Chrissy Metz: ‘Our bodies are vehicles, everybody has a different make and model’

I have been overweight all my life. As a kid I preferred serious movie watching to after-school sports and considered PE class a nuisance to carefully chosen outfits. Instead of traditional summer camps I went to nerd camps where I took humanities courses on college campuses (when I was 13 the summer course I chose was Existentialism, wasn’t I a barrel of laughs) and the most physical activity I can remember from them was wading in the fountains–which tied back nicely into all the movie watching cause I got to pretend I was Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita. Oh, and I’ve always eaten too much!

In my last year of college I focused for the first time on losing weight, and I did. I lost a lot and looked great and loved the way I looked. But when I hit a really dark time and faced a sort of existential crisis (a real one this time, not a class), I absolutely turned to comforting myself with food, and gained back all the weight I had lost plus some more. So reading this new interview with Chrissy Metz, who’s out promoting her new indie film Stay Awake, my honest response is of feeling so envious of her state of mind. A few highlights:

How she resonated with her role in Stay Awake: Every time Metz sees a clip from the film, she gets emotional. “I know what addiction looks like. I have friends who have experienced it,” she says. “I have a food issue–I know how it plagues our minds and infiltrates our lives. I want people to know that they’re not alone and that it’s really important to talk about this stuff. Because once the fear goes away, maybe there could be some healing and empathy in that process.”

Our bodies, ourselves: “For me, because I’m more accepting of having an unconventional body or whatever they want to call it–the fact that we still even talk about it is hilarious–our bodies are vehicles,” she reasons. “And everybody has a different make and model. You learn to love, celebrate and hopefully, embrace it. Enjoy riding in that car, otherwise you’re just torturing yourself. Because that allows you to minimize the suffering or hopefully, completely alleviate it.”

On radical acceptance: “There’s just no reason to compare yourself to other people. Do I do it? Yes, of course, because I’m human. I spent a long time beating myself up and wishing I looked or sounded a certain way or had this or that. What’s the point? Is that a way to exist? I’ve just radically accepted it and learned to really love myself,” she said. “Also, I’m proud of the things that I’ve overcome and what I’ve become, because of that.”

Everyone has their stuff to deal with: “I have realized that we all have stuff that we’re contending with, that nobody is better or worse than anyone else… whatever it is that you might have experienced during childhood. All that stuff will follow you to adulthood if you don’t look at it and say, ‘Okay, that was my story, but I’m not taking that with me. Not going to carry this baggage anymore.’ That really helped to open my eyes to that.”

In the eye of the beholder: “If we could see the beauty within or see ourselves the way other people see us, it’s really magical. I’ve looked at someone and said, ‘oh my gosh, I love this about you!’ And they’re like, ‘I hate my teeth, I hate my smile!’ And I’m like ‘what?!’ If you could just give yourself a little grace and love and treat yourself the way you would treat others. That’s really, really important.”

[From Hello!]

There is so much goodness from Chrissy in this article, not all that surprising since she’s always been candid, humble and gracious since finding success on This Is Us. The last quote probably touched me the most–I catch myself so many times seeing joy and possibility for friends in my life, but not extending the same courtesy to myself. And I’m not a car person, but I found that metaphor to be kind of brilliant. “Enjoy riding in that car, otherwise you’re just torturing yourself,” hit me hard from the perspective of someone who’s still, honestly, torturing herself. But Chrissy’s right when she says “it’s really important to talk about this stuff,” because it does make people (me) feel less alone and more hopeful about finding a better, kinder relationship with oneself. I’m not there yet, but thinking of Chrissy will always remind me that it is possible to get there.

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12 Responses to “Chrissy Metz: ‘Our bodies are vehicles, everybody has a different make and model’”

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  1. dina says:

    I feel you on all this.. if only we could see the things in ourselves that others see, right? I’m a work in progress on this too right now, and love everything she has to say here

  2. Busybody says:

    Kismet, I love 13-year old you! A summer class on existentialism sounds amazing.

  3. Peanut Butter says:

    I love her. If only I could have heard someone saying these things when I was young and so harsh toward myself, instead of amplifying our culture’s (and my family’s) crap take on women’s bodies and faces. What a beautiful example she’s putting out there for young, impressionable minds and those of us adults who need to hear it, too.

  4. Emmy Rae says:

    Love this from Chrissy and your personal take on it as well!

  5. Ravensdaughter says:

    Wow, she must be doing CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), because what she is saying is almost exactly what my therapist says to me!

    My therapist reminds me to avoid the “compare, despair” phenomenon that happens when we go on Facebook and see people living their perfect lives. (Fortunately, my FB crowd are not gym rats, but they do travel quite a bit and I don’t travel at all.)

    I’m in my late 50’s and dislike everything about myself: my therapist keeps reminding me of radical acceptance and self-compassion.

    FYI, see Tara Brach. She wrote a book on radical acceptance:

  6. Nikki says:

    I think MOST people are screwed up in some way or another, or deal with insecurities or struggles. But if yours manifest in being overweight, you are instantly seen only as that. People judge, or think they have the right to say things to you about your weight “for your own good”. Anyone who’s fat KNOWS, and they also know what they “should” be doing. So good for her to prioritize self love and acceptance. Society sure doesn’t encourage that!

    • lucy2 says:

      This exactly, it’s the most visible manifestation and people feel the need to comment on it. And in terms of addiction, it’s the one addiction you need to keep doing to survive.

  7. lizbert says:

    As someone who’s also struggled with disordered eating, this is so refreshing. In case anyone is looking for more positive content, I recently found the channel “halfofcarla” on YouTube. I believe Carla is Irish (?), and although she does talk about her weight loss journey after suffering from binge eating disorder most of her young life, she is adamant that it absolutely begins with mental health and self-love. She doesn’t share weight loss plans or calorie counts per se or anything like that, but she has great tips on mindful ways to eat and to avoid binging. I think she’s worth a look if anyone is interested 🙂

  8. Christina says:

    She is such a beautiful woman, inside and out.

    Thank you for writing about her take, and yours.

    Mine is that there is always someone smarter, skinnier, stronger. I work hard not to compare myself to others, but it’s taken a long time and 12 years of therapy after abuse in the patriarchy. Paternalism makes women feel less than no matter what we look like or how we act, but we survive in it so that we can make money to house and feed ourselves and our families. Women absorb so much negativity and still thrive. I’m so happy that we have Chrissy as an example for all of us and for all of the young people coming up.

  9. j.ferber says:

    lucy2, I agree totally. I always felt I’d be so much better off if I could just kick eating, like you can (with much difficulty!) cigarettes and alcohol. It’s been a lifelong battle to eat normally and weight problems have been with me since I was 14 years old.

  10. JjStephie O says:

    Love her. I have struggled with my body since grade 5, always athletic and strong but too thick compared to other girls, growing up in the 90s didn’t help my mentality either, always on a lifestyle “journey” never a “diet” for thirty years, now well into my 200s after Graves’ disease seemed to set my set point higher. I just wish we could treat bigger bodies and other kinds of bodies with respect and kindness, just because. For anyone who likes podcasts, I highly recommend the podcast Maintenance Phase for helping me realize trying to “be healthy” may have resulted in my body weight being how it is, and realizing that we deserve respect whatever we look like.