Marie Osmond Opens Up About 50-Pound Weight Loss and ‘Body Dysmorphia’

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  • Marie Osmond, 64, opened up about losing 50 pounds in her 50s.
  • The actress said she experienced “body dysmorphia” while growing up under Hollywood’s microscope, which led her weight to fluctuate throughout adulthood.
  • “We don’t need to be skinny. We need to be healthy,” she said.

At 64, actress, singer, and entertainer Marie Osmond has “done more living” than ever, “because I’m healthy,” she told Drew Barrymore while recently co-hosting The Drew Barrymore Show. However, the path there was winding, and included roadblocks in the form of constant crash dieting, a 50-pound weight loss, and body dysmorphia, she said.

Osmond, now 64, began working with and using NutriSystem around age 50, she told Barrymore, which helped her lose 50 pounds. “Here’s where we have to take ahold of our lives,” she began. “I was in a situation that I had to get out of. I had put 50 pounds on, that’s a lot of weight on me … I’m only five-five. I’m very petite. God had to make me that way to make Donny [Osmond] look macho.”

Osmond doesn’t refer to NutriSystem as a diet, but it could be argued that it is one—the program provides high-protein, ready-made meals and snacks to help members reach weight loss goals. Osmond had experienced both excessive weight loss and what she deemed excessive weight gain, and NutriSystem helped her find a middle ground, she said.

“Women don’t live long in our family,” the former Hallmark Channel star explained. “And so my son came to me, on behalf of all my children, and said, ‘Mom, you’re not gonna live long. You gotta lose weight. It has nothing to do with what you look like. It has to do with that we need you in our lives.’” (Research shows that excess weight has substantial impacts on mortality, largely because it may increase the risk of life-threatening conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and more. However, there is a growing narrative in healthcare about moving away from body mass index and toward metabolic function as a more well-rounded indicator for health.)

That concern from Osmond’s son was triggering for her to receive, given the weight-related shaming she endured from bosses throughout her career that resulted in her cycling through fad diets.

“I did everything you guys,” she said. “I had such head trips growing up [in Hollywood].” At her lowest, Osmond said she was 93 pounds. One day, in a fitting room full of mirrors, she caught a jarring reflection. “Her back, you guys, was this skeleton with skin on it,” she recalled. “And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh.’ And I got up to look at her, and I realized it was me. And it was so scary.”

That’s when things began to change. “I realized that I had body dysmorphia and I fixed that,” she said. Body dysmorphia, also known as body dysmorphic disorder, is a mental health condition that disrupts how you see and feel about your own body and appearance, per the Cleveland Clinic. By the time Osmond was 50, she opted to give up traditional dieting for good. “I just got tired of dieting when I got in my 50s, and my body hated me,” she said.

Given Osmond’s history, starting NutriSystem was an adjustment. “I was so scared because I had never eaten so much food in my life,” she said. “And I realized that we do not need to starve and we do not need to diet and we don’t need to be skinny. We need to be healthy.”

And she can confidently say she has finally met that mark.

If you believe you are struggling with an eating disorder and need support, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at (800) 931-2237. You can text HOME to 741741 to message a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free.

Headshot of Kayla Blanton

Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer-editor who covers health, nutrition, and lifestyle topics for various publications including Prevention, Everyday Health, SELF, People, and more. She’s always open to conversations about fueling up with flavorful dishes, busting beauty standards, and finding new, gentle ways to care for our bodies. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University with specializations in women, gender, and sexuality studies and public health, and is a born-and-raised midwesterner living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two spoiled kitties.

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