Gabourey Sidibe Reveals Secret Weight-Loss Surgery: ‘My Beauty Doesn’t Come From a Mirror’

Gabourey Sidibe
Gabourey Sidibe attends the 48th NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 11, 2017 in Pasadena, California. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

New year, new Gabourey Sidibe! The Empire star, 33, revealed on Wednesday, March 8, that she quietly underwent weight-loss surgery last year after battling depression, anxiety and bulimia.

In her upcoming memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, which hits bookstores on May 1, Sidibe details the laparoscopic bariatric surgery she had after she and her brother Ahmed, 34, were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. “I just didn’t want to worry,” she told People magazine of her decision. “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.”

The Precious actress tried to lose weight for more than 10 years before she ultimately opted to go under the knife in May 2016. “My surgeon said they’d cut my stomach in half,” she writes in her book, according to excerpts obtained by People. “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.”

Sidibe doesn’t see the surgery as “an easy way out,” she explained to the mag, adding, “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 American Horror Story alum also opened up about how she battled depression, anxiety and bulimia after her parents, Alice and Ibnou, split when she was a child. “It has taken me years to realize that what I was born with is all beautiful,” she writes in her memoir. “I did not get this surgery to be beautiful. I did it so I can walk around comfortably in heels. I want to do a cartwheel. I want not to be in pain every time I walk up a flight of stairs.”

Since her procedure, Sidibe has been working on her diet with help from a nutritionist and is also hitting the gym with a personal trainer. Nearly a year after her surgery, the numbers on her scale continue to go down.

“I have a goal right now, and I’m almost there,” she told People. “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.”

And while she’s excited to see a transformation, the Brooklyn native admits she doesn’t want to lose too much weight. “I know I’m beautiful in my current face and my current body,” she writes in her book. “What I don’t know about is the next body. 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.”

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