It was an airplane ride that spurred Shonda Rhimes to lose 117 pounds, the sitcom creator herself told Ellen DeGeneres on the comedian’s TV show.
The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, and the producer of the hit show How to Get Away With Murder, said she felt unsafe flying after her girth prevented her from riding the airplane wearing a seatbelt.
Speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Rhimes opened up about the personal moment that led her to get her health under control:
I got on an airplane, I was going to NY from LA and it was first class and it was going to be really comfortable. I got in my seat, I took off my shoes I got out by book and I went to buckle the seatbelt and it wouldn’t buckle and I thought to myself, something is wrong with the seatbelt, it’s broken. But it wasn’t the seatbelt, it was me.
Rhimes needed a seatbelt extender but felt too embarrassed to ask for one. She instead decided to stay quiet and take the risk. She feared an injury, but luckily she survived the flight. Afterwards she committed to making healthier choices.
She says her weight loss was a part of her experiment of going through a year in which all she said was “yes.” The experience was chronicled in her book The Year of Yes.
Though Rhimes identifies herself as “super feminist,” the TV producer started to doubt the notion that no one should dare tell her what shape to be. “I thought, ‘I’m going to fall over, because I don’t feel good,” she said.
She says the key to losing weight was conquering her fears, though it was not always “100 percent fun all the time.” Despite this, Rhimes credits her “pointed focus” for achieving her weight loss goal.