Inside Loni Love's weight loss journey

Loni Love knows how to make people laugh. According to her official bio page, however, Love actually began her career working as an engineer in California after graduating from Prairie View A&M University in Texas. But it wasn't long before comedy started to take over her life. After starting to pursue stand-up comedy, Love quickly became a regular at LA's legendary Laugh Factory and, in 2003, she had her big break when she competed on Star Search and made it all the way to the finals. She then began landing regular roles on TV and film and since 2013 she's been a co-host on The Real. It's a gig that's won her an Emmy and seen her speak candidly about everything, including her weight. 

These days, Loni Love bills herself as a talk show host, comedian, actor, author (in 2020 she released her aptly titled memoir, I Tried to Change So You Don't Have To: True Life Lessons), and dreamer, but she's also an inspiration. By sharing her weight loss wins and hurdles with fans, she's not only been working hard to get healthy, she's helping others do the same. Let's take a look inside Loni Love's weight loss journey.

Loni Love once lost 15 pounds in 60 days

Loni Love "was tired of feeling tired," so she decided to do something about it. As she told The Cut in 2016, while on a break from shooting The Real, she did a weekend-long detox, then "that one weekend turned into 60 days." Although having to cut out caffeine and alcohol was "hard," it certainly had its benefits. "I lost 15 pounds," she revealed, but quickly added that "it wasn't even about the weight loss; it was more about the energy. I had been on the road for 15 years. Comics eat bad food. We drink every weekend," she explained, gushing, "When people saw me on the show that week, they were like, 'Your skin is different.' I felt different."

What's more, Love focused on adding exercise to her daily routine with a "15-minute walk in the morning all around the [The Real] studio" or, when she was on the road, a short gym session. "I don't do more than 45 minutes, but I do incorporate it," she said, noting, "I always tell people to do the exercise you love: If exercising is going to stress you out, it ain't gonna help you."

Keeping tabs on her weight also helped. As she revealed on The Real in 2017, "Getting on a scale, for me, is actually motivating." She explained, "You start to learn your body. You start to see what you can eat and what you can't eat."

Here's the unique way Loni Love dropped 30 pounds

Loni Love hasn't been shy about sharing her weight loss journey and in May 2018, she let her fans know the biggest lesson she's learned: Take things slow. Opening up about her diet wins (and losses) on The Real, Love told viewers she had lost 30 pounds since 2017 and revealed how she did it. "I just want to say to people out there that are struggling, whether you're trying to gain weight or you're trying to lose it, take your time. [There's] no quick fixes," she proclaimed. "This summer, I plan to try to concentrate on losing another 30 pounds because, see, the mistake that I made last season, Season 4, was that I did it fast," she explained. "I lost 50 pounds really fast, and I ended up gaining about 70. For real. Because I didn't do it healthy."

Touching on the importance of changing her approach to weight loss, she continued, "The summer before this season I said, 'You know, I'm going to do something different. I'm just gonna take my time. I'm gonna watch my weight. I'm gonna watch my portions. I'm gonna exercise a little bit more [and] try to change my lifestyle.'" Love concluded: "Just take your time."

WW brought Loni Love on as an ambassador

In May 2019, People confirmed that Loni Love had joined the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) family as an ambassador. Opening up about her own weight loss journey, Love said she was drawn to WW after a number of failed diet attempts because "they have a wonderful WW app that works for my busy lifestyle." Another selling point? Oprah Winfrey, who is a triple threat for the company: As outlets like Forbes and CNN reported in 2015, she became a WW ambassador, director, and investor. "I was inspired by Oprah," Love admitted, joking, "She told me that I can still have my tequila shots, so I was sold!"

Revealing the driving force behind their partnership, the comedian told People it was as much about her as it was about helping others jumpstart their own weight loss journey. "I want to learn to keep eating real fresh food, but make healthy choices so I can be my best," she said, adding, "I also have great concerns for the overall health in my community and recognize we don't take care of ourselves in the best way. Sometimes you need help. WW is a tool that can help!"

Loni Love said she did 'not know how to eat'

Can your upbringing play a role in your weight? Loni Love believes so. Recalling her childhood during a March 2020 ad segment for WW on The Real, Love shared why she blames her early diet for her lifelong battle with the scale. "Let me tell y'all, I did not know how to eat," she proclaimed, explaining, "Growing up in the projects, we just had to eat what we could. I know it sounds funny, but a lot of women in the African-American community, we don't know how to eat because we grew up that way."

Becoming visibly emotional and fighting back tears, Love added that she teamed up with WW to help the Black community specifically. "I see y'all at my comedy shows and you're like, 'We need to get healthier,' and that's the reason why we're doing this," she said. "It's just to make y'all aware of what's happening in the community, so you can eat and not starve and you can still lose weight."

That same month, she told Madame Noire that how you eat early on will impact you for years to come because "85 percent — and I didn't know this — of weight loss is about what you eat, what you put in your body, and I just was not taught that." She added, "Being from a project environment, with us having the government cheese and everything like that, a lot of us grew up like that."

The Black community didn't love Loni Love's commentary

When Loni Love proclaimed that her upbringing had a negative impact on her weight, then generalized that it was the case for "a lot of women in the African-American community," she was met with swift criticism. Folks on Twitter were quick to let her know that they didn't appreciate her speaking for an entire community with one critic tweeting, "It's not that Black people don't know how to eat it's about the lack of access. Research food deserts sweetie." Another slammed, "Loni has a deep rooted issue with Black people [...] Every chance she gets, she pathologizes Black behavior. Case in point saying Black people don't know how to eat and ignoring the standard AMERICAN diet is unhealthy."

Love addressed the controversy and defended her statement during an interview with Madame Noire, saying, "I never speak for every Black woman." Noting that "there were a lot of women who understood what I was saying," she said she was simply addressing "accessibility capitalism," which has "caused us not to be able to eat clean. And not be able to eat the correct way. Which is why you see an obesity rate that is highest among Black females — more than any other race," she told the outlet, adding, "Even with Black males. Black females have an obesity problem."

Healthy recipes are all over Loni Love's Instagram page

Loni Love isn't just losing weight for herself, she's on a mission to help others do the same. Like many celebs who share their healthy diets with fans — to show how easy and affordable it can be — Love's been posting her go-tos on Instagram. For example, while sharing a recipe from Healthy and Psyched for a Superfood Acai Bowl, Love encouraged everyone to "save yourself some [money] and treat your body right by making an açaí bowl at home" with just five simple ingredients: açaí powder, banana, raspberries, blueberries, and coconut water.

Since 2019, Love has offered up several recipes on Instagram, such as a sponsored post for WW for a Mixed Berry Smoothie — "Love this refreshing smoothie from @ww! Super easy to make at home," she gushed — to a Berry Delicious Smoothie from Black Foodie to Mindful Avocado's simple Rosé Grapefruit Mimosa made with chilled rosé champagne and grapefruit juice. The Real co-host also regularly posts snaps of her meals, like "garlic lamb chops with yellow potatoes and homemade egg salad," "brussel sprouts chips" that are "better than potato chips," and "beef burritos with avocado salsa."

Loni Love wants to see more 'plus-size icons'

While promoting her 2019 collaboration with plus size fashion retailer Ashley Stewart, Loni Love ruffled feathers yet again by telling Hello Beautiful that "there are no real plus size icons for me." While magazines like Fashionista proclaimed she was "wrong," a Twitter user fired off names including "@lizzo @vanity_tokyo @thedanieb @Adele" as "plus sized icons in 2019."

Even Hello Beautiful tweeted,"What about Aretha Franklin, Oprah, Queen Latifah?" Love quickly responded, writing "Aretha Franklin never had a plus size fashion line... Queen was a cover girl but was not affiliated with a plus size fashion brand... it's 2019 and you pulled sisters from 20 years ago. I said ICONS... where is our Naomi Campbell?"

The comedian reiterated her stance during an interview with Madame Noire, telling the outlet, "I said, 'There are no plus size women that I know, except for Ashley Graham, of recent that are legends. Where's our Naomi Campbell? They don't put us on the covers of magazines." She continued, "I'm talking about where is the plus size Naomi Campbell for Black women. I'm not talking about Ashley, cuz ain't Ashley White?" Adding that her comment was misunderstood, she concluded, "What I'm trying to say is, there are beautiful plus size models out here [...] but I only see them on Ashley Stewart. I don't see them on the cover of Ebony. I don't see them on the cover of Elle and Vogue."

Over-the-top compliments don't work for Loni Love

When celebrities lose a dramatic amount of weight, people notice. But according to Loni Love, their compliments about the transformations don't always land. "Some people over exaggerate," she explained on The Real in 2018. Offering up a real-life example, she continued, "I was at this premiere [...] and the lady looked at me, she says, 'Loni! You're so thin!' And I'm like, 'B****, I'm not thin like that!'" she laughed. Love then shared a few words of advice for everyone: "Don't overdo it."

The comedian also explained that self-love is more important than any compliment you could ever receive. "When I was in high school, you know, cause I was always the big girl, you know, and I always thought nobody will want me," she admitted on another episode of The Real. "People used to tease me and that type of shaming, that's why I had to build my confidence," she continued. And while hearing a boy in her school publicly say he liked her "changed my whole attitude," she soon realized "it has to come within me. I can't wait for people to validate me," she concluded.

This is how Loni Love feels about 'happy weight' gain

Since launching the #LoniLossChallenge in mid-2018, Loni Love has been steadily losing weight and motivating others to do the same, but as she revealed on The Real, her journey is "not so much about the weight loss — it's about getting healthier." Which is why, when she gained some of the weight back, she didn't see it as a failure. "Right now, I'm dealing with happy weight," she said on The Real (via OK!), noting that putting on a few pounds because she was in a happy relationship was in no way a setback.

Love began dating James Welsh in late 2018 and when she was recruited as a WW ambassador, he actually followed her on her weight loss journey. "We will motivate and learn from each other," Love told People, adding, "Plus, it's nice to have his support!" However, it seems the comedian has been doing most of the motivating. As she revealed on The Real, while she's all about the gym, she often has to push her beau to join her. "[I have to tell him] 'We gotta lose it, James!'" she said.