By Christopher Rosa. Photos: Getty Images.
In her new memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, Gabourey Sidibe opens up about something she's kept secret for over a year: she had weight loss surgery. Yes, the Empire goddess underwent laproscopic bariatric surgery in May 2016, but don't get it twisted: She didn't have the procedure for a shortcut to weight loss. In fact, Sidibe has always felt comfortable and sexy in her own skin: She just wanted to improve her health.
According to People magazine, the actress and her 34-year-old brother, Ahmed, were recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which sparked her decision to go under the knife.
“I just didn’t want to worry,” Sidibe tells People. “I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes. I genuinely [would] worry all the time about losing my toes.”
It's a common misconception that having bariatric surgery is some kind of magic bullet for weight loss, but that's just not the case. It still requires hard work and dedication, and weight loss surgery is only one of many tools people can use on their path to getting healthier. It isn't a quick fix—and Sidibe wants people to know that.
“The surgery wasn’t the easy way out,” she said. “I wasn’t cheating by getting it done. I wouldn’t have been able to lose as much as I’ve lost without it.” (Sidibe actually attempted to lose weight naturally for 10 years before deciding to have surgery, and she fuels her weight loss now by working with a nutritionist and exercising regularly. That doesn't sound easy to us!)
And if you still think Sidibe had the surgery because she felt pressure to look a certain way (or wanted to look a certain way), this excerpt from her memoir (which People obtained exclusively) should set things straight: “It has taken me years to realize that what I was born with is all beautiful. I did not get this surgery to be beautiful. I did it so I can walk around comfortably in heels. I want to do a cartwheel. I want not to be in pain every time I walk up a flight of stairs.”
We applaud Gabourey Sidibe for taking control of her health and busting stereotypes. Of course, it's important to note that you can be healthy at any size. Everyone's body has different needs, and if this is what Sidibe chose in order to improve her life, then that's great. (But it's not the only solution!)
As someone currently on my own "weight loss journey" (ugh, isn't that term the worst!?), I identify with what Sidibe is saying here. My primary motivation is also to get healthier—not to look "hot" or have a six pack. If you're also trying to lose weight, please know that you're beautiful just as you are right now. That being said, it's awesome that to try and get healthier. We're all in this together. If you feel good, you are good.
Sidibe's memoir is available May 1. We can't wait to read more!
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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