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Carnie Wilson Talks Body Confidence, Conquering Her Sweet Tooth & Cooking Up Fun With John Stamos (EXCLUSIVE)

The singer talks her 40 pound weight loss, healthy eating and more!

“Negativity just bounces off of me,” says Carnie Wilson with a smile that proves she means it. “I’m drawn to positivity. If there is negativity around me, I walk away from it. I just refuse to be down.” The Grammy-nominated singer/TV hostess and best-selling author acknowledges we all have our high and lows, and while she’s learned the downs help us appreciate the good times, she’s also come to realize that true peace is found within.

“Strength comes from just listening to your gut and not other people,” Carnie Wilson tells FIRST for Women as our covergirl (click through to order the issue!) “A lot of people are really quick to criticize and cut you down,” she says. “If you listen to them, then you will start feeling that way about yourself, and I refuse.”

Carnie Wilson on the cover of 'FIRST for Women'
FIRST for Women

The daughter of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Marilyn Rovell of the Honeys, Carnie and her sister Wendy teamed with Chynna Phillips, daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, to form Wilson Phillips in 1989. The superstar pop group enjoyed tremendous success with such hits as “Hold On,” “Release Me” and “You’re in Love.”

Carnie Wilson cooks up fun in the kitchen

These days, Carnie hosts Extended, the Jeff Lewis Live after show on Sirius XM, and she still loves performing in concert, but at the moment she’s particularly excited about hosting her new AXS TV show, Sounds Delicious with Carnie Wilson.

“We rented a house in the hills of Los Angeles and it was a real quick filming schedule, but it was so much fun packed into seven or eight days and all the guests were fantastic. The show is just so fun and funny,” Carnie says.

Carnie Wilson and David Archuleta, 2024
Carnie Wilson and singer David Archuleta in the kitchen in 2024@carnie68/Instagram

“It’s really loose and wacky and I love that they’ve just let me be myself,” Carnie enthuses. “On the John Stamos episode, we make chicken parmesan and reminisce about our history together. Each guest is so loving and wonderful in their own way, and we just celebrate friendship and food and being in the kitchen together. I love to be with the people I love in the kitchen and cook for them.”

During a recent episode with Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, Carnie got a little surprise.

“He’s a wonderful singer and he’s from Philly, so I thought I’d make some Philly cheesesteaks,” Carnie says. “He shows up and says, ‘I don’t eat meat.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ Then he said, ‘For you, I’ll eat it,’ so we made the Philly cheesesteaks. I put jalapeños in there and I really took it to another level. We sang and we had such a good time. It wound up being just fabulous. Each guest has their own energy and sense of fun.”

Carnie Wilson, 2024
Carnie Wilson in 2024@carnie68/Instagram

The wife and mother of two daughters is well known for her skills in the kitchen. “It’s my comfort zone. It’s my passion,” she says, adding that the show is “about 70% guests and 30% by myself, and it focuses on music and food. It was recently the 30-year anniversary for Lisa Loeb’s single ‘Stay’ and so we had her on. She’s a mom and we made a Mediterranean-style chicken dish. It was so much fun!”

Carnie Wilson’s transformation

With one look at Carnie these days, it definitely doesn’t seem like she’s spending a lot of time in the kitchen — she’s lost 40 pounds and is looking gorgeous.

The singer in 2024
Carnie Wilson in 2024Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty

“For me it was physical,” she says of the motivation to change her diet. “My belly was hurting. I keep reading and watching documentaries about gluten and sugars and the microbials or whatever they are called in your belly, and I just knew that I wasn’t well. So, it was the catalyst. I said, ‘That’s it! I’m tired of being in a chokehold by sugar and gluten,’ so I gave it up in September, and I have not had it since. No shots or drugs or anything for this weight loss. It’s been purely diet.”

The change in her eating habits has left her healthier, but she stills enjoys food. “Right now, I’m sitting at Mel’s Diner and I’m having a toasted tuna melt on a gluten free bread and I’m enjoying the tuna melt,” she says.

“It’s not greasy and there’s no gluten and I got coleslaw on the side and I’m enjoying myself. It takes daily effort to switch it up, replace it, substitute it, but as long as I can do that and make my food taste good, and I can still have my damn tortilla chips, I’m happy.”

Carnie has struggled with her weight for most of her life and has had weight loss surgery in the past. She admits that sugar cravings are tough but get easier with time.

The singer in 2022
Carnie Wilson in 2022David Livingston/Getty

“Desserts are the hardest,” she says. “I found chocolate chips and they are made with coconut sugar or some stevia and they are by HU. I just pop a few of those in my mouth when I have a sweet tooth, or I make a cookie with maple syrup and almond flour.”

“I find a way to satisfy the sweet tooth that I have,” Wilson adds. “I drink tea at night and I try to keep myself full all day on healthier stuff. I’ll have carrots with ranch dressing. As long as I keep my belly satisfied, I don’t crave the sugar anymore. At the beginning the sugar was the hardest thing to cut, but it gets easier.”

The singer in 2024
Carnie Wilson in 2024Slaven Vlasic/Getty

Wilson encourages women to be more accepting of their bodies at any weight or age. “Everybody is unique,” she says. “Some people have long legs. Some have short legs. Some have long, thick hair. Some have thinner hair. Blue eyes, brown eyes, whatever it is, embrace what you have and believe that you are beautiful no matter what. It’s really how you treat people and who you are as a person that is more important.”

“Just think of your health first,” Carnie continues. “It’s hard with social media and the pressure that makes us feel like we have to be and look a certain way. Honestly, I say if you don’t like to wear high heels, don’t wear them. Wear what you love. Be comfortable in your skin and be authentic to yourself. If you are trying to be like someone else, you’re never going to feel authentic.”

Ultimately, Carnie says that authenticity is where “your real authentic happiness is going to come from” — and we have to agree!

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