‘Empire’ Star Gabourey Sidibe On Her Secret Weight-Loss Surgery: ‘I Love My Body Now’

Gabourey Sidibe is a new woman after going under the knife.

The “Empire” star secretly underwent weight-loss surgery last year and opens up about it for the first time in her new memoir This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. “I just didn’t want to worry,” Sidibe, 33, says of her decision to get laparoscopic bariatric surgery.

Sidibe opted for the surgery after she and her older brother Ahmed, 34, were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. “I truly didn’t want to worry about all the effects that go along with diabetes. I genuinely [would] worry all the time about losing my toes,” she reveals in an excerpt of her memoir published by People

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HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT

The “Precious” star tried to lose weight naturally for more than a decade before following through with the procedure in May 2016. Sidibe was told the surgery does more than slice off the pounds, it helps change her life. “My surgeon said they’d cut my stomach in half,” she continues. “This would limit my hunger and capacity to eat. My brain chemistry would change and I’d want to eat healthier. I’ll take it! My lifelong relationship with food had to change.”

Some detractors would argue that surgery is a “cop out”, but Sidibe strongly disagrees. “The surgery wasn’t the easy way out,” she says. “I wasn’t cheating by getting it done. I wouldn’t have been able to lose as much as I’ve lost without it.” 

The Academy award-nominated actress has since changed her eating habits with help from a nutritionist and has upped her fitness by working out with a personal trainer, swimming and riding a tricycle around the set of “Empire”. 

And she doesn’t plan on settling down anytime soon, “I have a goal right now, and I’m almost there,” she says. “And then once I’ve got it, I’ll set another. But my starting weight and my goal weight, they’re personal. If too many people are involved, I’ll shut down.”

Sidibe has been struggling with her appearance for 27 long years. Since the age of six, the New York native had been coping with her looks and the separation of her parents only made things worse. The future star battled depression, anxiety and bulimia, which she eventually overcame with therapy.

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These days, however, she is a bundle of joy. “I know I’m beautiful in my current face and my current body. What I don’t know about is the next body,” she writes her in her memoir. “I admit it, I hope to God I don’t get skinny. If I could lose enough to just be a little chubby, I’ll be over the moon! Will I still be beautiful then? S**t. Probably. My beauty doesn’t come from a mirror. It never will.”

But a particular dress size isn’t the goal. “There’s nothing ugly about me. Anyone trying to convince me that I am — and it’s usually me — is wasting her time,” she writes. “I was in a war with my body for a long time. If I’d started treating it better sooner, I wouldn’t have spent so many years hating myself. But I love my body now.” 

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare is out in May, one year after her surgery.

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