Gabourey Sidibe is ready to speak out. In her new memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, the Empire star opens up about her struggles with anxiety, depression, and bulimia, as well as her decision to undergo weight-loss surgery.
Sidibe had been trying for more than a decade to lose weight naturally, but she made the decision to undergo laparoscopic bariatric surgery in May 2016 after she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. “I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes,” she told People. “I genuinely [would] worry all the time about losing my toes.”
According to Sidibe, the surgeon told her the procedure would cut her stomach “in half,” limiting her hunger and capacity to eat, but Sidibe is adamant about the fact that this wasn’t just an “easy way out.”
“I wasn’t cheating by getting it done,” she says. “I wouldn’t have been able to lose as much as I’ve lost without it.” In the 10 months since the operation, Sidibe says she has undergone an entire lifestyle makeover. She’s been working with a nutritionist to change her eating habits and works out by swimming and riding a tricycle around the Empire set under the guidance of a trainer.
But even though Sidibe is just now speaking out about her decision to undergo weight-loss surgery, the actress has been a role model for body positivity since her breakout role in Precious in 2009. Regarding her Empire character, Sidibe slammed body-shamers who took issue with a steamy sex scene she appeared in during season two, writing in a Entertainment Weekly blog post: “Also, yes. I, a plus sized, dark-skinned woman, had a love scene on primetime television.”
And after criticism from Internet trolls about her 2014 Golden Globes dress, she clapped back with the most perfect tweet ever:
And recently, she became the face of Lane Bryant’s FW16 ad campaign:
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Sidibe acknowledges that her weight loss is a journey, but she’s finding peace within herself through the process. She says that she’s almost at her first goal weight, and when she reaches it, she plans to set a new goal. But Gabourey Sidibe wants to make one thing clear: “I did not get this surgery to be beautiful,” she writes in her book. “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.”
More on body positivity:
- 15 Celebrities Who Fought Back Against Body Shaming
- Teyana Taylor Gets Real About Stretch Marks
- Zendaya Offered a Modeling Job to a Woman Cruelly Bullied by an Internet Troll
We’re happy that Gabby is getting healthier for herself and on her own terms. We only disagree with her on one thing: she already is beautiful.
How One Plus-Size Model Learned to Love Her Body: