The following excerpt from Valerie Bertinelli's new book, "Finding It -- and Satisfying My Hunger for Life Without Opening the Fridge," a follow-up to her memoir "Losing It -- and Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time," comes courtesy of Simon & Schuster publishers.
The Sex Talk
The only time I enjoyed being fat was when I was pregnant. I weighed nearly 180 pounds, and I was in heaven. As I ate Italian subs that my mom made to tide me over between meals, I would smile at the thought of the miracle of bringing a life into this world, a life that I would raise and nurture, guide and fill with love and wisdom. It was a special time in my life.
I did not think the same thing when that miraculous creation of mine called on the phone from the road where he was touring with his father's band and said, "Hey, Ma, can I sleep at my girlfriend's house?"
I wanted to vomit.
Actually, I wanted to open the fridge and eat everything on the second shelf, the third shelf, and then the top shelf. Not even the old brick of cheddar with the mold on it was safe from the surge of anxiety and uncertainty I felt at that moment.
I kept my head on, though, and said, "I don't think it's a good idea."
After we'd said goodbye, I held the phone at arm's length in shock. Wolfie's question lingered in the air, like a smoke signal in an old western portending imminent danger.
I looked around for Tom to ask him how I had gotten to this place. He had gone outside, which was lucky for me. With gleeful sarcasm, he would have reminded me that this situation was the result of one night nearly eighteen years earlier when I had gotten frisky with my then-husband, Ed. Now I had a sixteen-and-three-quarters- year-old teenager who wanted to sleep with his girlfriend. Then Tom came through the front door whistling his happy tune. I was still debating whether to eat or throw up. I filled him in on the news.
"Tell me again—what did Wolfie say exactly?" he asked.
"He said he wanted to sleep at Liv's house," I said.
"Well, that's not exactly saying he wants to sleep with her," he said.
"You're talking semantics," I said. "I'm thinking sex."
"You are?" he said, his face unfolding in a giant smile.
"Oh, shut up," I snapped. "What is it with men? I'm in a quandary, and you've somehow turned this around and think you're going to get lucky."
"I'm not?" he asked, with a sad face.
"Come on," I said. "Help me think this through."
We sat down at the kitchen table and talked. Tom pointed out that Wolfie had called home to ask permission. He hadn't slept over at Liv's house, even though he was halfway across the country and traveling as part of a rock-and-roll band. Tom suggested I think about how Wolfie's dad had been at that same age, something that made me say a quick prayer of thanks. Wolfie knew right from wrong, Tom pointed out. If he didn't, he was trying to figure it out and had looked to his mother for advice. He was a good kid. Ergo, what was I worried about?
"Losing him!" I said with an exaggerated whimper.
At the time, I weighed 132.2 pounds, down 40 pounds from when I had begun a very public diet earlier that spring. I had already surpassed my original weight loss goal of 30 pounds and at some point -- I had failed to note it on my calendar -- I had gone from losing weight to being on maintenance.