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Why Valerie Bertinelli is 'done' fixating on her weight: 'We're all part of this diet culture that isn't actually helping us'

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Admittedly, Valerie Bertinelli has been trying to lose “the same 10 pounds for the past 40 years,” but now the Food Network host is saying: Enough is enough.

In her latest book, Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today, Bertinelli says she’s “done judging myself” after “decades of thinking I have to look a certain way for people to accept me and to like me.”

The Hot in Cleveland star writes that part of her journey has been to give up the very thing that’s haunted her for decades: the scale.

"I gave up the damn scale,” Bertinelli writes, according to excerpt published by People magazine. "I haven't weighed myself since I finished writing the book and all I know is every time I put on my jeans, they fit. I don't have to lay back and put them on! Every time I want to get on the scale, I think, 'Why would you do that Valerie?' Because it's not about the number. There's not going to be before and after photos. Whatever happens happens."

TODAY -- Pictured: Valerie Bertinelli on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
In her new book, Valerie Bertinelli is getting real about her obsession with weight loss and how it's impacted her life. (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Bertinelli isn’t alone. In fact, as NYC-based dietician Marissa Meshulan told Yahoo Life recently, building better relationships with our bodies and with food in general begins with taking our focus away from the scale.

"We put so much, pun-intended, weight on the scale that we lose sight of so many other things," said Meshulam, who is also the co-host of The Wellness Wakeup podcast. "You can be feeling really, really great one week — you meal prepped all these breakfasts, you went to two workout classes, you're talking better to yourself, not saying all these negative things. And then you can hop on the scale and all of a sudden, it can completely change your day."

A fixation on the scale can morph into an emotional tug-of-war with our weight, as Bertinelli writes.

Even after she lost 50 pounds in two years as a spokesperson for Jenny Craig — and posed in a bikini for the cover of People magazine in 2009 — the actress explained that it didn’t solve the issues at hand.

"I started to gain weight as soon as the photo shoot ended,” she writes. "I was starving myself and doing twice a day workouts. Some people can look like that without doing that but not me. And there is shame for being part of the problem to make other people think they could do it. I bought into it hook, line and sinker, but I didn't take care of my head and my heart and I think it really starts with that."

Bertinelli has been open in the past about her own role in perpetuating “diet culture.”

Last summer, she called herself out on Twitter when someone accused her of playing victim after posting a tearful response to commenters who told her she needed to lose weight.

“I spent 6 years ‘shilling’ for Jenny Craig... I have been buying into the diet industry my whole life and then I became part of the problem, so here I am today receiving the karma of my actions,” she tweeted at the time. “You can go ahead and judge all you like. However, I can warn you, from experience, that kind of karma doesn’t feel great either."

Of course, reaching that level of clarity didn’t come easy for Bertinelli, who's spent decades trying to reverse the brainwashing she fell victim to at an early age.

"I watched my father treat my mother badly when she would gain weight," she recalls in Enough Already. "I had a 5th grade teacher poke my belly and say, 'You want to keep an eye on that.' So I learned at a very young age that when you gain weight, you're not lovable. And what I'm learning is that your body is not what makes you lovable."

Still, she writes, finding contentment starts with understanding that most of us have fallen victim to the oppressive system of "diet culture" and the first step of finding a healthier path is by realizing it.

"We're all part of this diet culture that isn't actually helping us, our mental or emotional health," she writes. "I'm trying to dismantle all of the things I learned that are ingrained in me. And I've learned there are many people that feel the same exact way that I do. Some of us were taught the wrong things."

"This is what I am," she added. "Right now. Today."

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