Valerie Bertinelli Says that Her Weight Is 'the Thing That Holds Me Back'

The star and Food Network host quit weighing herself last year, and so far, it’s helping her "mental and emotional health"

Valerie Bertinelli
Valerie Bertinelli. Photo: John Russo

Knowing the number on the scale has never worked for Valerie Bertinelli, which is why she quit weighing herself cold turkey — and so far, it's working.

The star and Food Network host, 61, gave up what used to be a daily ritual in the hopes of helping her "mental and emotional health" after realizing that the number she saw was never going to be enough.

Bertinelli wrote in an essay for New Beauty that she used to think that "the number on the scale is never low enough — it's always too high — so I'm going to just crawl under the covers and not have anyone see me until it is. I'll be happy once all the weight is gone."

But Bertinelli had vowed that once she finished writing her memoir Enough Already, which was released in January, she would stop weighing herself.

"[It] was a big thing for me, and I haven't gotten on a scale since," she said. "My clothes still fit; my jeans still zip up. I guess I was afraid that if I didn't see what number I was and if I wasn't able to keep an eye on it, that I would balloon up…but that hasn't happened."

Valerie Bertinelli
Nathan Congleton/NBC

Bertinelli said that she's still a work in progress, but she's happy with the results so far.

"It's all a test and we'll see how it works, but I do know that my mental health has improved immensely because I stopped looking at the scale every morning — and that's the first big step for me," she said.

"When you stop denying yourself of certain things, you somehow, also automatically, start to self-regulate — I've found that especially true as I'm trying to take care of my mental and emotional health, as well as the weight."

Taking the leap, though, was difficult after her long history of struggling with her weight and her self-esteem.

RELATED VIDEO: Valerie Bertinelli Hopes People Learn 'How to Love Themselves' After Reading Her Book

Her weight is "the thing that holds me back," Bertinelli wrote. "But I want to start feeling the same about myself — no matter what weight I am. I don't have to wait until I've lost weight to be kind to myself and to be kind to others. It shouldn't matter what I look like. I'm trying to make that a reality in my life, and then, hopefully, my body will follow."

"I'm doing my best to live by the words I've written, to not care what the scale says," she continued. "I think that's important. I think many, many, many people live with a lie that we were told, that we're unlovable when we gain weight, and it's simply not true."

Bertinelli said that she's also worked to stop using food as tool to ignore how she's really feeling.

"Sometimes, you just have to let yourself feel the feeling," she said. "I've spent most of my life trying to push down feelings that were uncomfortable…and that, for me, includes food, and I used food in a way that wasn't healthy."

"I know I still do it. Even recently, I noticed myself grabbing some crackers after I finished an intense interview, and I said, 'Oh, I know what I'm doing right now, I'm eating because eating makes me feel good, and I'm doing it because I'm uncomfortable because I just shared a lot of feelings.' "

But Bertinelli has reached the point where she can identify that she's compensating with food, and knows to readjust.

"Being aware of why we do what we do is very helpful," she said. "It sounds so simple, but I think it's something none of us learned in school…and it would be wonderful if we could all start."

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