The former child star says she lost 40 pounds to be her "best self"

By Matthew Cole Weiss
June 07, 2015 07:30 PM

Recently, Selena Gomez became the target of bullies on social media who bullied the actress about her curvy body. And now, other Hollywood stars are coming to Gomez’s defense, including Soleil Moon Frye, a former child actress herself who has also dealt with weight fluctuation in the public eye.

“It’s horrible,” Frye, 38, told PEOPLE at the 14th Annual Chrysalis Ball in Los Angeles on Saturday night. “Obviously, we put ourselves out there. But of course, we read the comments people write. Look, we’re all human and we put ourselves out there for people to say whatever they want, but it’s hard.”

Frye, who recently lost 40 pounds herself, encourages Gomez and others not to change their looks based on other people’s opinions, but simply to become your own best self.

“I’m a big believer that wherever you’re happiest in your life, whatever size or shape that is, I always want to encourage people to just feel like their best self,” revealed Frye, who welcomed son Lincoln, 1, to her family (which also includes Poet, 9, and Jagger, 7) last year.

“I had the baby and four or five months later I still had people coming up going ‘Oh, when are you due?’ I didn’t feel like my best self,” added Frye, who lost the weight with the help of NutriSystem and exercising. “I like being voluptuous. I like having a body. But I feel like I’m in a really good place now.”

But the most important thing for the former Punky Brewster actress during the weight loss journey was making sure her children understood exactly why she was losing the weight.

“I wanted them to have a healthy self image from me when I was trying to exercise. I was like ‘Hey I just want the energy you have’. I never wanted them to feel like I was dieting,” Frye said.

“They had their pizza, I had my pizza. They had their ice cream, I had my ice cream. I was not going to be the parent who lives on lemon and water. Never gonna happen.”