm going to take joy in it, and it gives me joy now. Once you stop depriving yourself, you start to realize that you’re not going to try and grab it all in one take because it's going to be there. I used to just [have] such a difficult relationship with food and I'm not going to do that anymore. It started off as love and now it's back to love again."
These days, Bertinelli is taking it day by day and being a proud mama after her son, Wolfgang, earned a major accolade.
"He is doing great! He's been nominated for a GRAMMY," she said of her son, whom she shared with ex-husband, the late Eddie Van Halen. "This is insane! I am so, so excited for him! I get more excited about his success than I ever would get about mine."
When asked why Enough Already was the perfect title for her memoir, she replied, "Because you can look at it both ways, it's, 'Enough already!' Like, enough with the negative self-talk, and the number on the scale. It never made me happy anyway no matter what the number was. And enough already. I am enough. I am enough already, so stop."
To watch ET's full interview with Bertinelli, tune in to Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday. Check your local listings here.