April 7, 2014 at 11:44 AM ET
While watching her sitcom, “Kirstie,” Kirstie Alley had a revelation. She needed to shed some weight.
“I was like, you look OK on the street, but you don't look [OK] on TV, not so much,” Alley told Matt Lauer on TODAY.
Alley famously worked as a Jenny Craig spokesperson from 2004 to 2007 and lost 75 pounds. She maintained that for three or four years, she said, “And then, you know, I went off the rails a bit.”
But to get back on track she made an announcement: She will again be the public face of Jenny Craig as she works to lose weight.
“I have a goal to lose 30 pounds,” Alley told Lauer. “Thirty pounds is a lot.”
Alley said that a combination of “man troubles” and being overindulgent during the holidays (“The Christmas holiday lasts from Halloween to Valentine's Day”) made it all too easy for her to eat too much and regain the weight.
“Listen, men, stop upsetting your women. You make them fat,” the Emmy-winning actress joked.
Nutritionists say that Alley’s struggles to keep the weight off are common.
“There is that deprivation mindset and that punishment mindset someone [helps you] motor through and lose the weight,” said Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
But once the weight is off, people sometimes think they can eat whatever they want. Then the pounds creep back on. Or, they just don’t understand how to eat because they relied heavily on pre-made meals. Yo-yo dieting, or weight cycling, makes it hard for people to live a consistently healthy lifestyle.
“[People who are] weight cycling have more extreme reductions of calories every time they go through the process again … it is not sustainable,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic.
While both nutritionists agree that weight loss programs like Jenny Craig can be effective in helping people lose weight, they both believe that additional counseling could help keep the pounds off.
Bonci said she sees patients who ask for advice on how to transition from a diet, where everything is planned for them, to a regular lifestyle. Many have no idea what 350 calories of food looks like without someone making it for them. And Kirkpatrick believes that many people need someone to help them deal with the stress. Alley indicated that emotional strain contributed to her weight gain.
“If we could also get a grasp on the psychological and behavioral management, we could go a long way,” Kirkpatrick said.