Michael Y. Park
October 08, 2009 10:50 AM

For years, she was the slender little sister on One Day at a Time, then a rocker wife to Eddie Van Halen. But now, as a mature woman of 49, Valerie Bertinelli is finally okay with having a woman’s body.

“I’ve realized I’m more important than food is. I love a big slice of pizza. But I love myself more,” she says in the November Issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, out Oct. 13. “Being thin is about changing the way you think about yourself. It’s about saying you deserve to be healthy. In no way have I perfected this eating thing, and I don’t know that I ever will. But life is about making progress. It’s not about perfection.

Bertinelli, who finished a half-marathon in July, also once again defends fellow actress and former Jenny Craig spokeswoman Kirstie Alley’s weight gain.

PHOTOS: Valerie Bertinelli: My Body Then & Now
“I understand it. What woman doesn’t?” she says. “I told her to come work out with me. You need support. Otherwise it s ‘I’ll start tomorrow, then tomorrow,’ and tomorrow never comes.”

Take it from her – she’s seen results, like with her famous green-bikini shot in March.

“There was no hiding behind Spanx for that one. I was hesitant, but I was working out so friggin’ hard,” she says. “I thought, ‘Why not show this body off? I’m almost 50 and I haven’t felt this good about myself since I was 16.”

And now the closet that used to seem to mock her has become something she loves to raid

“This used to be my misery collection. For years I hated all my clothes and how I looked in them, and I hated myself for it,” she says. “Now it’s my inspiration cabinet. I look in here and everything fits. It’s kind of a miracle.”

PeopleTV Archive: Valerie’s Race to the Finish

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