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Video: Valerie Bertinelli on turning 50, dropping 50

  1. Closed captioning of: Valerie Bertinelli on turning 50, dropping 50

    >>> back at 8:10 with the the lovely and talented valerie bertinelli , when she became a spokesperson for jennie craig , she weighed 172 pounds, today she's almost 50 pounds lighter. she writes about it in her latest book "finding it and satisfying my hunger for life without opening the fridge." valerie , good morning to you. almost 50 pounds lighter.

    >> well, officially 40. to get down to the bikini, i got down to 50 -- 40 is my official. that's what i'm happy with.

    >> good, okay.

    >> so this is the good weight for you now that you're at.

    >> yes.

    >> in your book, "losing it," you talked about the choices you made in life, good and bad, that led to the point where you needed to lose the weight. "finding it" is a little different, it's about what happens after you lose the weight -- when nobody wants to talk to you, you've done what you wanted to do. and it's the you need to live the rest of your life.

    >> over 95% of dieters game back the weight and then some within five years. and i was that person. i still could be that person. hopefully not. i'm three years into this. two and a half years into this. and i wanted to strangle the beast for the last time.

    >> it's about maintenance?

    >> the boring word. but it's the one where most of us get caught up and it's the challenging one because it's not so sexy any more. there's no set goal. there's no like thing on the scale to say, woo hoo , i did it it's like you have to stay the same every day.

    >> a lot of it you point out in your book, it's not just the calories you put into your body, it's figuring out why you gain the weight in the first place. it's really tackling the inner demons.

    >> it's because the weight is just a symptom of what's going on emotionally. for me, i wasn't giving a voice to all the emotions i was feeling. and the stress and whatever it may be. so i would eat it and calm it that way. but it wasn't. it was just making me more stressed. it's figuring out a way to deal with life without numbing yourself with food.

    >> what have you learned about yourself, valerie ?

    >> absolutely nothing. so many things that i'm a lot stronger than i really thought i was. i'm a lot more determined, that i need goals. because if i don't set a goal in front of myself, then i'll fall back and i won't, you know, my new goal right now, thanks to the dana farber cancer institute is to run the boston marathon .

    >> you're really going to do it?

    >> i'm really going to do it i'm training now, and come april 19th , four days before my 50th birthday, i'll be running 26.2 miles.

    >> what do you say to people, valerie , who look to you for advice about keeping the weight off. what do you say to them?

    >> golly, i want to hear their story, first, mainly. because then it inspires me.

    >> but you've become the inspiring story. whether you want to be or not.

    >> that's a nice place to be. but there's also with that comes a lot of pressure. i think i need that, i guess, i really do.

    >> jason alexander is the new face of jennie craig . you just did a commercial with him. shot a commercial last week.

    >> last week, we shot it.

    >> what do you think about that in.

    >> it's so much fun. between sarah, our spokesperson, and jason, we have so much fun. laughing hysterically. most of the stuff they're not going to be able to use in the commercial, but we really have a lot of fun.

    >> two other men have been spokespeople for jennie craig as well. i didn't know that.

    >> i didn't know that, either.

    >> you about he's the most recent, obviously.

    >> he'll do a bang-up job.

    >> we were talking about whether or not there's a double standard in hollywood when it comes to men and women. can men get away with putting on a few more pounds without people jumping down their throat. do you think there is a double standard ?

    >> not really. i guess i don't pay much attention any more to what the standard is in hollywood . because i'm, that's not what my life is about. it's about real people and connecting with real people . not that people in hollywood aren't real -- well a lot of them aren't. did i just say that?

    >> you did, and i think you meant it.

    >> but i live in the valley, i don't pay attention to that kind of world. and the superficialness that comes with it. so i don't know if there is or not. everything's is small town . high school is superficial, you know, thank god i'm not there any more.

    >> you say you live in the valley. you focused on your private life and your son, wolfie, who is now, 18?

    >> i'll be 19 in march.

    >> and you have a great story in this book, the beginning of the book, wolfie calling you, he was on the road with his dad, performing as a bassist, with van halen and he called you from the road to ask you if he could sleep over at a girl's house and you sort of freaked out.

    >> a little bit, i freak out when it comes to my son. i said no, you can't, you have a hotel room . dad's going to want you there. you have a show tomorrow, you can't sleep at her house. they weren't boyfriend-girlfriend then, they were just getting to know each other.

    >> it says a lot about you as a parent, that your son at that age would call you.

    >> me, i look at it and think, he knows he's going to get in a lot of trouble if he doesn't call me and tell me something like that. i'm going to with yours, that he is a good boy and i've been a good parent.

    >> mckenzie phillips came out with her book last year in which she wrote about her struggles, her incestuous relationship with her father and dealing with drugs and alcohol.

    >> uh-huh.

    >> and you at the time when she was on one of the talk shows with you, you said you were sorry that you had let her down. you hadn't been there for her. she was obviously your sister on "one day at a time." how is your relationship?

    >> we email each other and touk to each other. not as often as i would like. we try to stay connected more than we did in the last 30 years. i'm incredibly proud of her. i think she's done a very brave thing. and i think through this, because she is touching so many people and helping so many people, that it's going to help her stay sober.

    >> well you've also done tremendous thing for yourself and for a lot of people.

    >> hope so.

    >> you are an inspiration, valerie bertinelli , thank you so much. the book is called "finding it." you can read an excerpt on our website. and you'll be back later to

updated 1/11/2010 12:09:53 PM ET 2010-01-11T17:09:53

“One Day at a Time” was not only the title of the TV show that made Valerie Bertinelli famous, it’s also her mantra as she tries to maintain her headline-grabbing weight loss and tackles a Mount Everest-scale challenge in the form of the grueling, 26.2-mile Boston Marathon.

Appearing with Meredith Vieira live on TODAY Monday, the still pixie-faced actress says now that the hoopla from her high-profile weight-loss campaign, carried out over two years in the course of her sponsor Jenny Craig’s TV commercials, has died down, she needs new challenges.

So, she’s lacing up her running shoes. “I’m really going to do it,” she told Vieira proudly. “I’m training right now, and come April 19, four days before my 50th birthday, I’ll be running 26.2 miles.”

Bikini bod
Finding new ways to push herself is crucial to Bertinelli as she navigates the brave new world of the slimmed-down. Her once-petite 5-foot-2 frame tipped the scales at 172 pounds when she signed on as a Jenny Craig spokeswoman in March 2007. She dieted down to the low 120s and made eyeballs pop in a TV commercial and photo spread in which she showed off her new wares in a revealing bikini.

Valerie Bertinelli had lost 50 pounds when she posed in a bikini for People magazine. Though she has since gained 10 of them back, she says she is content to stay that way.
But life after losing is Bertinelli’s focus now, and also the theme of her new book, “Finding It,” which follows on the heels of her No. 1 best-seller last year, “Losing It.” Bertinelli told Vieira she believed it was important to put out another book just a year later, since many dieters find themselves at loose ends after they accomplish their weight goal.

“Over 95 percent of dieters gain back the weight and then some within five years. I was that person; I still could be that person,” Bertinelli said as she knocked wood on the table between her and Vieira. “I’m three years into this, so I want to really strangle the beast for the last time.

“Maintenance is the boring word, but it’s the one where most of us really get caught up, and it’s the challenging one because it’s not so sexy anymore. There’s like no set goal, there’s nothing on the scale to say ‘Woo hoo, I did it!’ ”

Video: After ‘Losing It,’ Bertinelli is ‘Finding It’ Speaking later on TODAY with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, Bertinelli explained that she actually lost 50 pounds with Jenny Craig, but is more comfortable using 40 pounds as her total weight loss for public consumption.

“I say 40, because I know that’s my wiggle room,” she told Gifford and Kotb. “I’m 132, and I’m not going past that; sometimes I’m 128, sometimes I’m 126. It’s winter now, and I don’t have to put the bikini on, so I’m 132, thank you very much!”

In speaking about that famous TV commercial when she revealed her impressive new physique in an unforgiving bikini, Bertinelli admitted it was a bit intimidating. “I kept thinking about when I was walking around, does there have to be extras there?” she said. “They’re all looking at my … I have jiggly bits. And that’s OK. I’m almost 50.”

Bertinelli continues as a Jenny Craig spokesperson, appearing in commercials with two more recent recruits: actors Sara Rue and Jason Alexander. Bertinelli said that in the past, she has lost weight only to put it back on — so she’s sticking with the program that got her where she is today.

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“[This is] the longest I’ve ever done it,” she told Gifford and Kotb. “I’m still on the program. I enjoy the food, I still eat the food.”

Out of Hollywood
In addition, Bertinelli is challenging herself by taking to the streets of Boston for its world-renowned marathon, competing to raise research money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She joins thousands of other everyday folks in the race, and in talking to Vieira, she made it clear that the everyday world is just the place Bertinelli wants to be. Video: Valerie Bertinelli comes clean

Bertinelli has been a household name since she was 15, starting her nine-year run as Barbara Cooper on “One Day at a Time” in 1975. She also did a stint on the TV drama “Touched by an Angel” and appeared in numerous TV-movies. She gained a tabloid edge with her marriage to rock superstar Eddie Van Halen in 1981, a union that ended in 2005.

But she hasn’t acted professionally since a guest spot on the TV show “Boston Legal” two years ago, and told Vieira she feels far removed from the Hollywood life living in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley.

When Vieira asked Bertinelli if she felt there was a double standard between male actors and female actors in terms of their weight, she replied, “I don’t pay much attention anymore to what the standard is in Hollywood. That’s not what my life is about. It’s about real people and connecting with real people. Not that Hollywood people aren’t real — well, a lot of them aren’t! I don’t pay attention to that world and the superficialness that comes with it.”

My son the rock star
Bertinelli has more workaday worries, including keeping tabs on her only child by Van Halen, 18-year-old son Wolfgang. In her new book, Bertinelli talks about her son, who is affectionately called “Wolfie,” going on tour with his father as the new bassist in Van Halen in 2007-2008. He called his mother from the road asking if he could have a sleepover with a gal pal.

Image: Actresses Mackenzie Phillips (L) and Valerie Bertinelli
Kevin Winter  /  Getty Images
Valerie Bertinelli said she is proud of her “One Day at a Time” co-star Mackenzie Phillips for staying clean and sober.
“I was like, ‘No, you can’t; you have a hotel room and Dad’s going to want you there, you have a show tomorrow — you can’t sleep at her house,’ ” Bertinelli recounted. When Vieira told Bertinelli she believed it was a sign of good parenting that her son would bother calling home for permission when he was in the midst of a flashy rock tour, Bertinelli laughed and said, “That’s a nice way to look at it; I look at it like, well, he knows he’s going to get in a lot of trouble if he doesn’t call me and tell me something like that!”

While Bertinelli looks to the future — one in which she’s not carrying around extra pounds — she continues to examine her past. She talked with Vieira about the trials of her former “One Day at a Time” TV sister Mackenzie Phillips, who described in a memoir an incestuous relationship with her singing-star father John, and also delved into chronic drug abuse that caused her to hit rock bottom. Video: ‘One Day at a Time’ reunited

Bertinelli appeared on “Oprah” with Phillips last fall, apologizing for not being there to help her former co-star through her ordeals. Bertinelli told Vieira the lines of communication between the pair are better now.

“We e-mail each other and talk to each other,” Bertinelli said. “We try to stay connected more than we did in the last 30 years.

“I’m incredibly proud of her,” Bertinelli added. “I think she’s done a very brave thing, and I think through this, because she’s touched so many people and helped so many people, it’s going to help her stay sober.”

For information on how you can support Valerie Bertinelli’s Boston Marathon run to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, click here.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints


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