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Every time I read that Glee star Amber Riley, who portrays the knock-out diva Mercedes, was "comfortable with her body," I'd shake my head and wonder just how long we had until Hollywood took hold of the 26-year-old actress. How long until she struck her deal with one of the big weight-loss companies a la Jessica Simpson or Janet Jackson. How long until she was on the cover of a celeb mag in a bikini, coverline blaring, "SIZE 16 to SIZE 00 in 16 WEEKS!" How long until she was the new Jennifer Hudson/Jordin Sparks/Mariah Carey "success" story. That's what Hollywood does to all more voluptuous actresses, after all. It whittles 'em down to a more palatable single digit size ... sooner or later.
Well, the time appears to be now ... sort of. Riley looked noticeably slimmer in a mermaid blue Theia sequin gown at the NAACP Image Awards a few days back. She also spoke about her transformation to People -- and it turns out, her weight loss isn't exactly "Hollywood typical."
What I mean is ... it doesn't sound like she had some sort of epiphany (aka talk with her manager) and decided that unless she got skinny, she'd be limited in the parts she would be able to play. Happily, it doesn't sound at all like the disease of self-loathing experienced by heavier actresses in showbiz has gotten to her and driven her to twice-a-day workouts and a diet consisting of egg whites and protein shakes (I'm looking at you, Beyonce).
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Instead, stomach pains drove Amber to her doctor's office, and she says, "I decided I was going to make a change and eat healthier," because the fast food and burgers she preferred "were attacking my stomach." As a result, she's dropped two dress sizes, which is awesome! And which is a much better marker, in my opinion, of success over the scale.
Amber also made a point to note that she really has "always been comfortable with [her] size," but she "just decided it was time to get healthy." As far as I'm concerned, that is the most honorable wellness goal. For weight loss to be the effect of a healthier lifestyle -- not the product of pushing to be something or someone you're not -- really is the ultimate success story.
I'm so psyched for Amber, because it's more than clear that she's on the right track personally. Not to mention how important her message is. She's reminding us that we should all be aiming to "get healthy," to feel vital -- not to "be skinny." And no, they are not necessarily one in the same.
What do you think about Amber's weight loss? Does it sound like she's slimming down for the right reason?