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Valerie Bertinelli's New Body: How She Lost the Weight and Keeps It Off

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Valerie Bertinelli lost 40 pounds; now the real work begins. The TV star and Jenny Craig spokesperson shares her secrets for sticking with her new-body workout and diet plan.

"Nobody Can Lose Weight for You"

Signing up to be the face of one of America's biggest weight-loss franchises is not without a bit of pressure. And despite Valerie Bertinelli's three and a half decades in front of a TV camera (she landed her first commercial, for a department store, when she was 12), her stint as spokesperson for Jenny Craig introduced her to a whole new level of responsibility. After all, this gig has little to do with remembering lines or playing a part. This is about being real and coming clean in front of millions of Americans -- first by losing 40 pounds, then by managing to keep it off, all the while knowing that the paparazzi are waiting with their cameras for the very first setback.

Scary? Yes. Fun? That, too. At age 48, Bertinelli is so over worrying about what other people think. "My decision to lose the weight was about me -- how I wanted to feel inside," she says a few days after her FITNESS cover shoot. "I had to do this for myself."

Amen to that. Still, after years of yo-yo dieting, Bertinelli knows all about the road paved with good intentions. She sat down with FITNESS to share her thoughts on getting -- and keeping -- the body she's worked so hard for.

FITNESS: What's been one of the biggest lessons for you in your weight-loss process?
Valerie Bertinelli: You have to give yourself time. It doesn't happen overnight. I started this journey in March 2007. It's got to be a long-term commitment.

FITNESS: You dieted off and on for years. What motivated you to stick with this program?
VB: You've got to have a goal. It could be as simple as walking 10,000 steps a day -- that was my goal -- but whatever it is, you have to set one for yourself. It helps to find someone else to do it with you, whether it's a fellow carpool mother or your spouse. It's not always about losing weight; it could be something like hiking a certain hill. Just having the goal is what matters. I also weigh myself every day on my scale at home, even though I'm not supposed to. I take off everything but my ring! Seeing my progress keeps me on track.

FITNESS: Some people think it's easy for celebrities to lose weight because they have all the tools and money at their disposal.
VB: Well, truthfully, most celebrities do. Look, I understand the cynicism that we have all these people working for us, doing everything we need done. But that's not the case for me. I cook, I run my own errands. No one can do my workout for me -- no one lifts the weights or does the treadmill or elliptical for me. I don't have someone calling me up to make sure I'm exercising. I have good programs saved on TiVo -- the new Bonnie Hunt show and Oprah. That's my motivation: I watch them while I exercise.

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