Bethenny Frankel on 'How America Gets Fat'

Reality star Bethenny Frankel talks food, fame and peeing in a champagne bucket.

ByUrsula Fahy
December 22, 2010, 3:09 PM

Jan. 4, 2011 — -- She's the self-proclaimed queen of TMI -- too much information -- and, even during a yoga lesson, Bethenny Frankel can't help but overshare.

"This is [the] plank pose," she said as she balanced her upper body on her elbows. "This is good for looking at your cleavage."

Frankel is the hard-charging reality show star who has spent years cracking lewd jokes: "Think of my vagina as a vase. If you sleep with me, you need to send it flowers," is one of her more famous quips.

"Primetime: Celebrity Weight Loss -- What Really Happens" is an hour-long special airing on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10 p.m. ET.

But she's more than just a naughty, quick wit -- these days, Frankel, a trained former chef, is busy building a multi-million dollar empire on three "f" words: food, fitness and fame. Nutrition books, workout videos and a line of low-calorie "SkinnyGirl" foods are among her many ventures, which in 2010, earned Frankel an estimated $4 million, according to The Daily Beast.

CLICK HERE to view some of Bethenny's latest recipes for healthy meals.

It's a far cry from Frankel's life just three years ago -- when she said she couldn't afford to pay her rent.

Gifts from boyfriends helped her get by, she said.

"I dated guys that were rich and they helped me with my rent," she said.

Frankel's fans first discovered her as a contestant on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," where Frankel ultimately placed second.

She went on to raise eyebrows on the reality show "The Real Housewives of New York" before getting pregnant, getting married and getting her own reality show, "Bethenny Getting Married?"

Most recently, the new mom donned ice skates for ABC's "Skating With the Stars."

Her popularity stems from her ability to show her authentic self, warts and all.

"I showed the little minutia like what happens when you have to pee and you're 7 and ½ months pregnant and you have to walk down the aisle? If it the classiest thing to pee in a champagne bucket? No. Was it my only option at the time? Yes," Frankel said, recalling a memory that was captured by cameras on "Bethenny Getting Married."

"So it's the in between -- the stuff that's really going on in people's houses, the breast feeding, the staying up all night, the not having time and, you know, just what goes on in a marriage," she said.

Frankel: 'No One Ever Got Fat' With One Cookie

When it comes to staying fit, Frankel is adamant about one thing: Diets don't work.

Her New York Times bestselling book, "Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting" (CLICK HERE to read an excerpt) was "written to end all diets," she said.

"It has changed women's lives. It has taught them how to live at a Thanksgiving table, at a trip to Italy, without having the fear of food," she said.

Her advice? Stop obsessing about food, eat small portions and never deprive yourself.

"No one ever got fat on having one cookie," she said. "Someone got fat on having a cookie, beating themselves up about it, having a pint of ice cream, a piece of pizza and saying they will be good tomorrow. That's how America gets fat."

Frankel said she was raised by a mother who was obsessive about food and taught her to be critical of her own body. At the age of 8, she said she was sent to an obesity clinic. Frankel estimated she was about 10 pounds overweight at the time.

"I grew up in a house where fat was sort of judged negatively," she said.

While her mother has previously denied her daughter's claims, Bethenny said her food struggled only grew, as did her financial struggles.

Today, Frankel said she understands concerns raised by nutritionists who have questioned her advice.

"I don't want to talk like I'm some kind of authority," she said. "I'm just a woman like other women who doesn't have a Ph.d. in anything but knows what it's like to kind of struggle with your weight."

For a woman who makes a living being relatable, her very unrelatable baby weight loss created a backlash. She lost 30 pounds just three weeks after giving birth.

Frankel defended her weight loss.

"If you give birth and the next day go on some crazy diet, what will happen is that you'll lose five pounds then you'll gain 15 because you can't sustain that," she said. "All that happened was I [had] given birth and kind of just existed and had always been healthy. But even during my pregnancy I ate 500 more calories a day probably... If I wanted cake I had cake."

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