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Valerie Bertinelli Conquers Her Diet Demons
Talk about pressure! Millions of Americans are watching TVs Valerie Bertinelli trim down. Heres how shes winning control over her emotional eating
Tested by StressThe newest Jenny Craig ads feature not one, but two very familiar faces. Valerie Bertinelli, perhaps best known for her role as teen sweetheart Barbara Cooper in the 1970s and 80s on the sitcom One Day at a Time, is now sharing the spotlight with reigning diet superstar Kirstie Alley, who dropped 75 lbs. on the plan.
Last winter, Valerie, 47, who blames her weight gain mainly on stress, decided she needed to take control of her life which is where the nationally known weight-loss program comes in. Like most people, she tells Quick & Simple, I was a huge Cheers fan and have always admired Kirsties sense of humor, poise and tenacity. Watching her lose weight during the past two years definitely inspired me to call Jenny.?
The last few years have been tough for Valerie. A very public split from rocker Eddie Van Halen she filed for divorce in December 2005 and the demands of being a single mom to their son, Wolfgang, 16, led her to turn increasingly to food for comfort. I never binged, she says. I grazed. A lot.
Over time, the 5-foot-2 actress gained so much weight that even her size 14 clothes felt snug. And although she could look back proudly on a career that included juicy turns in more than a dozen TV movies and the popular series Touched by an Angel from 2001 to 2003, she stopped going to auditions because she didnt want people to see how heavy she had gotten. But more than a new role, what Valerie needed was help in keeping her anxiety-driven eating at bay. One stumbling block, she says, is that Ive always loved food.
Getting With the ProgramWhile Valerie wont reveal her starting weight until she reaches her goal 40 lbs. by September she will admit to losing 19 lbs. during her first eight weeks on the program. She also confesses that being so visible gives her pause: Its definitely frightening to know that all of America will be following my progress. Talk about accountability!
But at her weekly visits to the Jenny Craig center near her home in Studio City, Calif., Valerie acts like just one of the girls. People talk to her just like they talk to each other. They encourage her, and she encourages them to stick with it, says Valeries Jenny Craig weight-loss counselor, Kathryn Brumwell.
Working with Brumwell, Valerie has been losing an average of 2 lbs. a week on a diet that allows for 1,200 calories a day. True, the program relies in part on its own line of meals, snacks and treats weve all seen the commercials but it also includes plenty of fruit and unlimited servings of nonstarchy vegetables like carrots, broccoli and tomatoes.
The emphasis, Brumwell explains, is on balance, not deprivation. Valerie, a carb fan, can still have breads and pastas, and if she wants a glass of wine now and then, she gives up part of her daily allowance of fats. Valerie also tries to walk 10,000 steps a day, tracking herself with a pedometer.
New InsightsTo manage stress, she has been keeping a journal, which helps her recognize and release negative feelings that might otherwise lead to mindless snacking. Recently, for example, when a beloved pet got sick, she was able to put her emotions into words and stick with her routine. She also jots down what she consumes, making her more aware of her choices.
Small things, like making note of when and why I eat, are making the biggest difference, she says. If I only eat nutritionally sound foods, and only when I am hungry, I reduce my calorie intake and never feel like Im starving myself.
Aside from wanting to shed pounds sensibly, Valerie was looking for an increase in energy, and she wanted to embrace a healthier lifestyle and a healthy mind-set, says Brumwell. She is well on her way to doing that.
Valerie does indeed feel hopeful about losing the weight and, just as important, about learning how to keep it off. I think my journey will be one that women over 40 can relate to and follow, she says. After turning 40, I realized I was never going to be a size 4. Thats fine with me.
Next page: Valerie's tips for staying on track