Holliday is an American singer and actress. She started her career in 1981 by going to the broadway musical, Dreamgirls. Jennifer won Grammy in 1983 for her debut single, And I am Telling You I’m Not Going. She has also won a Tony Award for her outstanding music.
Today we see a confident, successful, and talented singer, however, Holliday hasn’t been like this forever. Throughout her career, she has had to struggle with health-related problems. Her being overweight really proved to be an obstacle in the way.
At first, Jennifer was even rejected for being “fat”. This was like a shock to her. She had the talent, she could sing better and she didn’t want her weight back to hold her back and rob her of future opportunities. Jennifer tried to prove her worth by presenting her talent, however, it didn’t prove to be useful.
This sent her into a deep depression. So much depression that at the age of 30, Holliday tried to take her life by swallowing sleeping pills.
Luckily, she was rescued at a crucial moment. Her life was now being dominated by anger. She was even angry at the fact that she didn’t die.
In her interview with People, Jennifer said, “When I was suffering from depression, people weren’t talking about depression. It had a stigma. Nobody asked me about it.” She said that nobody talked about depression in those days.
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How did Jennifer Save Herself?
With the passage of time, Jennifer came to realize that she had tried to take her life, which was an alarming situation for her.
She knew that something was wrong with her. She didn’t have control over her anger. Holliday started consulting with different doctors about her feelings and problems but nobody was talking about the real problem.
For the time being, Jennifer settled with herself and started working on what mattered, her career. Talking about her experience with the music producers she said, “I had just been dropped by my record company because they called me too unattractive and not marketable.”
She further said, “They were like, ‘We can’t make a music video of you.’ I told the doctor, ‘That’s the reason for my problems.” The doctor suggested she should improve her health by losing weight. It will, the doctor told her, not only make her attractive to the music industry but also help her in improving her mental health.
Holliday listened to the doctor’s advice and embarked on her new journey of losing weight. She loved music so much and she didn’t want to be stayed behind just because she was overweight.
Jennifer Holliday’s Weight Loss Journey
After consulting with the doctor, Jennifer decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery. By undergoing the procedure in 1990, Jennifer lost a whopping 125 pounds, which was a very big deal. This huge weight loss made her completely unrecognizable.
Holliday controlled the way she ate food and did a lot of exercises. Unfortunately, this didn’t work either. Talking about which, Holliday said, “Nobody wanted me small. They only wanted the old Jennifer Holliday. They were uncomfortable with my new look, my new attitude. Everything.”
Holliday added, “It was a very hard time for me for about three years. I had no work and no friends.” This was a very big shock to her. With that, her old depression came back. Jennifer later called it “the hardest part of my life”.
But she was having none of that. She decided that she wouldn’t play by their rules anymore. That she would only do what she thought was right. “I wasn’t going to believe everyone else because they lied when I was overweight!”, Jennifer said.
Diagnosis with M.S (Multiple Sclerosis) and Treatment
The first and foremost thing was to get rid of the meaningless depression that Jennifer was feeling for years. No matter, how strong Holliday tried to feel or how determined she was, there was always a feeling of emptiness that was making her angry.
She started consulting with well-known psychologists and doctors. It was in 1999, that they finally figured out that Jennifer was suffering from M.S, a chronic disease. M.S disease affects the central nervous system. M.S causes a person to lose vision, and feel weak, depressed, and angry most of the time.
Talking about her diagnosis, Holliday said, “For a long time they thought I had lupus, then they thought I had something else. Finally, when I couldn’t walk, they did a spinal tap and conclusively diagnosed me with M.S.” By the time Jennifer was diagnosed, she had lost complete vision of her left eye.
Her disease became much worse with the passing of time. The pain in her muscles made it impossible for her to walk for more than five minutes. But as Jennifer is well-known for her resilience, she was having none of it.
Jennifer Overcoming M.S
As of now, there is no cure for M.S. Still, Jennifer wanted to defeat it. She wanted to take charge of her life. She started meeting different doctors and tried to find the solution or at least remain in the fight. Talking about her struggles, Holliday said,
“I began to look for more alternative treatments. I said, ‘I’ve got to find out more about this illness and I’ve got to fight,” she added, I’ve got to be able to walk and I’ve got to get control.’ ” Along with her treatment, Holliday didn’t forget her music career either.
As she continued her treatment, her health became better with time. Her vision of the left eye came back as well. As her health became stable, her music career started kicking off as well.
She continued trying her luck. Jennifer would frequently sing her debut single, And I am Telling You I am Not Going. With that, Jennifer won the hearts of thousands of people and with the passing of time, her fans grew to millions.
Her health was now more stable as compared to before and her music was alive. She is now a successful singer and actress. Once more, Holliday has made a comeback with her recent song, The Color Purple. Like always, Jennifer’s single has attracted the attention of millions of viewers.
Before & After Weight Loss
After losing a huge amount of weight, 125 pounds, Jennifer currently weighs around 170 pounds. However, in the past, she weighed between 300 and 295 pounds.
Jennifer’s Comments on Her Transformation
Of course, it has been quite a long journey and Jennifer had to say something about it, “It was a very long, hard journey. But now, I do think that I’m ready to come back. And maybe these opportunities will be better than what I thought I missed. But I’ve grabbed it. And I’m not going to let it go.”
While advising and motivating her fans, Holliday said, “If your mind is not willing, everything will go. There’s so much great power of our mind that we take for granted, and how we think and what positiveness can do. So, think positive and be positive.”
The American singer, Vince Herbert, has also undergone weight loss surgery and lost 100 pounds.
There is a great deal to be learned from Holliday’s struggle for her success. No matter what others say about your limitations, never give up.
She fought till she succeeded. Jennifer has not gotten over M.S completely but her health is stable. Holliday is a good example for everyone who is struggling with their health or weight.