Star Jones has always spoken candidly about her personal and professional life. In 2006, the TV host was let go by The View, the show that made her a household name in America, after 9 nine years of presenting. At the time, Jones said she felt like she had been “fired” and began a very public dispute with ABC over the dismissal.
Less well reported, however, was Star’s astonishing weight loss, which began in 2003. In the space of three years, the now 48-year-old managed to lose 160 lbs, catapulting her into the spotlight and prompting thousands of women to ask: “How did she do it?”
The qualified lawyer kept her mouth firmly shut on the topic and only decided to bare all in 2007. In a first-person essay given to Glamour, Jones describes everything from overeating as a child, to her insecurities as an adult to finally deciding to share her experience with the world.
“After I left The View, many women told me they felt empowered by my honesty over having been fired,” she writes. “But wished I was willing to be as honest about my weight loss.”
There were a number of things stopping Jones from going public. “First, I didn’t know if the surgery would work. I had never stuck to a diet or committed to exercise for more than a month,” she states, adding: “I had spent my entire adult life telling everyone that I was fine with the way I looked.”
In fact, that was far from true. The star found herself in a vicious cycle, where unhappiness, insecurity and even health problems were fuelled by food.
“I began to surround myself with yes-people and spent my private time eating and shopping. My weight gain began to take a physical toll: I couldn’t breathe without sounding winded; walk without getting tired; sleep without snoring; or take a flight without using a seat belt extender. I pretended not to see how big I was getting—but not only did I see it, I was disgusted by it,” she reveals.
On top of that, there was loneliness. Jones admits finding it hard seeing people around her settle down, while herself feeling unworthy of someone special to share her life with. She says: “In truth, I didn’t meet half of the requirements that were on my list for a mate.”
Finally, at a stage when Star admits she was “morbidly obese”, a close friend sat her down and said: “So, what are we going to do about your weight?”
Although weight had always been such a sensitive subject and Jones had spent so much energy denying the problem, she finally had to accept that it was time to act.
On the eve of her gastric bypass operation, she says: “I was so angry: How had I allowed myself to get to 307 pounds?”
Gastric bypass surgery worked for Star, but she warns that it is no easy fix. In fact, it’s “when the real work begins… Every day I am learning to let go of my insecurities and acknowledge that I don’t have all the answers, which is OK. My journey is far from over,” she writes.
Image: Wikimedia CommonsTags: weight loss