How Chrissy Metz's Family Shaped Her Relationship With Food

This Is Us star Chrissy Metz's struggle with weight has been well-documented. Throughout her career, Metz has argued why it's nobody else's business what she does with her body. The actress has even opened up about how her weight negatively affected her ability to get acting roles, particularly early on. When she was 35, Metz even considered giving up after her appearance on American Horror Story didn't propel her to mainstream success as expected.

After being cast as Kate on This Is Us, Metz learned she would have to lose weight as part of her character's journey and, although she was happy about it, the actress made it clear to TVLine. "Whether or not I lose weight or stay the same, it's purely a choice of mine for health. Not because I think that plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, big bodies aren't attractive — because I think they're awesome and sexy." Meanwhile, her issues around food started when Metz was much younger.

Chrissy Metz has struggled with her weight since she was a kid

Metz admitted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she's been overweight since she was a child. "I was born chubby and as I got older at different times in my life I was thinner or more active or playing sports, but I was definitely always a chubbier kid," she explained. The This Is Us star advised that her friends could eat whatever they fancied, but Metz knew deep down that she wasn't the same.

The actress even went to Weight Watchers at the age of 11, revealing, "I was the youngest person in the damned room and it was awkward." Metz grew up in Gainesville, Florida, with her mother, stepfather, and four siblings. The family went through many hardships, chief among which was a lack of food. As the actress admitted to Glamour, "There were nights my mom wouldn't eat dinner. I knew she was giving up food to make sure we could eat, but when you're 9 or 10 years old, you can't help. It was devastating." 

Chrissy Metz's issues with food began very early on

As Metz acknowledges, her emotional issues with food are tied to those early struggles. She explained to Glamour, "That's why food equals love in my family. It's the way we showed love — my grandmother would make me a grilled cheese sandwich every time she'd pick me up from school. I really valued that attention. As I got older, that turned into, 'Oh, I'm happy — let's celebrate and eat. I'm sad? Let me eat my feelings.'"

In her memoir, This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today, the This Is Us star admitted, "We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness," (via CNN). Likewise, her body seemed to "offend" Metz's stepfather, leading her to binge in secret. Thankfully, she can now use all of those experiences to inform her journey, and to help others, too.