In a preview of Friday’s episode of The Doctors, Anderson — who who grew up in a St. Paul housing project as one of 11 children of an alcoholic father — said that while being shamed for his weight when he was younger was incredibly tough, he was able to take away some positives from the situation.
“I do not minimize how cruel that was, but I think it made me funny, it made me fight back, it made me a stronger human being, and it made me realize that food was, you know, kind of my only protection,” Anderson, 65, said.
While the Baskets star went on to add that he has “lost a fair amount of weight,” he doesn’t feel it’s beneficial for him to share the exact amount of pounds he’s shed.
“I don’t talk about the poundage ‘cause I think that’s a setup,” he explained.
Continuing, he said, “My goal now in my life is to be healthier and happier and to try to pass on everything I got from that situation to other people.”
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Sharing some tips for anybody who’s struggling with food, the Emmy award-winner added that his advice is to “get as much support as you can.”
“And you just have to give up certain things,” he continued. “You can’t eat those same amounts of those things.”
Despite his difficult childhood, Anderson previously opened up to PEOPLE Now about how he was able to forgive his father.
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“My dad had a 10 times harder life than mine,” Anderson said, revealing that when his father was around 10 years old, he and his sister were taken out of their home and placed for adoption.
“So I go, ‘Oh my God — I’m sorry, Dad,’ ” he continued. “Forgiveness was easy for me when I found that out. And I miss him. I love him. I miss the grumpy, coffee-sipping person that he was. One time my dad goes, ‘I hate that guy.’ I go, ‘You don’t even know him.’ He goes, ‘I don’t need to know someone to hate them, Louie.’ Thank God for my dad — I’m still doing the humor.”
Anderson’s father was also on his brain when the 65-year-old won a Critics Choice award in 2016.
“To my mom, who raised 11 children, and my dad was mean to her,” he said at the award show, while dedicating the award to his mother.
“No matter how tough it got for Laura Stella Anderson, she never lost her humanity,” he continued. “She had so much of it that it dribbled onto me — I didn’t want it, but I found it, and this part has helped me find it.”
The Doctors airs weekdays (check local listings).