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Chrissy Metz On Weight Loss: “It’s Not Really About The Food…Ever”

The 'This is Us' star opens up about emotional eating, body positivity and how she's kept off 100 pounds

It’s hard to believe that actress Chrissy Metz only had 81 cents in her bank account when the role of a lifetime came calling. But she aced the audition for the part of Kate Pearson on the NBC drama, “This Is Us,”. Soon, millions of viewers — especially women — were enthralled by Metz’s authentic portrayal of Kate, who was one of the few characters on television who struggled with obesity, body image, infertility and emotional eating.

Metz also successfully conveyed the character Kate as a woman who was more than just the read-out on a scale. Kate, as portrayed by Metz, was fiercely determined and resilient woman with an indomitable will to succeed as musician, a wife and a mother.

But it’s easy to see how Chrissy Metz so beautifully brought the character to life — garnering her a nomination for a Primetime Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards — after she herself has admitted to struggling with weight loss, insecurity and anxiety.

Here, we take a look at what Chrissy Metz has said about her weight loss journey, the panic attack lead her to lose 100 pounds, her battles with emotional eating and the amazing strides she’s making to help other women of all sizes find body-positivity and self love .

Did Chrissy Metz struggle with weight loss at a young age?

Born on September 29, 1980, in Homestead, Florida, Christine Michelle Metz spent her early childhood in Japan where her father was stationed in the Navy and then moved back to Florida with her family at age 9. Around that time, her father disappeared, leaving her mother to work various jobs to support the family.

In her 2018 memoir This Is Me, Chrissy revealed that she experienced hardships and physical and emotional abuse as a child, which lead to unhealthy habits and obesity. Chrissy recalled being the youngest person in Weight Watchers at age eleven.

Chrissy at age 12, 1992Instagram/ChrissyMetz

Chrissy also wrote about her difficult relationship with her stepfather. “My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating. He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator.”

She wrote that he would conduct forced weigh-ins with her when she was 14. “He’d get the scale from the bathroom and clang it hard on the kitchen floor. ‘Well, get on the damn thing!'”

But her weight and the trauma of her past never stopped Chrissy from developing a passion for acting. She pursued her dreams by moving to Los Angeles in her early twenties, but she often found it difficult to find work, not fitting into the Hollywood “ideal.”

She became depressed when the acting jobs weren’t coming in and said she was “eating my feelings” — ultimately gaining more than 100 pounds.

How did Chrissy Metz lose 100 pounds?

In 2010, on her 30th birthday, Chrissy recalls having a breakdown watching a movie with friends and family.  “I had a full blown panic attack in the theater,” Metz admits to Woman’s World. “That was a catalyst that changed my thinking. I stopped asking myself ‘Why wasn’t I more successful?’ and I realized I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do; I was doing everything for everyone else.”

In hindsight, Metz says she’s grateful for the panic attack landed her in the hospital because it led her to seek help.  “I needed to understand why I’ve been hurting my body with food and all the things that come with that,” she told VeryWell Mind.  “Which means all the past trauma and unresolved issues, all of that came bubbling to the surface at 30 years old.”  

Metz also vowed to pay less attention to other people’s opinions, which inspired her to take better care of herself…and the weight began melting off. “I was so gung ho, I lost 100 lbs. in less than five months,” she told People. “All I did was eat a 2,000-calorie diet and walk 20 minutes a day.”

Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson, Chris Sullivan as Toby DamonGetty

Did Chrissy Metz keep the weight off?

Four years after Metz lost weight, her second breakthrough came when she landed a recurring role as Ima Wiggles on the popular FX series “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” She’d successfully kept the weight off, but Metz revealed that she experienced a second powerful epiphany when she was forced to wear a fat suit to play a circus “fat lady”.

“I thought, ‘What if I become that heavy and can’t walk around or get stuck in the doorframe?” said the star told Today. “I was like, ‘I don’t want this for me.’”

Chrissy Metz as Ima Wiggles in “American Horror Story: Freak Show” 2014FX Network

So she redirected her focus to understand the reasons why she had gained weight in the first place. “Because for sure, it’s not about the food — ever!” she insisted to VeryWellMind. “The food is the symptom. If you take the food away, all the feelings you’ve suppressed come up and then you have to contend with them because you’ve never dealt with them.”

“Now, I realize that I don’t have to beat myself up if I have XYZ food,” she told Good Housekeeping.  “Instead, I change my perspective and think ‘What is it that I’m angry about?’  All these things I’m just trying to be cognizant of.” 

How is Chrissy Metz like Kate Pearson?

Metz’s portrayal of Kate Pearson struck the nerve of millions of viewers and became an inspiration for so many different reasons.  Fans have reached out to confide in her about struggles with weight and body image; particularly, how binge eating disorder – also known as “BED” – have impacted their own evolvement with family. 

“We all have doubts or fears but we deal with them in different ways. We fill voids whether it’s through validation through social media or food – just fill in the blank,” she’s told Woman’s World.

Cast of ‘This Is Us’ 2019Frank Micelotta/20th Century Fox Television/PictureGroup/Shutterstock

Metz has also confided in an US Weekly interview that she saw how Kate developed the disorder and how she herself grappled with its effects.  So many fans felt that Kate’s journey was parallel to their own BED struggles. 

“What I will miss about Kate is that I think so many people, not even just women, relate to her and her walking imperfectly through trials and tribulations, and all the same and guilt that she’s carried for so long,” she said to Us Weekly. “I think it’s a really special thing to meet people that I’ve never met before and be able to cry in bathrooms with them about what they’re going through.” 

How does Chrissy Metz feel about body positivity?

“I always say our bodies don’t define us – they just happen to be our vessels,” Chrissy said to Woman’s World. “If all you are thinking about is that you want to lose weight, but you feel like you are not going to be able to because you’re not worthy…then you won’t ever.  It is so important that you realize that just as we are, we are enough.” 

“I always say, ‘If you don’t love yourself for who you are right now, you’re never going to get to the place you want to be.’ So it’s about being gentle and kind and we get so fixated on what our outward bodies look like.”

Chrissy Metz ‘Stay Awake’ premiere, 2022Drew Altizer Photography/Shutterstock

“But I just have to be very clear,” she told TVLine. “Whether or not I lose weight or stay the same, it’s purely a choice of mine for health. Not because I think that plus size, curvy, voluptuous, big bodies aren’t attractive—because I think they’re awesome and sexy.”

What is Chrissy Metz doing after ‘This is Us’?

It’s been several months since the final episode of this ever popular series aired but the tight-knit group of actors keep in constant touch with each other.  “We text pretty much every other day, just checking in or congratulating somebody on something,” Chrissy told TODAY.  “A new project or award or even a cute picture on Instagram.  I’ve been posted in Nashville for a bit so it’s really lovely to have friendships that last.” 

Chrissy Metz Chrissy Metz in concert, 2022Photo Image Press/Shutterstock

The 42-year-old talent might have left Kate Pearson in her memory but Chrissy has ventured out in other aspects. Aside from her acting career, Metz is also a talented singer. She has showcased her vocal abilities and deep Christian faith on various platforms, including live performances and within the context of her acting roles. In 2019, she released her debut single “Talking to God,” which received positive reviews.

Chrissy also has her own wine company The Joyful Heart Wine Company, and has written a children’s book. And performs in Nashville with her band, Chrissy and the Vapors and has been in a happy relationship for three years with boyfriend, Bradley Collins.

And through all her successes, the biggest triumph has been learning to love herself and to see how her challenges have made her stronger. “We learn so much from our pain and struggles, and we come out on the other side of it better,” she said to Woman’s World. “But I also want women to know that the pain is not forever and even the tough stuff is a lesson. I like to say ‘It’s not about what happens to you, it’s what happens for you.’ You’ll see!” 

Chrissy Metz and boyfriend Bradley Collins, 2023Tammie/AFF-USA/Shutterstock

Bonnie Siegler is an established international writer covering the celebrity circuit for more than 15 years.  Bonnie’s resume includes two books that combine her knowledge of entertaining with celebrity health and fitness and has written travel stories which focus on sustainable living.  She has contributed to magazines including Woman’s World and First for WomenElle, InStyle, Shape, TV Guide and Viva.  Bonnie served as West Coast Entertainment Director for Rive Gauche Media overseeing the planning and development of print and digital content.  She has also appeared on entertainment news shows Extra and Inside Edition.

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