One of her most horrific memories occurred when she was 10 and landed the role of Penny on the 1970s sitcom "Good Times."
"I remember my very first show, the wardrobe woman, she said, 'Well, OK, we're going to bind your chest because your chest is too big,'" Janet told "Good Morning America." "I was developing at a very young age. And the following season they said that I needed to lose weight, and I internalized it, and I never told anyone about it. I just kept it inside for years."
Janet's older brother Michael also contributed to her complex, making jokes about her butt being "too big," something she described as seemingly harmless teasing imposed on the youngest child in the family. "I carried that throughout my adult life, but they were names of endearment."
Janet's weight has fluctuated over the years. She was heavier when she released her 1986 breakthrough album "Control," but was baring her toned midriff by the release of 1993's "janet."
Janet teamed up with Nutrisystem to get help maintaining a healthy weight. "It's a matter of learning how to keep it off, that maintenance," she said. "They have a program for that. My success plan is to be healthy and feel good about me."
Janet declined to share her ideal weight or even how many pounds she has lost.
"I'm not viewing this as a diet," she told USA TODAY. "I'm not putting a number on it. I don't look at the scale. I'm going about it in a different way this time."