Just 24 hours after touting the dubious benefits of fat-shaming on her NBC morning show, Megyn Kelly backtracked on her controversial remarks, revealing that she herself was bullied as a child for being overweight.
The presenter opened Friday’s installment of Megyn Kelly TODAY with an apology, insisting that she would ‘never encourage [body shaming] toward any person.’
A contrite Kelly opened up about her family history with obesity, and her own body image struggles, including being tormented and mocked in middle school, sharply limiting her caloric intake and turning to diet bills as a teen in a desperate bid to shed the pound.
The dramatic about-face came after Kelly faced a furious backlash for telling ‘fit mom’ blogger Maria Kang, of the ‘No Excuses’ campaign fame: ‘Some of us want to be shamed!’
On Thursday, Kelly said on her show: ‘When I was in law school, I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, “If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, ‘Where you going, fat a–?’” And it works!’
Backpedal: Megyn Kelly on Friday took back her comments from Thursday touting the benefits of fat-shaming, telling her audience that she struggled with her weight as a child and was bullied
Confession: In order to shed the pounds, Kelly later in life turned to diet pills, limited herself to 500 calories a day and exercised obsessively
Kelly was swiftly condemned for her comments online, even inciting a strongly worded tweet from fellow media personality Meghan McCain, who reminded the mother-of-three TV host: ‘there are real life ramifications for fat shaming of any kind, it is NEVER acceptable.’
This morning, Kelly, 47, told her audience that her entire family has been overweight or obese, and that her sister at one time tipped the scales at over 300lbs before undergoing a gastric bypass surgery.
Kelly recounted how at age six, she came home in tears after hearing a neighbor call her mother ‘fat.’
‘It was the first time I ever saw my mother through that lens and it was my first lesson about the lens through which most of this country judges heavy people,’ Kelly said. ‘A brutal and unforgiving one.’
Kelly said that by the time she got to middle school, she was ‘chubby by any standard.’
Kelly, 47, said she comes from a heavyset family that have struggled with obesity (Kelly is pictured on her show with her relatives)
Kelly revealed her sister at one time weighed 300lbs and had a gastric bypass surgery
Bullied: As a middle-schooler, Kelly said she was taunted and mocked for being ‘chubby’
‘I found myself on the wrong side of some vicious bullies, ones who called me fat, and made fun of my backside, who subjected to humiliating pranks,’ she went on to say. ‘Those comments cut deep, trust me, I know.
‘Soon there were diet pills and obsessive exercise and I had reduced my calorie intake to 500 calories a day,’ she continued. ‘My heart was racing all day, my hair and skin were dry but I was thin. And so unhappy.
‘I was scared of gaining weight because of the insane standard this country holds its women to and because I was and remain afraid of dying in my 40s, which happened to my father.’
As an adult, Kelly said has adopted a healthier lifestyle, but like most women she knows, she continues to wrestle with her body image.
Kelly concluded that hearing someone being attacked for their weight makes her ‘cringe,’ and that no one – thin or heavy – ‘deserves to be judged or shamed for how they choose to handle that struggle.’
Kelly sparked controversy on Thursday when she said she had her step-father fat shame her when she started gaining weight in law school
Kelly made the remarks while interviewing ‘fit mom’ blogger Maria Kang (left)
Kelly’s guest on Thursday’s show, Maria Kang, stirred up controversy four years ago when she posted a picture showing off her trim physique, surrounded by her three children.
The image was captioned ‘What’s your excuse?’ and many mother took offense with the image, saying it fat-shamed those who weren’t as thin as Kang. Kang has since changed her message, releasing an updated image recently with a new tagline: ‘What’s your reason?’
But Kelly seemed sympathetic to Kang and her initial message on her show, because fat shaming helped her lose weight once.
Like Kang, Kelly is also a mother of three and has managed to stay svelte.
Peter Kirwan, Kelly’s stepfather, spoke about his stepdaughter in a video in the first days of Megyn Kelly Today
For years, Kelly worked as an aerobics instructor (left). She has managed to stay slim after having three kids. She’s pictured on the right in her high school graduation photo
Kelly pictured during her cheerleading days in high school
Meghan McCain was one of many to criticize Kelly’s remarks online
The former Fox News presenter worked for many years as an aerobics instructor.
MEGYN KELLY’S F-FACTOR DIET: TODAY HOST KEEPS TRIM BY CUTTING DOWN ON SUGARS AND PACKING ON THE PROTEIN
Breakfast – Smoothie (made with 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 cup high fiber cereal, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or water, 1 cup raspberries), Coffee with splash of milk or half & half
Lunch – Turkey chili, no beans (made with 93% lean ground turkey breast, veggies and tomatoes), topped with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 2 high-fiber crackers on the side or crumbled on top as croutons, water, V8 juice or other zero-calorie beverage
Snack – “Pizza” (made with 4 high-fiber crackers, 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, spoonful of spicy red pepper sauce and grated Parmesan cheese), water or hot tea
Dinner – Asian chicken salad (made with 4 ounces chicken breast, 3 cups sliced carrots /cabbage/ broccoli/ spinach/scallions tossed in peanut dressing made with powdered peanut butter/rice wine vinegar/soy sauce/Asian spices), optional: 2 high-fiber crackers crushed on top for crunch, 1 glass wine, water or sugar-free beverage
Dessert, if desired -1 additional glass of wine.
*As told to Dailymail.com by Tanya Zuckerbrot
She also adheres to a strict diet, according to her book, Settle for More.
Kelly has admitted in that she is a fan of The F-Factor Diet.
She is just one of the many high profile New Yorkers who have been vocal in talking about what they see as a miracle diet.
F-Factor is a concierge private practice specializing in nutrition counseling, weight loss and management.
The plan was developed by Tanya Zuckerbrot, a Manhattan dietitian who encourages meals that are high in fiber and protein.
Not encouraged on the diet are sugars, carbohydrates and alcohol, though wine is allowed and so are mixed drinks that are low in sugar.
And for $15,000, Zuckerbrot will meet for 10 sessions that include a consultation, a weight-loss workshop and eight follow-up appointments to track the progress being made on the diet.
The F-Factor Diet book is also available for purchase at a variety of retailers and online for a far more affordable price of around $15.
Kelly also opened up about her eating habits back in 2009 when she participate in the New York Diet for Grub Street.
Back in those days Kelly seemed to be a big fan of yogurt, egg-white omelets, and lots of vegetables.
That piece also revealed that Kelly takes her coffee with ‘cream and half a Splenda’ and her thoughts on bread and cake products.
‘I try to steer clear of the starches because they’re the devil,’ said Kelly, just before writing that she had a cupcake for dessert one night with friends.