Michelle Burford chats with funny lady Jenny McCarthy about dropping her post-baby weight, the pressure to stay thin in Hollywood, the end of her seven-year marriage to comedian Jim Carrey and her biggest aha moment.
BY MICHELLE BURFORD
WEIGHT WATCHERS MAGAZINE | MAY 2007
Michelle Burford: You gained nearly 90 pounds during your pregnancy. What on earth were you eating—mashed potatoes from daybreak to dusk?
Jenny McCarthy: Everything! For breakfast, I’d have eggs Benedict with hash browns and bacon; a couple hours later, I’d have a tuna-salad sandwich with onion rings; an hour after that, I’d gulp down a milkshake and a hot dog. For dinner, I’d have a slab of ribs, a baked potato, and beans. I’d finish it off with dessert: a whole pan of brownies!
Weighing yourself didn’t get you back on track?
I stopped weighing myself. I would’ve even let my doctor tell me my weight!
What finally snapped you out of denial?
When I checked in at the hospital, a nurse practically announced my weight over the loudspeaker. I was like “Nooooo!” I was horrified.
When did you begin a turnaround?
A month and a half after delivery—and even then, I needed a kick in the butt for motivation, because all I wanted to do was sit on the couch with my baby. To get myself moving, here’s what I did: I went into my bathroom, took off all my clothes, stood on top of the toilet and under the fluorescent lights, and looked at my fat. I stared at it. I shook it. I squeezed it. And I finally said to myself, “Oh, good God! This is bad!”
How bad was it?
Each butt cheek was four times its pre-baby size! The cellulite down my thighs hung over my kneecaps. My waist had a tire around it.
How did you find your way off the top of the commode and into your first WW meeting?
First, I tried the Hollywood thing: I hired best trainer I could find, and we did an hour of cardio each day, plus three days a week of weight training. After a month, I hadn’t lost a single pound!
Were you still eating like a sumo wrestler?
I was starving myself: peas and sashimi! That just goes to show you need to eat consistently. After a month of torture, I called my mom. “I can’t hold onto this weight anymore,” I said, crying. Mom said she’d just lost 40 pounds on WW. I thought, “I’m the one in Hollywood. How can I take my mother’s advice on diet?” But I didn’t know what else to do. So I found a meeting.
Any celebrity gawkers at the meeting?
No. And as long as there were no photographers around, I felt comfortable with others who were also struggling with their weight. Other members recognized me, but that didn’t matter. A camaraderie developed, and we cheered one another on.
What’s your typical daily menu?
I don’t cook, so for breakfast, I have an English muffin with a little strawberry jelly. At lunch, I might have a hot dog with light bread. To tide me over till dinner, I’ll have some fruit. And dinner? Either a microwaveable light lasagna or an awesome turkey-cheese sandwich on an English muffin—I’m addicted!
Are you at your goal weight?
Yes! And my clothes fit better now, too. I started out as a size 12 or 14; I got down to a 6 and now I’m back in a 4.
If your struggle with weight were a movie, what would it be called?
Didn’t the boat sink in the original movie?
That’s the point: In part two, my weight is back with a vengeance!
It must’ve been hard to be overweight in an industry where most women are a negative 0.
Exactly. I get comments like, “You don’t fit into the sample size.” [a teensy size borrowed from designers for a photo session.] I say to myself, “I think I look good!” It takes a very secure person to know that a sample size is not a real-person size!
While we’re on the subject of low points, you survived another whopper two years ago: your divorce.
Actually, the divorce has been the highlight of my life! My seven-year marriage was about six years too long. I finally said, “Enough!” I wanted to be happy. It was the best thing I ever did. After my ex left, I did the Toyota dance in my living room: “Oh, what a feeling!”
For most members, it’s all about support. While you were shedding your pounds, who was your most enthusiastic cheerleader?
My sister. We joined together, so we encouraged each other along the way. I recommend joining with someone. It helped so much.
How would you finish this sentence: “If you really knew me, you’d know that . . . “
If you really knew me, you’d know that I’d root you on while you were losing every piece of extra fat on your body. Some people might think I’m too much of a Hollywood girl to be that kind of friend, but even now, I consider myself more of a Midwestern girl first.