Shonda Rhimes Was Treated “As a Person” Only After Losing 100+ Lbs
Shonda Rhimes weight loss
Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Vulture Festival    

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes Was Treated “As a Person” Only After Losing 100+ Lbs

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As you’ve no doubt noticed by now, Shonda Rhimes has lost weight. Over 100 pounds, and possibly closer to 150, by her estimation.

And only now are people acknowledging her as a person, she says.

The Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator is breaking her no-talking-about-the-weight rule to talk about the humiliating ways other people talk about her weight...

“I did not [lose the weight] because I thought I would become beautiful like in the movies.

“I did it because I could not walk up a short flight of stairs without stopping to take a break and wiping sweat from my brow,” Shonda writes in the latest Shondaland newsletter.

“I did it because my body was physically rebelling against the brain that had been ignoring it for so long. My body was rising up to overthrow my brain. But first, it needed to catch its breath.”

“Losing weight is not a topic I like discussing,” this TV writer explains.

“Why? Because there is nothing fun or interesting or great about it. I hated losing weight. I hated every single second of it. And I hate every single second of maintaining my weight, too.”

“I miss eating all the fried chicken,” Shonda adds, parenthetically.

“And I don’t just mean that I miss eating all the fried chicken on my plate. Or that I miss eating all the fried chicken I can find. No.

“I miss eating ALL THE FRIED CHICKEN. All of it. Every piece, everywhere.

“Losing weight is annoying and hard and painful and no fun and a terrible, terrible, unnatural struggle against your body’s natural wishes, hopes and dreams.”

Even worse than losing the weight, however — and “so much more horrifying” — was how people treated her afterward.

She says women she barely knew gushed over her like she was holding a newborn and men took time to converse with her at length.

“But even more disconcerting was that all these people suddenly felt completely comfortable talking to me about my body,” she says.

“Telling me I looked ‘pretty’ or that they were ‘proud of me’ or that ‘wow, you are so hot now’ or ‘you look amazing!’”

“After I lost weight, I discovered that people found me valuable,” the 47-year-old writes.

“Worthy of conversation. A person one could look at. A person one could compliment. A person one could admire. A person.

“You heard me. I discovered that now people saw me as a person.”

“What the hell did they see me as before?” Shonda wonders.

“How invisible was I to them then? How hard did they work to avoid me? What words did they use to describe me? What value did they put on my presence at a party, a lunch, a discussion?”

“These days, I feel like a chunky spy in a thinner world. Strangers tell fat jokes in front of me. Jokes not meant for me. But… completely for the woman I used to be 150 pounds ago. The woman I could be again one day. The woman I will always be inside.”

“Being thinner doesn’t make you a different person,” Shonda concludes. “It just makes you thinner.

With that in mind, she signs off on her letter by recommending the book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, the new book by Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay.

“It will change how you look at the world,” she raves.

“It will make you know you are not alone. It will give you the gift of standing in another woman’s shoes.

“It will maybe allow you, down the road, to provide a window of kindness and sisterhood to another woman who needs it.”

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

From the New York Times best-selling author of Bad Feminist, a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself. "I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe.