Valerie Bertinelli‘s weight journey from 172 pounds in 2004, down to the 123 pounds she is today, wasn’t just about working out and eating right, it was also about valuing herself, she tells the November issue of Ladies Home Journal. “I’ve realized I’m more important than food is. I love a big slice of pizza. But I love myself more,” the 49-year-old mom says.

“Being thin is about changing the way you think about yourself. It’s about saying you deserve to be healthy,” she explains. “In no way have I perfected this eating thing and I don’t know that I ever will. But life is about making progress. It’s not about perfection.”

Valerie has become so confident in her new body, that even appearing on the cover of a magazine in a bikini only called for a slight pause on her part.

“There was no hiding behind Spanx for that one. I was hesitant, but I was working out so friggin’ hard,” she explains. Why a bikini? “I thought, ‘Why not show this body off? I’m almost 50 and I haven’t felt this good about myself since I was 16.”

Sound off in the comments below!

Join the conversation