"The pressure to be thin is ubiquitous in America, and those who are not can face heartbreaking cruelty," the NBC host says.
Megyn Kelly tried to save face Friday morning, after her comments about body shaming went viral for all the wrong reasons.
During an interview with controversial fitness blogger Maria Kang on Thursday's episode of her talk show, Kelly exclaimed, "Some of us want to be shamed! When I was in law school, I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, 'If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, 'Where you going, fat ass?' And it works!" That, unsurprisingly, set off Twitter and even caught backlash from "The View" co-host Meghan McCain.
Today, Kelly kicked off her show addressing her comments, in an attempt to make it clear body shaming is "something I absolultely do not support." She went on to share how she and those close to her all struggled with weight, explaining that, "My entire family is or has been overweight, or obese."
Read her full monologue below:
We begin today with weight in America. Close to forty percent of Americans are obese. They need support, they need kindness and one thing they definitely do not need is to be body-shamed. I said something yesterday on the show that clearly struck a nerve, and I think it's a conversation we need to have openly. We were discussing body shaming others, something I absolutely do not support. In fact, quite the opposite. We had on a woman named Maria Kang. Maria first came to fame a few years ago after she had three babies in three years and she posted a picture of her very toned body online with a caption that read "What’s your excuse?" The internet was not happy, and neither was I when I had her on my old Fox News show where we had a rather contentious exchange. These days Maria has softened her message a bit, and we had another go at it yesterday.
Before saying goodbye, I acknowledged that Maria’s message does actually appeal to some people. She has thousands of followers who have created their own no excuses clubs throughout the country and then I revealed something even I used to do 25 years ago.
Many women have told me that they've done similar things to control their propensity to overeat. I understand that. The pressure to be thin is ubiquitous in America, and those who are not can face heartbreaking cruelty. I do not endorse this reality, the truth is, I loathe it.
My entire family is or has been overweight, or obese. My Nana, my mom, my sister, and my brother. I spoke to my sister yesterday and she gave me permission to share that she was, at one point, over 300 pounds and ultimately chose to have gastric bypass surgery.
One day when I was about six years old, I came home in tears — our neighbor had called my mom fat. I was angry. And upset. And thought it was entirely untrue. But my mother looked at me and said 'I am fat, Meg.' And I said, 'No you're not,' to which she replied 'Megyn, in this house we do not lie to make others feel good.' It was the first time I ever saw my mother through that lens and it was my first lesson about the lens through which most of this country judges heavy people. A brutal and unforgiving one.
By the time I got to middle school, the hormones and the weight kicked in. I was chubby, by any standard and soon I found myself on the wrong side of some vicious bullies. Ones who called me fat, and made fun of my backside, who subjected me to humiliating pranks. Those comments can cut deep, trust me, I know. Soon there were diet pills and obsessive exercise and I had reduced my calorie intake to 500 calories a day. My heart was racing all day, my hair and skin were dry but I was thin. And so unhappy. I was scared of gaining weight because of the insane standard this country holds its women to and because I was and remain afraid of dying in my 40s, which happened to my father.
As an adult I've gotten healthier in my approach to eating, but I like every woman I know, still wrestle with body image, and still cringe when I hear a person attacked for his or her weight. Please know, I would never encourage that toward any person. I've been thinking a lot about why I once encouraged it toward myself. What I know for sure is that weight is an issue for millions of people, thin and heavy alike. And neither deserves to be judged or shamed for how they choose to handle that struggle.