Star Jones

Star Jones
Have you met Miss Jones?


Loving YOURSELF enough to be ANY means necessary!

I love myself.  I love my brain, my heart, my smile, my candor, my inquisitiveness, my interest in others, my confidence, my ability to forgive and show love.  I love the law.  I love that I know God...and he knows me.  I love that I'm smart, strong, confident, courageous, honest and trustworthy.  I love ME!  This is not a recent revelation; it is a lifelong reality.

But for a long time it was incomplete; for you see...even with all that I loved about myself ...I didn't love myself enough to be a healthy weight.  

I didn't use that famous strength, confidence, honesty and courage in the one area that matters above all:  taking care of my health.

When it came to my weight...I was weak, shy, sneaky, conniving, secretive, ashamed and emotionally cripple.  I defined myself partially through carrying those extra pounds.  I liked being the smart "chubby" girl in the room without having to compete with the vapid "pretty"ones.  I could be "one of the girls" because they never saw me a competition and I could be "one of the boys" because they never saw me as potential.  I thought I had it made...

That was until I found myself unable to sleep through the night, unable to breathe without sounding like I was having an asthma attack, unable to walk without being winded, developing pulmonary and heart issues and on the cusp of diabetes; that I realized I didn't love myself at all.  All those things I loved about me would be gone and forgotten if I died because I was too scared, lazy, undisciplined and proud to get help with the greatest health challenge I had ever faced.  I was morbidly obese and slowly killing myself.  

It wasn't like I didn't know I was overweight.

Sadly, I'm not the only one.  Everyone I know or have talked to over the last six years since I had weight loss surgery and began this journey has said the same thing to me..."It's not like I didn't know I was fat."  300 pounds is pretty hard to hide.  But honestly, it all became real to me when I stopped using words like "heavy" "full-figured" "plus-sized"& "phat" & start saying "obese" "morbidly obese" "unhealthy" and "dying" instead.  

Harsh words for a harsh reality.  I could smile at the world in anyone else; but when you find yourself alone in your bathtub and you're too big to stretch your arm across the tub to adjust the water one needs to point out that you are too damn big.  But it took instances like that to make me decide to step out on faith for ME.

As most people now know, after serious consultation with my doctors, I decided to have Gastric Bypass Surgery.  It wasn't the "easy way out."  It was the "necessary way in" for me.  

It is important for me to convey with all sincerity that my path is not necessarily your path to healthy weight loss. Only you and your doctor can design a plan that will work in the long-term for you.  Weight Loss Surgery is a major life altering change and I had great insurance, financial  resources, tremendous support & no obligations other than me. This doesn't make me "special"...just really blessed and I don't for a minute take it for granted.  However, let me say this, having Weight Loss Surgery started me on a healthy path, but changing my lifestyle habits, portion control, exercise and discipline has kept me on that path. Six years after surgery...I have stayed within 5 pounds of my target goal weight for FOUR straight years. It is truly the greatest accomplishment of my life.

When I decided to have Gastric Bypass, I knew I'd take some criticism.  I honestly didn't know it would be as intense as it was...and I didn't help by trying to be slick and telling only what I wanted to tell about what I was going through.  I didn't lie about it...not ANYONE.  I just didn't talk about it in public because, I wasn't ready to talk about it.  No apologies, no further explanations...just straight talk. 

It has taken me years of therapy to get to this point because I was used to evaluating my self worth through the eyes of others, but the day I stopped worrying what others thought about what I did to take care of me...was the day I REALLY got healthy.  So let me put this issue to bed once and for all as bluntly as I can:  I didn't get healthy for YOU...I got healthy for I talked about it when I could handle it.  I talked about it when I figured it out.  I talked about it when I was no longer afraid that I would go back to my old habits.  I talked about it when I had something to say.

And I'm saying something in "Heart of the City...Dying to Eat in Jackson," a documentary for BET that addresses the obesity epidemic in the African American community.  We as a community are slowly killing ourselves with Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke and High Blood Pressure; and the weapon of choice is food.  That is not a is a fact.  

The statistics are staggering.  Every single state in the US (except for Colorado) has obesity rates in excess of 20%.  The poorest states have obesity rates of 30% or more and Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the land at nearly 1/3 of all residents being obese or morbidly obese.  When you isolate the African-American community, in nearly every state we are at a 35-45% obesity rate and some statistics suggest that black women are particularly at many states, nearly 50% fall into the obese category.  When I saw the obesity trends among children (black girls ages 12-19 are almost at 30%...double the rate of caucasian girls!)  I started to cry...

That's when I decided it was time for me to say something.

I'm one of the few public people in news, entertainment, philanthropy and law who can or will say that I know what it feels like to weigh 300 pounds, to lose more than I now weigh and to maintain that weight loss for significant period of time.  God has given me an amazing public platform to share my thoughts, ideas, opinions, knowledge and expertise. It would be unfair and tremendously selfish of me if I didn't use it for the good of my people and my community.  

There are resources out there.  But the first step starts with loving yourself enough to be any means necessary!

My BET "Heart of the City" documentary on Obesity premieres Sunday, November 15th at 10pm/9c on BET.  Click here for a sneak peek.

Note:  All of the highlighted links connect you to further information on this vital topic!

Thank you to the people of Jackson, Mississippi who welcomed me, BET and our cameras into their lives.  Your stories and your struggle with save lives.


  1. I often wonder what makes it so difficult for us to discuss health and weight issues within our community. We had a discussion on twitter about this a few weeks ago - are we satiating our egos? Is it borne of our inability to conceptualize how important these issues are? Or do we neglect to see the prevalence of obesity in our community?

    If you take it a step further, you wonder if that's why we don't visit the doctors as often as we should - fear of being told what we already know and don't want to face.

    I'm interested in seeing the documentary - planning to blog about it, depending on what's in there - and look forward to the dialogue it may spark.

    Best of luck, Soror!

  2. This is a real disconnect with US in the african American communities. We seem to have a lot of underneath pain that keeps us trapped in thee obese bodies. Yes OUR men like women with a little meat on our bones...but somehow we have gotten carried away.

    I was annoyed with you too...intensely because so many folks listen to you and admire you and I felt like you left us in the lurch. But we live and learn and God knows we all have OUR own crosses t bear. I am concerned about our health and our issues with food as love, as compansionship as comfort as solace.

    We need a concentrated effort... a real dialogue and support on what to do and how to be healthy. I am on this path now and it ain't easy. God, we all have our stories that we can absolutley use as our excuse and crutch to keep on continuing with bad eating habits and defending our obsese selves.

    We have to get to the love. We have to LOVE OURSELVES more than what we do, who we love and what we love.

    Continue being the lighthouse...

  3. Thabk you so much for posting this. You just gave me the courage to keep fighting the battle with my weight.

  4. This documentary is so necessary. Food is the weapon of choice and the choice should be "Eat To Live." We do better when we know better. Your decision to live a healthy lifestyle looks good on you. We love you more now because you love you.

  5. Fantastic blog! Thank you for your courage and transparency. Looking forward to watching tonight's airing on BET. Also plan to inform several family members that they need to tune in. Godspeed

  6. Wonderful...thank you so much for being a positive role model. Keep up the great work! Kelli from Pascagoula, MS

  7. Star, TX is right up there at the top 10% of this so call fat list. Let the world know, that scientist have found a stress gene that causes blacks to gain weight at alarming amount. Then,of course, we do not have excess to the doctor,due to lack of insurance.

  8. Great blog, thank you for sharing this information. Looking forward to seeing the documentary tonight on BET.

    From Toronto, Canada
    Stacey Marie Robinson

  9. I have also come to the same conclusion. That loving myself does not mean accepting that I am unhealthy. God has blessed me for this not to be an esteem issue or trying to attract someone but its time to be healthy and enjoy the prosperous life He has for me. My trainer said that I should want be able to enjoy my future grandchildren and not have them push me around in wheelchair. That image is very vivid for me and it motivates me to stay on this journey until I reach the destination of health and fitness.

    Thank you Star for exposing this ugly truth that has become too acceptable in the Black community.

    Be Blessed,

  10. This was the hardest thing for me to watch but so necessary. As a resident of Jackson, I fall into the category of women that were profile in your show. Thank you so much for bringing it to the spotlight and at the same time providing encouragement to those of us who are struggling. Dialogue is truly needed within the community to make everyone understand how serious this is. I am on the list for surgery (waiting on the insurance approval) but in the meantime, I'm doing all I can to help myself.

  11. Star,

    This is a great blog. You are very insightful and a great writer. You've got a new fan for this site.

    I am excited to see how far you have come in your self discovery. So many of us are on that same journey. I am one. It is so easy to be obese and identify with all of those around us who are also obese, rather than realizing that we need to do something soon or we are on the fast track to illness and death.

    I am an intelligent person. Logically, I know my weight is unhealthy. My high blood pressure is one indicator. Becoming winded after one flight of stairs is another. I have the desire to lose the weight, but I can't muster up the commitment even after knowing what I know. I continue to fail. Michelle

  12. The Heart of the City - Dying to Eat In Jackson, MS was a great documentary of what we as African American's needed to witness. Star I wish you could extend the inviatation to all states that suffer with this problem. However, I was inspired and my friends that viewed were too and we are doing something about it! You inspired me when I saw you in person and by letting me know it's not just about the looks it's about my health! May you continue to maintain and enjoy the new you!


Your comments are welcome as long as they are in keeping with the spirit of this blog. They must be positive about your life, your community, our nation or our world. They must elevate...not denigrate...and if you criticize me or my position...state your name and email address so I know who you are and can address you directly. My rules. Star