Losing weight is hard enough to do on your own—imagine having to battle the bulge in front of millions of people. That's what Valerie Bertinelli signed up for when she became the spokesperson for Jenny Craig in March 2007.
When Valerie began her weight loss journey, she weighed 172 pounds. A little over two years—and 47 pounds—later, the scale reads 125. "I lost the first 40 in the first year," she says.
Though this is the first time Valerie has chosen to diet in public, she says her weight has always been an issue for her. "I have obsessed about my weight in some sort of way all my life," she says. "I used to write in my journal what I weighed every day."
It's an ongoing process, but Valerie says she has finally started to let the obsession go. "It's still, for me, very new. This is the longest I've ever kept weight off before," she says. "I'm still thinking: 'Wow, is this really happening? Am I going to be able to do this?'"
Valerie says the Jenny Craig diet works for her because while there are plan-specific meals, she can also eat something of her own. "For dinner last night I had salmon and some veggies and a glass of champagne," she says.
The weight may be gone, but Valerie says she still hasn't gotten rid of the clothes she wore at her previous weight. "I have them just in case, but I really think I've got it conquered this time," she says. "But I won't know if I've conquered maintenance until the day I die."
Valerie's latest public challenge is a revealing one—wearing a bikini in a national commercial. "This is something I said I would never do," she says. "Last year at this time, I was adamant."
As Valerie's body began to change, so did her attitude toward a two-piece. "I started thinking: 'Okay, what's wrong with wearing a bikini? I look better than I looked in quite a few years, so why not? What am I afraid of?'" Eventually, Valerie agreed to bare her bikini bod in a Jenny Craig commercial.
Valerie says she was extremely nervous before the shoot. "If I must be honest, it was torture. I just felt naked," she says. "But I think sometimes you've just got to feel the fear and do it anyway."
To get her size 6 body in top form for her bikini debut, Valerie says she amped up the exercise. "I've got this old-school workout—push-ups, sit-ups, tricep dips. And it worked," she says. "Anybody can do this at home."
It took a lot of hard work to achieve Valerie's impressive results, but she says her body is totally attainable. "I've got hips. I've got a little muffin top on the back," she says. "Anybody can have this body if you do enough sit-ups and you just make a decision that 'Every day, I'm going to work out.' There are some days that I just don't feel like doing it, and I don't. But more often than not I get up and I get on the treadmill that I want to shoot and just do it. The first 20 minutes are the hardest."