Viola Davis: ‘I turn 56 and I don’t know what fits anymore. That’s when it hit’

The Showtime series The First Lady begins this Sunday. I’m looking forward to it. I’m also intrigued with their selection for their premiere season. Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt are smart choices, but maybe not the obvious ones. Of those, Michelle O is the boldest because she’s not only still alive, she’s so much in our social consciousness. But, considering they got the venerable Viola Davis to play her, I think we all feel safe with that choice. When Viola, who’s a producer, stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to talk about the series, he asked her how they selected these three for this first series. But then he interrupted her before she answered to make some stupid joke about him playing Melania, redirecting the spotlight to himself and she didn’t get to answer the question.

When she came out for the segment, Jimmy complimented Viola on her amazing green velvet suit, which she was completely rocking. Viola said someone had dressed her and was grateful the suit fit because apparently not much does these days. She told Jimmy that when she hit 56, bulges and bumps came out of nowhere – and that’s with working out.

Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday to promote her new Showtime series, The First Lady. While she was there she also discussed her struggles with managing her weight.

“I turn 56, and I don’t know what fits anymore,” Davis said. “That’s when it hit. Everything gets wider, bulgier and here’s the thing, I work out.”
Davis eats well and exercises regularly to maintain what she believes is a healthy weight. That being said, she sometimes is shocked at what the scale reads when she steps on it.

“I get on the scale,” she said. “I look at it. I get back off. I get back on. I get off. And then I’ll even take a hair pin out of my hair. I’ll put it on the side. I get back on. And by that time I’m mad as hell.”

[From Yahoo!]

Whereas what Viola is saying is true, I think the age varies from person to person. I’ve already had this moment and I haven’t turned 56 yet. But yes, I remember putting on the exact same wardrobe from the same closet I’d been dressing out of for years, and suddenly nothing fit the way it was supposed to. I blamed nasty gremlins for altering my clothes while slept, but maybe it was age. And like Viola, I maintain an exercise routine. Probably not as rigorous as I should, but I do keep active and watch my eating habits. I admit that, like Viola, I still live by a scale. I also believe any and everything will affect the number on that scale, like wet hair or heavy thoughts (okay, that one’s a joke). But here’s the other side of that weird coin, we only have those judging eyes for ourselves. I look at Viola in that suit and think she looks stunning, just amazing. And then I think how I could never pull it off.

Viola spoke about the pandemic being especially hard for her. She talked about having a weekly Zoom with her girlfriends and trying to look her best going in. About five minutes later, she’d wonder why the hell she was trying to put up this front and whip off her “wig and skull cap” and just enjoy herself. I love Viola’s interviews, she’s so entertaining to listen to. And real. There were so many parts of her interview I knew exactly what she was talking about. I even got my kids the same money cards Viola got her daughter Genesis to teach them financial literacy.

Oh, and she got a dog named Bailey during the pandemic:

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28 Responses to “Viola Davis: ‘I turn 56 and I don’t know what fits anymore. That’s when it hit’”

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  1. EllenOlenska says:

    So, so true. We’ve had discussions here about peri menopause and post menopause and what Viola shares here is the real deal. Bumps, bulges, Gerd all sorts of fun. Those who don’t are more the exception than the rule…

    • Normades says:

      Exactly, this made me think about conversations here too. I think there is a big difference between peri menopause and how you feel when you’re completely out of the tunnel on the other end. I have older friends who are “done” that have said even with good diet/exercise they can’t keep the weight off like they used to.

      • NotSoSocialB says:

        Raising hand here. 56 and it *is* HARD. I might have to go keto again.

        There is a TTer named Kickra18 who started a kind of belly dancing-ish movement routine for her RA and she is so trim… I started a similar program, and man, it pulls those muscles in the abdomen and all around the pelvis in, so even though my weight is above where I would like it to be presently, I am developing a nice hour-glass shape again, so I’m pleased and will continue.

    • Leslie says:

      Love Viola. Peri menopausal here, completely agree and feeling all of this!

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yep, same same. There was a while, when I was still running, where my weight stayed the same but my body still changed any way. I still remember the last time I went dress shopping. I tried on a dress in ‘my size’, and it fit, I guess, but I did not look the way I usually looked in a dress. It was demoralizing. I totally get the ‘take out a hairpin-step back on the scale’ thing! That made me laugh! That’s one of the things that bugs me about getting weighed at the doctor’s office. They make you get on the scale fully clothed, shoes & all! At any time of the day, instead of first thing in the morning!

  2. Che Che says:

    What a gorgeous woman! Her soul speaks to me and her perspectives are on point. I so enjoyed reading her take on aging.

  3. K says:

    She is always gorgeous and her puppy is adorbs. No lie…in one week I van be a 4 6 or stomach looks like..idk even know what. It sucks and if I could I would get a Menopause makeover

    • Joanna says:

      I’m 46. I cut out drinking so I could use those calories for food lol. Even with working out, the scale doesn’t move much. I’ve always been overweight, hope it doesn’t get a lot worse. I’m 46. I see women my age in great shape but you can tell they work hard at it. I’m not that motivated. Lol

  4. tmbg says:

    I’m already depressed and reading about what I have to look forward to makes me sink even further. Age just takes everything away – health, looks, mind. 🤬

    • Merricat says:

      Also f*cks given. To me, getting older was almost like a get-out-of-jail-free card–I stopped giving people my time if they weren’t good for my heart and soul, I stopped doing minuscule extra details that nobody cares about (including me), and I stopped caring what people thought of my opinions, which are no better or worse than anyone else’s opinions.
      I wouldn’t be 25 again for anything. Seriously.

      • Orangeowl says:

        Agreed! I’m sometimes dismayed at what I see in the mirror but with both of my kids away at college mostly I’m enjoying a sense of freedom I haven’t felt in a long time. Spending quality time with friends, finding new hobbies and adventures, feeling grateful for being upright and mobile. It’s a good time, despite the effects of menopause.

      • North of Boston says:

        That’s a great outlook!

        I’m definitely moving into the f***s given zone. Like if I didn’t ask for someone’s opinion, their judgements, thoughts are theirs and have nothing whatsoever with how I’m going to go about my day.

        The issues I’ve struggled with were transient health issues – palpitations out of nowhere that made me think I was dying multiple times a month… I even went to the ER a couple of times when I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding out of my chest. It would settle down, they’d send me home with little meaningful follow up. Even had one person in the ER say, as they’re wheeling me in “oh it’s just a panic attack”. One that woke me from a sound sleep out of nowhere? No, that made no sense.

        After months of this, finally with bloodwork and EKGs and cardiac ultrasounds that showing everything was fine, but me terrified of falling asleep in case it happened again, my doctor finally mentioned, like casually, like it was no big deal “yeah, palpitations are really common during peri menopause. It’s due to hormonal fluctuations. A lot of my female patients your age have that happen”

        I was like “why does nobody mention that” why did SHE never mention it to me for months? Hot flashes and brain fog I’d heard of, but never “you’re heart’s going randomly try to pound its way out of your body.

        That and finding clothes that are stylish but not 20-something stylish that will fit my 5’ 2” a bit thick in the middle with breasts female body. So many things sized for short people are sized for thin people or have little girly design elements like tiny cats or flowers all over them. And so many things for size 12, 14, 16 etc are clunky frumpy boxy wide-shouldered “here’s something to cover your body” pieces my then-70 year old grandmother would have rejected as dowdy all the way back in the 80’s in cheap-looking clown colors or black. And don’t get me started on shoes.

      • BeanieBean says:

        North of Boston: well that explains a lot! I had palpitations, too, during perimenopause but nobody, and I mean nobody, told me that was common. Geez Louise. There was one night I had just lain (laid?) down in bed & I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest. I had a funky address & had already gone through an incident with police not being able to find my house, so I didn’t bother calling an ambulance, figuring I’d either be dead by the time they finally found me or the palpitations would have stopped. Thank goodness it was the latter!

    • Mel says:

      Don’t stress yourself out worrying, everyone ages differently. It’s only clothes, you should always dress for the body you have.

  5. VivaAviva says:

    Apparently menopause and all that’s around it is going to be like pregnancy. I needed a new wardrobe every time.

  6. Angie H says:

    2.5 years after gaining perimenopause weight, and over a year after working out w a trainer & then some, I’ve spent the last few days throwing or giving away clothes. Haven’t gotten to the ones I love yet bc maybe they’ll still work! But I’ve started replacing pants & enjoying the generous cut of dresses these days. Baby dolls & A lines & trapeze. That made me feel better. My midsection is 2 sizes bigger than the rest of me !

  7. María says:

    I stopped weighting myself about 10 months ago… It’s really scary since the scale has been my weight thermometer my whole life. A certain number on the scale literally changed my mood and confidence.

    Now I’m not sure how much I weight. I can tell by clothes sometimes, if it’s extra loose or tight. I work out and try to eat healthy.

    I wouldn’t say it’s been liberating but it has made me reflect on how much power I gave to the scale and what society made me think was OK for me to be.

    • tmbg says:

      I don’t weigh myself anymore either. I just find out at the doctor’s. So far the yearly weight hasn’t been that bad, but I don’t have Viola’s good genes so who knows what path I’ll take. Viola is beautiful.

    • Léna says:

      Actually for me it’s been the opposite, I didn’t weight myself for 3 years and then I came back to my home country and didn’t even realize I add +10kg because the same clothes still fit haha. Now, I’m weighting myself maybe once a month but most importantly checking measurements every week

      I agree with the fact that the scale “has too much power” but I also realized that because the clothes still fit, doesn’t mean I’m still in at a healthy weight 🙁

    • Loco Moco says:

      I don’t know if it is because I went through the whole shebang at 42, but now at 50, the issues with weight have evened out. I did cut carbs considerably so that probably helped.

      • Normades says:

        Cutting out processed grains and sugar always led to great weight loss in my experience, but since the pandemic I just can’t motive myself. I emotionally need my comfort carbs.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I wish I could get to that point, but I still weigh myself weekly–but that’s it, just once a week, on Saturdays. I used to weigh myself daily, sometimes first thing in the morning & again after my run. I’m comfortable with the once a week now, and for the most part it does not affect my mood. Aging has allowed me that.

  8. Trillion says:

    I’m also 56 and still wear the same size I wore in my 20’s but it’s more of a technicality. To maintain a reasonable weight (not trying to be skinny), it takes constant diligence. It’s a PITA, but I’m a lucky one in that I enjoy healthy foods and love working out/sports. It’s my genetic destiny to get fat and I’m not giving in.

  9. Kelly says:

    Love Viola and she always looks great to me. I did the whole menopause thing about 6 years ago in my mid-to-late 40’s and found that I just can’t really eat as much as I used to, which is a total bummer because food has always been such a joy in my life. I work out almost every day but the scale wouldn’t budge and I realized my diet needed an overhaul. Intermittent fasting has helped with losing most of it (especially trying not to eat after 6:30 pm) and honestly examining whether I am really hungry or if it’s some psychological reason that I want that food. It’s oftentimes the latter reason but sometimes I still say what the heck and eat it – life is too short and somebody has to eat that donut. And this is probably TMI but I’m going to say it, because it just isn’t discussed much and someone here may benefit from it. During perimenopause/menopause, you may experience pain/burning during sex because of changes in the tissue related to the drop in estrogen. Do not be embarrassed/ashamed, it happens to a large percentage women but many won’t talk about it. You can get bioidentical estriol cream to apply topically that helps immensely. I wish someone would have told me that so I didn’t spend years suffering and thinking I was “broken”. Anyways, that’s all I have, thanks for listening.

    • North of Boston says:

      The “I wish someone would have told me that” is huge for me with peri-menopause and menopause. Like why does this info get conveyed informally or haphazardly via online forums or friends? Why isn’t it just standard info doctors, PCPs proactively share with women they see in their 40s and 50s? Sure everyone is different not everyone will have the same cluster of symptoms. But if there’s things like pain during sex that a) are common and b) have readily available treatments… why not proactively let women know? And even if, as with the palpitations I mentioned upthread, there’s no treatment, just having people be aware of the range of symptoms can help ease stress and give people language to frame and communicate what they are experiencing like “hey doc, I’m experiencing xyz, it may be related to menopause, are there test we can do to confirm that? Are there treatments that can alleviate the pain, disruption of those symptoms?”

  10. The Recluse says:

    Ugh. This body. I was under doctor’s orders to cut back on sugar and lose weight so as to avoid developing diabetes. I managed to lose 10 pounds before getting stuck on a plateau. I am trying to get another 10 off by altering my exercise routine, but it’s tough. (57 years old)

    • Eggbert says:

      Physical therapist here and someone unfortunately going through perimenopause in her 30’s. So my advice would be don’t be afraid of weight lifting. HEAVY weights. You won’t bulk up, you’ll slim down. The scale may not change because muscle weighs a lot more than fat, but your body shape will change. Even just carrying some kettle bells or gallon jugs. The research is showing it’s what will keep you young (strong bones and joints, good balance, and high level of function)!

  11. steph says:

    I also had issues with panic attacks and anxiety with menopause….found magnesium helped..(some with many friends having same issues) I also find lifting heavy weights helps with weight gain…wish there was more information out there related to menopause as I thought I was loosing it with the anxiety andboanic attacks that I had never experienced before! ps..they have subsided since I started taking the magnesium..took a while to kick in..