After all these years of having us believe it was discipline and healthy habits, Star Jones Reynolds is finally admitting that gastric bypass surgery shrunk her suddenly from a 300-plus pound freebie-chomping Bridezilla behemoth to a shriveled, bespectacled, female-married-to-a gay-guy version of TV’s Urkel.
Big surprise, right?
But though her “confession” is one of those secrets everyone already knew, the belated revelation says something about how much we can believe a woman who’s touted herself as one of the voices of truth in the legal system as a former ADA, and on The View and Court TV.
“I was scared of what people might think of me,” she says in “I’m Ready To Open Up,” an article in the new Glamour magazone that carries her byline. Which again calls into question Star’s candor because the authorship label is about as honest as the “executive editor” title she gets on her new Court TV show– more likely an excuse to allow the magazine to not only pay her but give its ghostwriter poetic license.
And what great license it is– the article is a doozy, full of obvious whoppers (and not all of the Burger King variety), and demands public readings as much as Star’s book, Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love:
“To compensate for my insecurities, I spoke louder and ate more: Whenever I felt lonely, a Double Whopper with cheese became my friend. If I felt sad, six strips of bacon made me feel better. Soon I was up to 225 pounds, which, when you are 5’5″ and lazy and sedentary, is neither fly nor curvaceous, but I convinced myself I was phat, not fat…
Read more… after the jump…Star’s article continues:
I’ve tried to track where the real out-of-control behavior began; it seemed to be around my fortieth birthday, March 24, 2002. I gained 75 pounds over the course of the next 17 months. (In college I had started to take notice of my weight and pretended to set 25-pound limits.) Eventually I just gave up. By then, I had been on The View a few years and had all the material trappings of success, but I still felt a void inside. Many of my girlfriends were getting married and starting their own families. I refuse to say I got fatter because I didn’t have a man; that does a disservice to single and satisfied women everywhere. But I wasn’t just alone– I was lonely. I, too, wanted someone to share my life with, but deep down I didn’t feel worthy. In truth, I didn’t meet half of the requirements that were on my list for a mate.
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. I also pretended not to see the side looks and smirks from friends and strangers, or to comprehend the backhanded compliments I often received, such as, “You have such a pretty face.”
…Through it all, food was there to comfort me. Food never judged me– even when I judged myself.
We African American women are taught to be proud of our curves, full breasts and shapely hips. I used to look in the mirror and take pride in my figure, but that was when I was legitimately a full-figured woman. I’d gradually gone from full-figured to morbidly obese…
…After I left The View, many women told me they felt empowered by my honesty over having been fired–but wished I was willing to be as honest about my weight loss. They were right: Gastric bypass surgery saved my life, and though I still believe wholeheartedly that health decisions are private and should remain between a doctor and his patient, keeping this decision private started to feel hypocritical and cumbersome. I couldn’t justify it any longer.
In fact, true freedom and healing started to come when I began to talk about my surgery with strangers, around the time I left The View. I talked openly to people at the airport, to my taxi driver, to women in my exercise class, even to women in the middle of Target while shopping. We talked about my gastric bypass, their lap-band surgery, my breast lift and the loose skin some of us were dealing with. At first, I was terrified someone would sell me out to the tabloids, but as I began to trust the lessons I was learning about not being able to control everything, I was able to relax. And guess what? No one ever shared my story. How ironic: I was hell-bent on keeping the specifics of my weight loss private in an effort to maintain control–yet talking about my weight loss finally gave me the control I’d hungered for…
Read the whole story here.