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Valerie Bertinelli on How to Stay Happy and Healthy While Embracing the True You

Golden Globe-winning actress, author, and celebrity chef Valerie Bertinelli, 60, has been beloved for her radiant smile, warm heart, and incredible talent for more than four decades. But despite her success, her journey has been plagued by heartache, loss, and self-doubt. Here, she shares her recipe for overcoming life’s biggest challenges.

Wise Words

With her welcoming smile, sweet laugh, and talent for whipping up delicious recipes, it’s easy to see why Valerie Bertinelli has long held the title of America’s most beloved celebrity.

At just 15 years old, Bertinelli’s authentic spirit and spunk had fans hooked, landing her a breakout role as Barbara Cooper on the hit show One Day at a Time.

“It still warms my heart when people share about what an episode means to them!” Bertinelli says about her iconic character.

From there, the sky was the limit for Hollywood’s bright young talent, and she helped develop and produce TV movies while also starring in numerous hit series, including Touched by an Angel and, more recently, Hot in Cleveland.

Alongside her acting career, Bertinelli even developed a successful second act as an Emmy-winning chef on her Food Network show, Valeries Home Cooking. But as her professional life soared, Bertinelli has also faced painful heartache, including the loss of both parents, divorce from her first husband and a lifelong battle with her weight that has made her passion for cooking delicious meals a difficult balancing act.

“My war with the scale has been a journey,” Bertinelli shares with Womans World. “But I’ve realized it’s less about the number and more about being kind to myself and living my life. At 60, I’m still trying to find who I am, but instead of focusing on my dress size, I celebrate me and every body shape!” Here, she shares her tips for loving the true you, staying healthy, and celebrating life while looking — and feeling — great!

Embrace your own beautiful journey.

“Life is a journey where we’re constantly learning and growing,” Bertinelli explains. “Right now, I’m learning to quiet any negative voices in my head. I always judged myself and tried to please everyone, but I realize now that true beauty is being authentic and not judging yourself, which helps you find joy instead of beating yourself up for past mistakes. Those mistakes made me who I am today, and for that, I am grateful!”

Take time for you.

“Bone health is so important for women, especially as we age,” Bertinelli says. “To keep my bones and whole body strong, I love to hop on my bike! It’s so motivating, and before you know it, you’ve spent 30 minutes moving and you’ve loved every second! I also love walking Luna, our dog, at least once a day. We go on a walk that’s a little over a mile, and I find that it’s also a great way to clear my head and soak up some of nature’s beauty.”

Find big joy in the littlest things.

“When we were on the set of Hot in Cleveland, watching the way Betty White lives her life with gratitude and kindness solidified my belief that that’s the way to live!” Bertinelli says with a smile. “She taught me that there’s such happiness to be found in simple things, like the beauty of snow or the first growth of a flower. I try to find and appreciate the small-and big-things now. I take time to experience gratitude for a glass of water and how great it feels in my body as I drink it. It brings so much joy!”

De-stress with brain games.

“I love crossword puzzles,” says Bertinelli. “I’ll sit and have coffee and get lost doing them. It’s a wonderful way to be quiet and not feel guilty that I’m taking time to relax. I know there are great crossword apps, but I’m old-school and like doing them with my favorite pen. They’re just fun little opportunities to take a break for me.”

Get your day off to a good start with this.

“I start each day with two glasses of water,” Bertinelli says. “I drink 8 oz. before brushing my teeth in the morning, and then another glass before leaving the bathroom. Not only does it prevent dry skin, but it’s great for overall health. I also keep water nearby when I’m working or cooking to make sure I’m hydrated throughout the day. It’s refreshing and makes you feel so good!

Swap in crunchy ‘craveables.’

“I’ve yet to find the key to calming cravings for less-than-healthy foods,” Bertinelli admits. “But luckily, I crave foods that are good for me too! Radishes with salt, pepper, and vinegar are great, as well as blackberries and roasted asparagus. I adore roasted veggies: They give you the crunch you need without the guilt!”

Don’t miss her new bio!

See Bertinelli open her heart about everything from being a teen star to marrying and having a son with Eddie Van Halen in Valerie Bertinelli: In My Own Words (premiering July 19 on REELZ). Want more Val? Try her cooking classes on the Food Network Kitchen app, watch her on Valeries Home Cooking Sundays at 11:30 a.m. or connect with her on social media at @wolfiesmom!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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