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Table of contents

From wholesome prime time in America's living rooms, Valerie moved to late nights with the hardest-partying band of the decadent eighties when she became, at twenty, wife to rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Losing It is Valerie's frank account of her life backstage and in the spotlight: the ups and downs of teen stardom, her complicated marriage to a brilliant, tormented musical genius, the joys of motherhood, and her very public struggle with her weight.

Surprising, uplifting, and empowering, Losing It chronicles Valerie's journey as she finds new love, raises a terrific kid, and motivates other women to take back their lives. Daydream Believer. Youve Got the Part. Tumbleweed Connections. Love Lies Bleeding.

Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time by Valerie Bertinelli

Runnin with the Devil. And the Cradle Will Rock. Feel Your Way Tonight. Regaining My Life. Bring Home the Fun. The Vision. Tiny Dancer. Overweight, alone, and horribly depressed, I kept eating poppers and everything else in my path. After Touched went off the air, I returned home and became a hermit. In reality, I was hiding from the one person who could help solve my problems: me. That was hard to believe. But once I stopped, the weight came right back, and, unfortunately with a little extra.

While I hate to admit it, I was on the verge of giving up and accepting that I was never going to look the way I wanted to—or feel the way I wanted to either. I used to say half-jokingly that I was going to give up, move to the mountains, and be the quirky old fat lady down the street with forty-some-odd cats.

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Publicly, it was the start of a diet where the stakes were total humiliation and embarrassment if I failed to reach my goal. Privately, it was, as my fellow Jenny Craiger Kirstie Alley promised, not just a diet but really the start of a journey. She was right. Creating this happy picture was a puzzle that took my entire adult life till now to solve.

After that, it was just a matter of portion control, exercise, and self-discipline. The weight loss and renewed zest for life go hand in hand. These days I really do bring home the fun. There are also exciting times, emotional moments, and life as it happened. I know the answer to that question. We go through the same things. With only a few minutes before show time in Toronto, I felt the excitement pulse through me as I walked down a corridor in the bowels of the arena.

I barely heard the sound of my heels clicking on the cement floor over the din of the crowd coming in through the doors.

Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time Audiobook by Valerie Bertinelli

Out front, the Air Canada Centre arena was filled to the rafters with fans anticipating more than two hours of head-thumping, party-time rock from Van Halen. It was impossible not to feel the excitement. I smiled to myself, enjoying a flashback. The first time I wore an all-access pass to a Van Halen concert was in It felt strange to be on tour as the mother of one of the musicians.

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Wolfie, who had taken over on bass for Michael Anthony, gave me a big hug when I walked in. Would our relationship change?


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Would he change? As it turned out, I dealt with him as I always have—like his mom. In return I got a semi-annoyed Maaaaa! Next to me was the bathroom door. I popped in to check my eye makeup after tearing up slightly just because I am his mom. Though no longer married, we tried hard to make our crazy version of a family work. He smiled. Look at my hair, he said. Janie cut it. Janie was his girlfriend. What do you think? A few minutes later, Ed, followed by Wolfie, walked onstage and rekindled the love affair between the band and twenty thousand fans with the opening chords of You Really Got Me.

The hard-rocking songs took me back to another time, but something was different. I noticed it while watching from the soundboard, and then again as I walked around, burning off nervous energy. Ed, though playing guitar spectacularly, was having equipment trouble. I saw him pushing buttons and talking to a tech off to the side of the stage.

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It was the kind of situation that used to set him off into an alcoholic-fueled rage, but he kept his cool while they tried to fix the problems. As they hammered through a set list of hits, I ended up in front of the stage, right in front of Wolfie. He looked down at me and smiled. I mouthed, I love you. He did the same to me. A few people came up to me and said, You must be so proud. I was. I really was. Hurrying onto their buses after a hug and a kiss, they made a quick getaway for the next city.

My boyfriend Tom talked me through a few tears. There was no use hiding my feelings. My baby was on tour, and I needed consoling. It was Ed, who, despite the late hour, was wide awake as his bus sped along a highway. Of course, those times were in the past, and our lives had changed. Still, in some ways, we were becoming, dare I say it, friends.

I noticed you had a difficult night but were able to work through it, I said. I was impressed.


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At that time, both of us were involved in our own efforts at self-improvement. I was seven months into my Jenny Craig diet, and Ed was working hard to stay sober after years of battling alcoholism. All the reviews of the tour had mentioned that he looked healthy. They also noted the grin that he wore through the entire show. Our conversation was warm and supportive. Neither of us was a great communicator. When faced with a problem, I was expected to suck it up.

Ed was no better. He expressed himself best through music. So as we talked easily and honestly, I wanted to break into the conversation and point it out. Instead I thought fleetingly of difficult times we had put behind us and appreciated the harmonious moment we were in. After hanging up, I walked into the dressing area outside the bathroom and allowed myself a moment of reflection before changing clothes. Tom was waiting for me to get into bed, and Wolfie and Ed were on the road. I felt fit, physically and emotionally.

The jeans I stepped out of were a size 8. Slipping into a T-shirt, I allowed myself an approving look in the mirror. It was the payoff of hard work and many prayers. A year earlier, almost to the day, I had arrived at a crossroads where either I was going to get my shit together or spend the rest of my life disappointed with myself.

The catalyst was Claire, a movie about a mother with psychic powers that I starred in for the Hallmark Channel.

Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time

Within ten minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, I fought the urge to run into my room and cry. Normally actors fall on one of two sides. Others hate it. But if need be, I can do it.

But not even professional coiffing, makeup, and lighting helped me in Claire. What I saw on the screen horrified me.