Star Wars Actors Forced To Lose Weight For the Wrong Reasons


Actors being expected to gain and lose weight for roles is nothing new. However, the process becomes more difficult as we get older, and it can actually be detrimental to physical health. Continually gaining and losing weight can have consequences for your health and your self esteem.

As “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters, its actors are hitting the publicity circuit, and some of them admit having felt pressured to lose weight in order to reprise their famous roles. Losing weight for others is one almost certain way to guarantee failure, as those who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to be successful. 

Princess Leia in the Gold Bikini

One of the most iconic images to come out of the entire Star Wars franchise is that of Princess Leia in the gold bikini. It is a popular costume for convention attendees, and it launched Carrie Fisher into icon status. But Fisher was 27 years old when “Return of the Jedi” was released in 1983, and although she still looks great, she says that she felt pressured to lose weight for the new movie. She recently told Good Housekeeping “I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.” Still, Fisher did lose about 35 pounds for the role. 

Actors Also Feel The Pressure

When we think about being asked to lose weight for a role, most of us picture actresses, but men in Hollywood are under the same pressure to maintain appearances. Actor Mark Hamill also dished on the pressure he felt to lose weight when returning as Luke Skywalker, and his tactics included extreme dieting. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Hamill stated, “I’m on the ‘if it tastes good, don’t eat it’ diet.” Through healthier eating, Hamill lost about 50 pounds to play the iconic role once again. 

Pressure Rarely Leads to Success

Aside from Hollywood actors, everyday people also have many reasons for feeling pressured into losing weight. For example, many women feel the need to undergo drastic diet and exercise regimens in order to fit into wedding dresses that they purposefully buy in a size too small. Others feel pressured by society and the way that they are treated by others. Losing weight for someone else rarely leads to success. In the “Good Housekeeping” article, Fisher sums up why. “When I do lose the weight, I don’t like that it makes me feel good about myself. It’s not who I am.”

Listening to other people and losing weight solely for them often leads to bad self esteem, which can trigger emotional eating and lead you to feel even worse. According to , “Because such problems are surprisingly potent — especially in a culture like ours, which places so much emphasis on being thin, young, and beautiful — negative body image can and has become a serious difficulty for countless women, men, and even children.” 

Choose to Lose Weight for the Right Reasons

In order to increase your chances of successfully losing weight, it is important to be intrinsically motivated. It also helps to engage a support system of people who can help you remain accountable, but who can also encourage and support you on your journey. Being internally motivated also helps you to be realistic about your goals, meaning that you won’t be as likely to beat yourself up over every misstep. A recent WebPsychology blog post about weight loss gives advice about making realistic and achievable goals: “A healthy weight loss plan consists of a realistic end goal and smaller goals within it related to doing more physical activity, cutting back on your calories, eating healthier foods, eating meals regularly throughout the day, and weighing in on a set schedule to see how well you’re doing.”

Just because you’re not a famous actor doesn’t mean that you’ve never felt pressured to change your body. However, as actress Carrie Fisher can attest, doing so is more likely to make you feel badly about yourself and to give you a negative body image. If you truly want to lose weight, you should find the motivation within yourself.