This Is Us’ Chrissy Metz Finds Peace After Dieting Struggles

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Shiri: “Did you see that Chrissy Metz was on the cover of People magazine?”

Kari: “Sounds like a familiar storyline, glad she is joining the #BeHerNow movement.”

If you read our blog, you’ve followed our weekly discussions about NBC’s hit dramedy This Is Us and the all-too-common struggle around eating, weight and body image that Chrissy Metz’s character Kate faces.

We’re enthralled by Kate’s story…and with Chrissy Metz. So of course, we were excited to see Chrissy featured in People magazine. In the article, Chrissy relates to her character’s lifelong struggle with weight and shares her personal accounts of dieting and deprivation. Chrissy shares a memory of attending a Weight Watchers meeting at age 11 and then beginning the painful cycle of bingeing, feeling guilt and shame, and using food to numb those feelings.

Unfortunately, we know this story all too well.

“Of course,” we tell our participants here at Green Mountain at Fox Run week after week. Of course restriction leads to a binge. Of course “being good all day” leads to falling apart at night. Being good? Really? Is “being good” how you’d describe all that deprivation? When we pull the pendulum all the way in one direction, it swings all the way in the other direction.

We know that our bodies have requirements for nutrients…certain amounts and certain types. If we deprive our bodies of nutrients, our bodies react by kicking us into survival mode. “THIS IS FAMINE!” screams our fearful brain, creating a physiological soup that drives us to survive. We crave foods that will fix the famine…and lots of them.

A big part of healing food struggles means giving up dieting or restriction. Mostly plants, and sometimes cake – that’s the mantra for balanced eating, which is the best way to achieve healthful nutrition.

Finding Confidence and Happiness at Any Size

Acting scouts fell in love with Chrissy Metz, a born actor, because she is funny and relatable… but her manager encouraged her to lose a significant amount of weight. This fed feelings of not being enough. Putting her dreams on the back burner, Chrissy fell into a 10 year spiral of weight gain and depression.

A panic attack led Chrissy to address the yo-yo dieting that was contributing to her binge eating and depression. Using meditation as part of her healing, Chrissy now sees herself as a role model for body positivity and says that she receives great feedback from fans of all sizes.

Chrissy says, “it’s not about your size – it’s about how we look at ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. I don’t want to be limited by anything, my size doesn’t define me”.

This is exactly what our #BeHerNow campaign is all about. We challenge women to stop “weighting” and start living. As one woman said, “when you live in the now, you don’t have to dream about it anymore. You just get to be in it.”

Living in a state of “when I….then I’ll…” keeps us stuck in an endless cycle of denigrating who we are now. Of course Chrissy Metz was depressed. Anyone would be spending years not liking who we are. But when we take the scary step towards living the life we truly want and deserve, only then does that inner mean girl quiet down.

But I Want to Lose Weight!

Chrissy Metz admits that she is still conflicted about her size (which is normal ambivalence), and she claims she has never been more grounded and happy with who she is. “I’m proud of who I am as a person, but I do want to be at a healthy weight,” she says, “just not for anybody but myself.”

We understand this ambivalence…the truth is that weight loss is on the minds of many. We have to validate this desire. It’s there, it’s real.

But what we want is to encourage Chrissy and women like her to put that desire in the periphery, as opposed to square in front of our vision…blocking our every move. Instead, set it gently to the side (not away, if you’re not ready, just to the side), and allow your vision to focus on living life now unhindered by a focus on weight.


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About the Author

Shiri Macri, MA, LCMHC

Since 2004, Shiri’s approach as a therapist for treating binge and emotional eating is holistic, focusing not only on the presented issue at hand, but also considering overall health. Working in this way, often includes mindfulness based approaches. Now as a trained MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) teacher, Shiri’s love of mindfulness and meditation practices are at the forefront of her blog writings and recordings. Shiri is the Lead Therapist at the Women's Center for Binge & Emotional Eating, affiliated with Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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