Valerie Bertinelli was the girl next door on the hit TV show One Day at a Time. Now, she is the divorced mother of a teenager and is conducting a very public campaign to lose weight. Read an excerpt of her frank and motivational story.
Bring Home the Fun
Some people measure depression by the medication they take or the number of times per week they see a therapist. For me, it was different. I measured my depression with baked jalapeño-and-cheddar-cheese poppers, the brand that advertises itself with the slogan "Bring home the fun."
I'd love to meet the person who came up with that line and ask him a question. Is it really fun to see yourself blow up three dress sizes?
I suppose they wouldn't sell as many if their slogan was "Pack on the pounds." On the other hand, they may do OK with a promotion that said "Forget your ex-husband" or "Eat these instead of having sex—since nobody wants to see your fat bare ass."
During the cold winter months of 2002–03, when I was making Touched by an Angel in Utah, those jalapeño-and-cheese poppers were my Prozac. I was on a significant dosage: at least nine a night and sometimes more. At the grocery store, I saw other women looking at me when I loaded the boxes into my cart from the frozen food case. I could almost hear them thinking Oh my gosh that's Valerie Bertinelli. And look: she's on those jalapeño poppers.
It was true. There were nights when I OD'd on those poppers. My mouth burned because I couldn't wait for them to cool down after taking them out of the oven. Other times I savored the taste with tiny, almost sensual bites, drawing out the feeling of comfort and escape I got from eating. The bright smile that served me well for so many years went into storage. So did my size 8 jeans. And my 10s. And my 12s. And my—well, my weight soared past 170 pounds, the highest it had ever been outside of my pregnancy.