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After many years in the spotlight, Melissa McCarthy is used to people obsessing over her body, but she’s no longer fazed by people’s fascination with her fluctuating weight. After all, she’s pretty confident.
“Somewhere in my 30s, I was like ‘I’m okay with who I am.’ And if someone wasn’t thrilled with that, that’s okay too. At some point I was like, ‘They’re not all going to like you.’ You have to learn that the hard way, but it’s a good (lesson),” she told People in 2023.
Over the past decade, the 53-year-old has talked about her body-positive mindset and has shared a few valuable tips for living a healthy lifestyle on your own terms. Here are a few gems that she’s shared over the years:
Extreme diets can be dangerous and they don’t help you to build sustainable healthy habits. While talking with People in 2011, McCarthy recalled an all-liquid diet a doctor put her on in 2003 when she scored her role on “Gilmore Girls.” Describing how she’d consume only 500 calories a day, the actor said she ended up dropping 70 pounds in just four months.
“I’d never do that again,” she said. “I felt starved and crazy half the time.”
Quick fixes abound in Hollywood, but McCarthy gradually lost weight over five years rather than getting weight loss surgery. While appearing on Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM in 2018, she explained her reasoning, saying, “What’s the hurry?”
“I think everybody’s always kind of working on something. And I was like, ‘If I can de-stress and just do it slower and stop constantly trying to be on something.’ And then it actually worked better instead of being like, ‘I’m gonna not do this and do this and only drink this,'” she said.
The actor went on to compare extreme diets to attempting to hold your breath all day.
“Fourteen hours in, you go bat s— crazy, so I was like, ‘I’m just gonna mellow out (and) give myself a break,'” she explained.
McCarthy has a busy schedule as a working mom and knew she could only do so much. “After I had kids, I was just like, ‘I have to be realistic. It’s not gonna go fast.’ But I mean, I feel great,” she said.
When asked about her weight loss in 2016, McCarthy told Refinery29 she was hardly as fixated on her body transformation as the media was.
“I have (lost weight), but I’ll be back again. I’ll be up, I’ll be down, probably for the rest of my life. The thing is, if that is the most interesting thing about me, I need to go have a lavender farm in Minnesota and give this up. There has to be something more,” she said.
Eating healthy is important, but treating yourself once in a while is key to a balanced lifestyle.
“I could eat healthier, I could drink less,” McCarthy told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I’m sounding like a lush, but, you know, I do what I can. I should be learning another language and working out more, but I’m just always saying, ‘Ah, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.’”
The mother of two is also trying to teach her daughters that it’s ok to treat themselves from time to time.
“I want to show them how to be healthy,” she told People in 2011. “My husband and I always make a pot of vegetable soup that we puree and keep in the fridge. They don’t eat processed foods. But if my oldest daughter wants a cupcake, once in a while I’ll let her have it.”
McCarthy isn’t shy about switching things up at the gym. In 2011, she told People she was a fan of Piloxing (which combines Pilates and boxing) and tennis.
“I’m trying to do things that are fun,” she said.
Obsessing over the number on the scale isn’t productive, and that’s a lesson McCarthy has learned over time.
“I thought I battled weight throughout high school, but I look back at pictures of me as a cheerleader, doing sprints, lifting weights, doing gymnastics, playing tennis, and while I wasn’t reed-thin like some girls — we’re so f—– up in this country that somehow equates that with better — I was a size six the entire time. So what on Earth was I freaking out about?” she told Rolling Stone.
The star echoed these sentiments in a 2013 interview with More magazine.
“I’ve been every size in the world,” she said. “Parts of my twenties, I was in great shape, but I didn’t appreciate it. If I was a 6 or an 8, I thought, ‘Why aren’t I a 2 or a 4?'”
So McCarthy has stopped focusing on size and instead concentrates on self acceptance.
“I feel sexiest when I feel comfortable, when I feel most myself, when I’m not trying to be anything other than who I am,” she told People in 2016. “(I love) all of it: my flaws, my shortcomings, my body parts that you’re like, ‘Well, couldn’t that be better?’ I think, especially after having kids, I go, ‘Well, the alternative is pretty bad. I’ll take me as I am,’” she said.
McCarthy is eager to pass her wisdom on to her daughters.
“Give me your best punch in the face, and I’ll take that punch, rather than have my kid feel bad about herself … There’s an epidemic in our country of girls and women feeling bad about themselves based on what .5% of the human race looks like. It starts very young. My message is that as long as everybody’s healthy, enjoy and embrace whatever body type you have,” she told Redbook in 2016.
McCarthy tries not to classify someone else’s body as “better” or “worse” than her own.
“With women, there’s this constant weird cultural thing where we’re always supposed to be comparing ourselves with one another. Who wore it best? Whose butt’s better? Instead, how about if everyone wins? How intensely boring would it be if we were all the same?” she told Redbook in 2016.
McCarthy isn’t afraid to talk about her ups and downs.
“I stopped walking (when I moved to Los Angeles) and ate shitty food. I was in good shape, then suddenly I gained 25 pounds, like what the f—?” she told Rolling Stone in 2017.
“Now I feel like I have two great kids and the dreamiest husband on the planet, and everything else is just a work in progress,” she told US Weekly.
Chrissy Callahan covers a range of topics for, including fashion, beauty, pop culture and food. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching bad reality TV and consuming copious amounts of cookie dough.