Skip Nav
Healthy Recipes
Want a Flat Belly? This Smoothie Will Help Get You There
Beginner Fitness Tips
This Is Exactly What Happens If You Miss a Workout . . . or 2 or 3 or 12
Popsugar Interviews
Exercising Too Much Will Stall Your Weight Loss and Even Make You Gain Weight — Here's How

Have You Ever Carried Protective Pounds Like Brooke Shields?

It's hard to imagine the beautiful Brooke Shields feeling uncomfortable in her own skin, but she expressed the insecurity she felt as a young actress in a recent interview with Health magazine. When asked about her biggest health regret, Brooke confided that she wished she'd learned self-acceptance much earlier, and explained how her lack of confidence prevented her from losing her virginity before age 22. She continued:

I had the public and all this pressure, and I wish I had just gotten it over with in the beginning when it was sort of OK. I think I would have been much more in touch with myself. I think I wouldn’t have had issues with weight — I carried this protective 20 pounds [in college]. It was all connected. And to me, that’s a health regret.

Learning to love your body is an essential piece of building self-esteem, and Brooke's was knocked down when she experienced public scrutiny. The additional pounds allowed her to put distance between herself and anyone who might get close to her and make her feel even more vulnerable. Have you been through similar weight issues?


Join The Conversation
Advah Advah 8 years
Re the virginity quote, 99% of the people I know didn't have sex before they were at least 18-19, and most of them were actually in their early twenties. It's weird, I grew up thinking that most people lose their virginity when they're 16ish, and now I realise that while it does happen like that for some, it's far from being the majority. I'm not saying there's a "right" age for that, but I'm surprised that people consider still being a virgin after 20 is unusual. :shrug:
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I used to carry an extra 90 lbs of weight, but I don't really know if I kept it on for protection or just because I didn't really care much about getting fit. In high school, I was definitely an introvert and I liked focusing on my schoolwork instead of worrying about dating guys. I figured that since I was fat, no guy would ever like me anyway, so it sort of took some pressure off of me to be dating. Once I got into college and realized that I was definitely becoming "invisible" behind my big fat ass, I decided I needed to get healthier for a myriad of reasons. When I did lose some weight, I did get a lot more attention from guys and at first it was weird, but I soon started to like it and I decided I liked being thin a lot better than being fat, even though I had to eat different foods and work out more. I can definitely understand people who keep extra weight on as a means of burying their feelings, but it only works for so long. You can't avoid life and people forever; you need to face the problems at hand and deal with things internally so you can lose the external weight as well. Oh, and I think it's stupid that people think 22 is "old" to lose one's virginity. I was 23 when I lost mine and I'm proud of it. If you lose your virginity when you're 16 or whatever to some burnout kid from high school, how is that somehow better for your self-esteem than holding out and waiting to lose your virginity to someone decent when you're older and a bit smarter?
TammyO TammyO 8 years
Nope. And i've carried pounds around, but it wasn't like I felt protected by it! I'd rather carry around protective muscle!
stylistashley stylistashley 8 years
I have some protective pounds, mine comes from an attempted sexual assault in college. Back then I was a lot skinnier and got a lot of attention from guys, and one of them decided that he wouldn't take no for an answer. I managed to get away, but as a result I slowly started gaining weight. I didn't realize till later that I allowed the weight gain to happen because as a result guys weren't as attracted to me, which in turn meant that I was less likely to be attacked again. I have dealt with what happened, but I am still dealing with the weight I put on as a result.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
"But would you say that if someone gave you a magic pill that would make you skinny that you wouldn't take it because you would be afraid of what would happen if people noticed you?" Oh no, I would take it in a heartbeat! I personally am in the "if I wasn't fat, life would be perfect" stage. And I would look amazing! It's strange because it's a double-edged sword: I certainly want to be noticed (hey, who doesn't want to be popular?), but I am right now very uncomfortable with people noticing me. I can't take a compliment! But then eventually all the weight would come creeping back - because I didn't deal with the mental aspect of why I put on so much weight in the first place (the worthiness parts and the anger and fear and all that from my younger days), AND because I would be very uncomfortable with people noticing me. So back comes the shield of fat - that way at least nobody will bother me. When your mental script is constantly saying, "you're fat", and then people start looking at you, it becomes, "oh God, what are they staring at? Something else must be wrong with me!" and then you feel guilty and nervous. Like you don't deserve to be looked at. It's very hard to change that script.
kclulu kclulu 8 years
Thanks for the explanation Margokahl. I think I just have trouble with the term "protective". To me, putting on protective weight sounds intentional as in saying "I need to eat 5 cookies after dinner so I can maintain my 20 pounds of protection". However through your description it sounds less blatantly intentional and more symptomatic. If you don't feel you are worthwhile you aren't going to try to lose weight and you will look to food for comfort. That makes sense. But would you say that if someone gave you a magic pill that would make you skinny that you wouldn't take it because you would be afraid of what would happen if people noticed you? Sorry if I am getting too personal but you seemed to be open to talking about it. I just find people's relationships with food very interesting, myself included because there are so many underlying issues with it.
notinthemood notinthemood 8 years
Ha ha ha... Yes, this is a protective 10 lbs... I'm protecting the world, one cookie at a time... lol!
poptart-princess poptart-princess 8 years
i usually regard brooke as a very intelligent and dignified lady, but this comment about virginity is just crap. Ok, what if she HAD experimented with her sexuality earlier but one of her trysts left her heart majorly broken or maybe, in the worst case - date raped? she'd more than likely would have added some padding from those happenings and then would probably be complaining that she carried weight for x-incident and was afraid to truly connect with anyone out of fear of that happening again and she'd be telling us all how she wish she's just waited to give herself to the right person. if you're truly ready for sex, then you more than likely gonna drop any inhibitions and not give a damn what just about anyone - including the media - thinks. i mean, this is a woman who's mom let her pose nude as a child and as i recall, was topless as a teen in "blue lagoon".
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 8 years
*mind and body
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 8 years
I can't believe there's an age limit to losing your virginity. I heard it varied on when a person was ready. I heard of 18 to 28 year olds with their virginity. Just saying, you're ready when you're ready. Also, after I lost weight, people did notice me more and it wasn't all positive attention. However extra won't keep people out of the limelight either. Its really all about confidence in your mind and mind no matter what size you are.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
[last thing, I promise!] CestLaVie, I totally agree with you on the virginity issue. Everywhere the Brooke Shields story has been posted, they've referred to 22 as a "ripe old" or "spinster" age to lose your virginity. Is it really THAT late?! Does that make everyone whose a virgin [possibly not by choice] after 21 a freak of nature or something wrong with them??? I don't get it.
CestLaVie CestLaVie 8 years
Hey. I gotta say it was kind of weird when I read "prevented her from loosing her virginity before the age of 22" like that is a bad thing and if she felt more confident and slept with someone at the age of i.e. 16 it would have been better for her? I don't think women or girls of ANY age should think it a shame to still be a virgin at 22- just saying.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
tlsgirl & kclulu, Protective weight is SO much more than just the physical pounds you are carrying. It DOES make you feel worse. It ruins your life, both because it's there and because of how it makes you feel. But it's a metaphorical barrier between you and other people. Haven't you ever heard of people who "hide behind their weight"? It's just like that. [People do the same thing with being workaholics, if it's easier to think about it that way] In my case, I was always big and didn't worry about it much UNTIL the teasing about being fat started, when I was very young. It didn't encourage me to exercise more or eat less, that's for sure. I was ashamed of being fat. Ironically, the only comfort I had [besides books] was in food. As time went on and I gained more weight, the pounds became a REASON (read: NOT the effect) not to be close to or trust anyone. I was fat anyway, so what's a few more pounds? Nobody will like me anyway. And that really damages you when there are people that actually DO mean you well - the fat is a shield. Albeit, a shield you really don't want and that's actually hard to get rid of, even mentally. That is what I think Brooke meant by protective weight. Of course, I carried a LOT more than 20 lbs. [man I WISH I had that problem!] Now that I'm trying to open up and trust people again, I can start trying to shed the excess - but it's SO hard. The mental stigma is still there, and that's something that's incredibly difficult to get rid of, even after the physical weight is gone. It's a constant battle, believe me. Hope that gave you some insight from an individual perspective. :)
Jabbadoo Jabbadoo 8 years
Kclulu... it makes you feel protected because you stop feeling the attention focused on you. When you carry around an extra 20, 50, 100lbs, you begin to become more and more invisible. Sounds odd, as you are probably thinking as you become heavier more people notice that.. and they do, but they notice the weight, and not the person.. hence the protectiveness factor.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
No, right now, I'm carrying some extra pounds for vanity reasons. :) On me, some extra weight, makes for a more womanly figure (as opposed to looking child-like).
kclulu kclulu 8 years
I don't really get it either tlsirl, I would feel worse too. I am curious though, how does having additional weight make you feel protected?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
No. I think it would me feel worse, rather than protected. I don't really get it, to tell the truth.
robs1325 robs1325 8 years
I still do...
margokhal margokhal 8 years
All of my weight has evolved to be protective, I think. At first, when I was younger it was just "oh whatever, I'm taller and bigger than everybody else". But after the taunting started, I just got bigger. And it was and still is a barrier, in so many ways. It's not just the physical weight, it's what it means and how it makes you act and how you feel about it and how it affects your ENTIRE LIFE that is so devastating.
wiggle wiggle 8 years
I didn't carry extra weight, but I sure did wear some baggy clothes for a spell in college.
Selena Gomez's Sexiest Moment of 2016 Poll
Woman's Post About Wearing a Tight Dress
Sexiest HGTV Star of 2016 Poll
How to Get a Bikini Body
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds