Melissa Gilbert's Breast Implant Removal is an Important Body Image Lesson

Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie fame recently opened up about the reasons for having her breast implants removed after sporting an enhanced chest since 1992. Her candid ABC interview revealed that artificial fixes can only go so far in fixing a woman's battered body image.

Gilbert grew up on TV as cute little Laura Ingalls, but behind the scenes she kept comparing her body to that of the faster-developing Alison Arngrim, who played spoiled brat Nellie Olsen. During the final season, Gilbert was forced to wear a padded bra, and producers of movie Splendor in the Grass also artificially padded her figure and stuffed her into a girdle.

Gilbert's first husband, Bo Brinkman, added to her insecurities by making pointed comments while she was breastfeeding her son, Dakota. "(He) referred to my boobs as, and I quote, ‘socks full of marbles with knots at the top,'" she wrote. "I took his words to heart. After that I rarely went bra-less. That includes while sleeping, making love etc."

After their divorce, Gilbert received breast implants, which she replaced in 2004. At her peak, the once modest-chested star sported a 34EE chest. She said her body image issues got a boost during her 2012 stint on Dancing With the Stars. "It was all about spray tan and glitter and glamor and what other people think and being skinny, way too skinny! Yuck!" she explained. "I stayed in that head space for several months after that."

In 2014, she had a revelation that led to her implant removal. "The shallowness of my existence at that point brought me to my knees," she said. "I had to change. I had to look inward and address my issues." 

The 50 year old actress is back down to a natural B cup.

Gilbert's words are great advice for anyone struggling with body image issues like breast size or weight. You can get implants or bounce around between fad diets but it won't remove the inner issues that spark the discontent. You need a sound plan to address your physical concerns, coupled with help from either loved ones, a therapist, or support group to help you through the tough times.

Sometimes it makes sense to change yourself physically. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that even modest weight loss helps reduce your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. However, you need to couple your physical efforts with a plan to improve your self esteem so you make  changes for the right reasons.