It's been more than a decade since Jessica Simpson made headlines for wearing what would be dubbed "mom jeans" to a chili cook-off in 2009. But in a newly released version of her memoir, Open Book, the 40-year-old star looked back at that era and how "the world put a hyperfocus" on her weight.
"Why does the cruel opinion of this world get to me?" she wrote at the time in the pages of her journal, which were published in the new edition of the book and shared by People. "Has it become about how many people read something and are encouraged to believe it. Last week, I read back on my journals from '99 and I beat myself up about how fat I am before I even gave the world a chance to."
At one point in the diary entry, Simpson noted her "heart breaks because people say I'm fat." And when she asked herself how often she thought about her body "on a scale of 1–100% of the day," the "Irresistible" singer replied, "80%."
In a chapter called "Death by Mom Jeans," the fashion designer looked back at the body shaming. "I had always been in on the joke, and that gave me power," she wrote, per the magazine. "Now that it was everybody else making it, I didn't think it was funny."
After a while "a dysmorphia set in," she wrote, and she "no longer trusted the mirror."
"With every reflection, every single pane of glass I passed," she continued, per the publication, "I took myself in quickly to try to catch myself, to see what the world apparently saw."
During an interview with People, Simpson spoke about the public's reaction to this part of the book.
"There is a wonderful movement for body positivity now and the response to that portion of my story has been overwhelmingly supportive," she told the magazine "I don't think people always realized that there was a human being, a beating heart and working eyes with actual feelings behind those headlines and that words can hurt and stay with you for a lifetime."
She then recalled how she "spent so many years beating myself up for an unrealistic body standard that made me feel like a failure all of the time."
"I am still a work in progress when it comes to self-criticism," she continued, "but now I have the tools to quiet those voices in my head when they speak up."