Photo Credit: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect;Amanda Edwards/FilmMagic
In her final blog for the iVillage blog series CelebVillage, actress/filmmaker and mom of two Ricki Lake shares why her challenges with gaining and losing weight have made her who she is.
In the last 20 years, I have been a size 24 and a size 4 -- pretty amazing when you think about it. And, unlike most people who struggle with their weight (And who hasn't at some point?), my story has been very public.
Weight became an issue for me early in life. I haven’t made a secret about being sexually abused as a youngster, and I believe that my subsequent weight gain was a subconscious effort to make myself seemingly less attractive to the opposite sex. I had spark and charm to spare, though, and I leveraged my personality and drive to make things happen.
I wouldn’t trade a thing for the opportunity to have played Tracy Turnblad in John Waters’ original Hairspray, and being zaftig was part of the gig. I became good at being the chunky heroine and continued to work in Hollywood.
The start of my original talk show, at age 23, marked a period of ups and downs in terms of weight. I went back and forth on the scale but, interestingly, started to become more comfortable in my own skin. It was the birth of my boys that taught me I could be happy without being a sample size. My body was meant to eat good food to nurture my babies.
Now, at 42 years old, and after Dancing with the Stars, I have really learned what my body is all about and what it is capable of. I don't think of myself in terms of a size but rather the incredible sense of energy that comes along with being in shape. The exercise, nutrition and conscious decisions I make every day are less about the jeans and more about the drive I have to work, parent and enjoy life to the fullest.
It has been extremely rewarding to hear how my weight struggles have impacted other women. Like them, I am a real woman. I lose, I gain. Some days, I feel like the picture of perfect health, and other days, not so much. It's okay to enjoy and not beat ourselves up about it.
So, I know I will gain a little back one day. Photographers will snap pictures, stories will be written, and people will talk. I think there are a lot more important things for women to be talking about, and I plan to address these topics this September when I return to television with my new talk show.
I hope you will tune in, and together we can tackle some big issues. Until then, thanks for reading my iVillage blogs.
Good luck with all your goals for 2012!