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Valerie Bertinelli engaged with Twitter followers and fans in an exchange about body shaming and fatphobia among healthcare providers.
The Food Network host shared a personal story about how an allergy doctor advised her to “lose a little weight” before her pregnancy.
Hundreds of Valerie’s followers shared similar stories.
Editors’ Note: This article contains discussion of weight loss, and mentions calories, pounds, and/or other terms and external measures that people trying to recover from disordered eating or eating disorders may be seeking to avoid.
It’s been an emotional few weeks for Valerie Bertinelli, as the 61-year-old Food Network host and former One Day at a Time star has confronted some harsh realities about her past.
Earlier this month, Valerie took to Instagram to condemn a viewer’s comment about her weight, sharing an emotional plea for anyone listening to stop commenting on weight all together. “Aren’t we tired of body shaming women yet?!” she wrote in the video’s comments, almost a year after opening up about her long struggle to find self-love while working in the entertainment industry.
The former Hot in Cleveland star hasn’t backed down from being vocal about problematic habits and tendencies associated with diet culture. Responding to entertainment writer Wendy Molyneux, Valerie took to Twitter this week to make a point about how doctors and healthcare providers alike can be fatphobic in their treatment of patients.
“Went to the doctor this morning for a broken toe. Guess what she wanted to discuss first [and] I’ll give you zero guesses,” Molyneux sarcastically shared on Twitter. The tweet racked up over 1,000 replies that centered around discussions of weight loss while in doctor’s offices and other clinical treatment centers. Later, Molyneux expressed a more genuine sentiment: “It’s really telling that so many people knew the ballpark of what I meant!”
The replies and exchanges occurring on this Twitter thread clearly struck a nerve with Valerie, who ended up retweeting it alongside a medical horror story of her own.
“I told my asthma doctor I was thinking of getting pregnant,” Valerie started in her own thread. “He told me I might want to lose a little weight first. I WEIGHED 126 POUNDS.”
Sadly, Valerie isn’t the only one who has experienced body shaming as the result of fatphobia in medical communities, largely driven by the usage of body mass index by clinical health providers. Medical experts and critics alike have long debated the usage of BMI in modern holistic treatment, with many calling it outdated and irrelevant to many ailments today.
Valerie’s story has prompted hundreds of her followers to share stories of how their doctors called bodyweight into question for seemingly unrelated medical issues.
“Have a friend who went to her doc for extreme fatigue,” one follower replied. “Doc said, ‘If you lost some weight, you wouldn’t be so tired.’ She had stage 4 leukemia.”
“The fear of being weighed is literally a reason some women don’t go to a healthcare provider,” another user added.
If one thing is clear, it’s that Valerie isn’t afraid of criticism for being so outspoken against diet culture — in fact, last week she directly addressed those who highlighted her past work as a Jenny Craig spokesperson in the early 2010s.
“I have been buying into the diet industry my whole life and then I became part of the problem, so here I am today receiving the karma of my actions,” she said publicly on Twitter. “You can go ahead and judge all you like. However, I can warn you, from experience, that kind of karma doesn’t feel great either.”
We’re expecting more revelations from Valerie in the months leading up to the release of her new memoir, Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today, which is set to be published in January 2022.
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