Inside Kirstie Alley's controversial weight loss journey with Jenny Craig and the infamous 'circus fat' ad

Inside Kirstie Alley's controversial weight loss journey with Jenny Craig and the infamous 'circus fat' ad
Kirstie Alley gained and lost weight several times during her acting career (Veronica's Closet/Getty Images via NBC, Evan Agostini, Jamie McCarthy,

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Late actress Kirstie Alley had seen a major share of ups and downs in her weight-loss journey. The 71-year-old's odyssey was not easy which makes it very relatable for the fans who had been with her tumultuous journey in terms of weight-loss wins and setbacks. Before the start of 2004, the mother-of-two said that she never faced an issue regarding her weight during her childhood days but it changed one summer when she gained over 40 pounds. 

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As per the reports of OK!, Kirstie said, "I spent my whole life thin, then one summer I probably gained around 40 or 50 pounds." She later told Oprah in 2004, that she was not even aware of the fact that she had an issue with her weight at first. "Honestly, I didn't know how fat I was," she said. "Thanks to the tabloids, I went, 'Damn, girl, you're fat!'" The Emmy and Golden Globe award winner later revealed that it was due to her eating habits, she gained more weight before even realizing it. She added that she often over-ate for months around the holidays. “It’s not in my nature to plan,” Kirstie told People in 2016. “I’m a very spontaneous person, and that’s how I got fat." 

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Kirstie launched a television show in 2005, named 'Fat Actress' which was based on her struggle to maintain her position in the Hollywood industry while living in a world that seems to prefer a certain body type. "I think women across the country will identify with her," co-creator Brenda Hampton told TODAY in 2004. "It’s difficult to lose weight and find a relationship, no matter where you live. It makes it all the more painful when you’re in the spotlight." Unfortunately, the show was not renewed after its first season. 

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However, that did not stop her from letting her fans know about the struggles she faced in her life as she published a number of books such as How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions of a Big-Butted Star.

2004-2007: Kirstie signs with Jenny Craig

Actress Kirstie Alley attends Showtime's Premiere of
Actress Kirstie Alley attends Showtime's Premiere of "Fat Actress" at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome on February 23, 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

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Jenny Craig is a famous American weight loss, weight management, and nutrition company which has more than 700 weight management centers in Australia, the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. In 2004, Kirstie signed with the company as a spokesperson and thanks to the company, she lost 75 pounds. She later spoke about her iconic weight loss in 2006 on The Oprah Show while wearing a red bikini. She stayed as a spokesperson with the company until 2007.

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2007-2011: Kirstie gains weight 

For about three years Kirstie kept off the 75 pounds she lost on Jenny Craig but started to gain her weight again in the following years. According to People, she weighed over 230 pounds just before starting Season 12 of 'Dancing With The Stars' in 2011. She made headlines again after she came in second in the show and said that she lost over 100 pounds, an astounding achievement which she credits to a combination of hours spent in the studio and an organic diet and products from Organic Liaison, a company which she had founded in 2010.

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Actress Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of
Actress Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of "The Runaways" at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on March 17, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Critics were skeptical, but Kirstie stood up to the haters."NO surgery, NO flippin lasers, NO barfing, NO starving...Jeez...my products, organic food, dance," she tweeted a few months after she wrapped the show.

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2014-2016: Kirstie rejoins Jenny Craig

Kirstie rejoined Jenny Craig as a spokesperson again in 2014, the reason being she wanted to lose the 30 pounds that she gained at that time. "It's so important for women to look the way they want to look and feel the way they want to feel for their own reasons, not because someone's telling them to or because it's fashionable or trendy," she told Women's Health in 2014. "Losing weight is losing weight, but just because you're skinny doesn't mean you're happy."  Kirstie had lost 50 pounds on Jenny Craig by 2015.

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Kirstie Alley attends
Kirstie Alley attends "Constellations" Broadway opening night at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

According to US Magazine, Kirstie told the Today Show, that instead of losing, she was newly focused on maintaining her current weight.  "I was good for a while and then I wasn't good, and the weight crept up", she told as per the reports of Yahoo. In an advertisement for Jenny Craig, Alley said, "I'm not like circus fat, I just want to lose 20 pounds." Twitter users lashed back after the comments aired, calling the phrase "demeaning" and "offensive."

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"I grew up [in Kansas] in a generation of not overweight people. ... I grew up in an era where my dad took me to the Kansas State Fair or the circus -- they had actual fat ladies in the circus," she later told to Diets in Review site. She added that she's always made fun of her own weight. 

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2017: Kirstie successfully maintains her weight loss

Kirstie told People in 2017 that she had successfully maintained her 50-pound weight loss by avoiding certain foods, including the holiday treats. "I’m much more disciplined," she told the magazine. "I love sugar cookies that are frosted with Santa’s faces and trees, so I didn’t order any and I didn’t have any. My friends were dismayed because I usually give them out as gifts."

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2018: Kirstie getas diagnosed with Lyme disease

Kirstie Alley enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios on August 16, 2018 in Borehamwood, England.
Kirstie Alley enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios on August 16, 2018 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Kirstie said on the podcast The Dan Wootton Interview that she was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2017 which led to her gaining some weight back. When Wootton asked Kirstie if she could ever be satisfied with staying at a heavier weight, she said, "No. I don’t think I look good when I’m overweight. ... I know when I’m on the thinner side, I love the way I feel. I have more energy."

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