According to It’s Bigger Than Me, two in every five adults in the U.S. are living with obesity, and only 55 percent of those people receive a formal diagnosis.
To raise awareness for the health condition, celebrities including actress and comedienne Yvette Nicole Brown and Queen Latifah are partnering with It’s Bigger Than Me to help spotlight the facts about obesity and snuff out the stigma.
“It’s Bigger Than Me is an important cause because it provides education and awareness around obesity,” Brown tells NewBeauty. “There’s a stigma around obesity, almost as if you’re obese because you did something wrong. Obesity is a disease,” she says, expressing gratitude for organizations like It’s Bigger Than Me for helping make the important distinction.
Brown’s relationship with obesity is a story she’s not shy to tell. “If you watched me in Community, you know Shirley was a fluffy woman,” she says, laughing. “And you can see that as the seasons went on, I got bigger and bigger.”
Like many of us, Brown admits she turned to food for comfort. “At that period of time in my life, I was sad. Not because of Community, I was just sad,” she shares. “And so I ate because of it. I was eating so much sugar on set that I gave myself diabetes.”
While lifestyle changes helped manage her new diagnosis and help her shed weight, Brown says her first step in managing her diabetes was prioritizing her mental health.
“The first thing I did was talk to a therapist. I knew I was sad and I knew I was overeating because of it, so talking to a professional to figure out why and get to the other side was the first change I made.”
While Brown has cracked the code to living a balanced and mental health–focused life, she says she’s never been an expert when it comes to wellness or beauty, though her flawless skin says otherwise.
We had to know what the 51 year-old does to remain looking so youthful, and to our surprise, it’s quite simple: “It’s all about drinking lots of water and being kind to people,” says Brown. “I believe beauty comes from the inside and I believe minding your business [laughs] and being a good person helps you sleep better at night.”