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Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time [Hardcover]

Valerie Bertinelli
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 25 2008

We all knew and loved Valerie Bertinelli years ago when she played girl-next-door cutie Barbara Cooper in the hit TV show One Day at a Time, and then starred in numerous TV movies. From wholesome primetime in America?s living rooms, Valerie moved to late nights with the hardest-partying band of the decadent eighties when she became, at twenty, wife to rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Losing It is Valerie?s frank account of her life backstage and in the spotlight. Here are the ups and downs of teen stardom, of her complicated marriage to a brilliant, tormented musical genius, and of her very public struggle with her weight. Funny and candid, Valerie recounts her attempts to maintain a healthy self-image while dealing with social pressures to look and act a certain way, and to overcome career insecurities and relationship problems, all of which will be familiar to the hundreds of thousands of women who struggle every day with these same issues.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Valerie Bertinelli has been acting since the age of twelve, appearing in more than two dozen made-for-TVmovies. Most recognizably, she appeared on the long-running sitcom One Day at a Time and, more recently, on Touched by an Angel. Now a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, Bertinelli was raised in Claymont, Delaware, and in the San Fernando Valley, California, and was married for twenty years to Eddie Van Halen (they split up in 2001). Currently, she lives with her son, Wolfgang, in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue

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.

Those were some of the darkest days of my life, and I was eating my way through them. By 2001 my marriage to Eddie Van Halen was over after more than twenty years of competing with his rock-and-roll lifestyle for attention. Our fights about his drinking had taken a toll. Discussing and solving our problems used to bring us closer, but now it wore us out. Ultimately, when he failed to help himself by giving up cigarettes after mouth cancer had threatened his life, I knew, sadly, that one way or another I was going to end up on my own.

By then I was working and living in Utah eight months of the year. Full of anger and frustration, I spent at least three nights a week on a plane so I could see our ten-year-old son, Wolfie, who stayed home in Los Angeles to be in school with his friends. That wasn't the way I wanted to live or the type of person I wanted to be. But instead of helping myself, I did the opposite. I ate my misery and turned my misery into a reason for eating.

Overweight, alone, and horribly depressed, I kept eating poppers and everything else in my path. After Touched went off the air, I returned home and became a hermit. I hid from the world, hoping no one would see that I'd gotten fat. In reality, I was hiding from the one person who could help solve my problems: me.

That was hard to believe. Over the years, I'd tried every diet on the bookshelves -- from the grapefruit diet, to Weight Watchers, to the lemon juice and cayenne pepper fast -- and all of them had worked as long as I stayed on them. But once I stopped, the weight came right back, and, unfortunately with a little extra. While I hate to admit it, I was on the verge of giving up and accepting that I was never going to look the way I wanted to -- or feel the way I wanted to either.

I used to say half-jokingly that I was going to give up, move to the mountains, and be the quirky old fat lady down the street with forty-some-odd cats.

I'm glad I didn't. Instead I ended up outing myself on the cover of the April 4, 2007, issue of People magazine by declaring, "I know what you're thinking -- I'm fat." Publicly, it was the start of a diet where the stakes were total humiliation and embarrassment if I failed to reach my goal. Privately, it was, as my fellow Jenny Craiger Kirstie Alley promised, not just a diet but really the start of a journey. She was right.

By any standard, I've enjoyed a charmed life. Even though I gained notoriety by working on TV, I shunned the spotlight in favor of a normal life, driving carpools, volunteering in my son's classroom, making dinner, and trying never to miss my monthly book club get-togethers. Of all the roles I've undertaken, none has been more satisfying than motherhood. I'm as much of a regular gal as people seem to expect -- and I like it that way.

If you walked into my house right now, you'd find my cat Dexter lounging on the sunny floor in the kitchen, a large bowl of fruit on the counter, delicious-smelling vegetable soup simmering in a tall pot on the stove, the recycling trash can ready to be emptied, and paperwork and schoolbooks spread across the dining room table. You'd also see my boyfriend Tom on the phone in the backroom, and me working the crossword puzzle, as is my daily routine.

Creating this happy picture was a puzzle that took my entire adult life till now to solve. By the time I went public as a size 14, I'd already done the hard work: confronting the fears, insecurities, disappointments, and frustrations that accounted for the three different sizes of dresses and pants I needed in my closet for my constantly changing weight. After that, it was just a matter of portion control, exercise, and self-discipline.

Since going on Jenny Craig in March 2007, I've surpassed my original goal of 30 pounds and set new targets for myself. But the weight I've lost doesn't compare to what I've gained -- or regained -- in my life. The weight loss and renewed zest for life go hand in hand. Kirstie had promised as much when she said, "Valerie, it's not about the weight. -What's going to happen is -you're going to quit hiding and discover the real you."

She was right. My relationships have never been healthier, including the one I have with myself, and I've finally found a joy that seemed beyond my grasp when I was reaching for those jalapeño-and-cheese poppers. Physically and emotionally, I'm a different person. It's like I'm hitting my stride. These days I really do bring home the fun.

In this book, you won't find me professing to have all the answers to life's problems. Hey, I'm still trying to figure out most of those. Instead this story is about the choices I've made, good and bad, and how I've grown and learned from them. There are also exciting times, emotional moments, and life as it happened. Through it all, you'll get me uncensored and unfiltered -- the good, bad, stupid, stubborn, size 14 and size 4. It's nothing more complicated, though as you'll see, it was complicated enough for me. Isn't it always that way?

If you're starving right now because -you're on a diet, ask yourself if your hunger has anything to do with food. I know the answer to that question. Look, we're all human. We go through the same things. If -you're in a dark place over some problem in your life, I hope that reading my story will help you feel less alone when you see that someone else has made the same mistakes and gotten through them. I hope -you'll relate to my story, learn from it, and, as I finally did, find the courage to change, shed any unwanted pounds, and gain all the good things you thought impossible.

Now where did I put that bag of chips?

Just kidding.

Valerie Bertinelli
November 2007
132 pounds

From Losing It by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2008 by Valerie Bertinelli. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars love her. Feb. 1 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
she is really honest and tells you everything. How she gained the weight and tha how she lost it. You can rally relate to some of her problems and get a new perspective on things.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "honesty" March 3 2008
By T. GILL
Format:Hardcover
I loved this book, she writes with such passion about her love for her ex husband and her child, she is the girl next door, you just want to go over and ring her door bell and have a cup of coffee with her. It is so nice to see that she kept her private life, "private" for so long. Her strength and love for her family kept her going. She is a very genuine woman. I really related to this book because of her constant battles with her weight, it was always up and down just like her life and so many of us others. She believes in marriage and only gave up when it came down to the nitty gritty, took her many years of ups and downs to finally reach the breaking point. I highly recommend this book, it only took me 2 days to read it! I couldn't put it down!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read April 12 2008
Format:Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book,It was so well written I could feel her pain and her happiness. I do hope she puts out another book, so we can read what she left out of this one. I would like to hear how her life is progressing, both personally and with her weight loss.
If you are a Valerie Bertinelli fan, or a Van Halen fan, this book is quite an eyeopener.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Motivational Weight Loss Guide April 16 2008
Format:Hardcover
I've never written a review that gets personal before, but because this is a motivational book with a subject very close to my heart, I decided it was appropriate.

As someone who has struggled with weight all her life, I've watched Valerie's weight loss with Jenny Craig with interest and looked forward to reading her book.

Valerie grew up with a poor body image, although in hindsight, she acknowledged her body was perfectly fine. She writes that she thought she was fat and ugly back when she acted on "One Day at a Time" and even took "Black beauties" (speed) to lose weight.

Valerie hit rock bottom when she watched herself in a TV movie, Claire, and describes herself as a "fat and ugly old woman". Valerie wrote that she felt miserable inside and out. "There is the weight you see when you weigh yourself in the morning and then there is the weight you carry around inside that makes your feet drag, your shoulders hunch and your eyes look down."

She knew about the Law of Attraction, and decided to apply it to her life. She literally prayed for a lightness of being.

Shortly thereafter, Jenny Craig called.

Reading her book was very odd for me, because I practice the law of attraction(as well as the placement of objects in my home and using the home's energy) and write about it in my book! I met my husband using the law of attraction, I have found great jobs...I have manifested all kinds of incredible things.

For some strange reason, I never thought to apply the law of attraction and use energy work to lose weight. I think feeling good about yourself--inside and out--is difficult when you are not happy about the way you look.

People who feel good about themselves glow.
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