Editor’s Note: A couple of weeks ago, The View co-host, Sherri Shepherd, was in town to promote her new book and Kalin had the opportunity to interview the daytime TV celeb, comedian, and mother about her recent health-inspired transformation.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sherri Shepherd, co-host of The View, during her visit to Atlanta to promote her new book, Plan D: How to lose weight and beat diabetes (even if you don’t have it). Her book discusses how Sherri lost 40 pounds and transformed her health, after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At age 45, she looks great and is just as cheerful and funny as she is on TV. Here are some of her comments that I hope will inspire you to make your health a priority.
On why she wrote the book: I dedicated the book to my mother, who died from complications from diabetes at age 41. Most of the people in my family have diabetes and have lost limbs and eyesight from it. It got to a point where it just seemed normal to us. So when I was diagnosed with being pre-diabetic, I thought “well I don’t have diabetes, so I don’t have to change the way I eat.” Then, in August 2007 – just days before I was to start on The View — I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That day I still wanted to be in denial. I came home and ate a big plate of pesto pasta. But eventually I realized I wanted to live for my son. And I want to help others out there who are struggling with diabetes or being overweight, which is one of the causes of diabetes.
On medicating with food: Growing up, I had always relied on three things: faith, funny and food. I ate to get ride of bad feelings, and my mother’s death just made me numb my feelings even more with food. So I had to change my relationship with food.
On making lifestyle changes: I had to incorporate exercise into my life. I started slow on the elliptical machine and started adding two minutes each time. And a month later, I was able to do 33 minutes. I also exercise at home with my son, Jeffrey and my husband, Sal. Sal and I do Salsa like we’re on “Dancing with the Stars.” (laughs)
On eating what she wants: We have a lot of food on the set at The View and I have to talk to myself when I look at the food. On one hand I’m thinking, “Ooh that cheesecake would taste so good!” But I know immediately my blood sugar would spike, I would feel sluggish, I’m going to feel tired, I would go into a fog. In fact, that’s what happened to me on The View when I said I didn’t know if the earth was round or flat. I couldn’t even think straight. (laughs) I went from “she’s a breath of fresh air” to “how’d she get that job?” (laughs) But there are times when I make the decision to eat what I want, but I know to eat some fiber right afterward so my blood sugar won’t spike. I learned about food combinations, and I put that in the book.
On learning to love new foods: I’ve started to love kale and my husband makes it four different ways: sautéed kale, kale salad, kale chips and kale smoothies. He even made turkey burgers and substituted kale for the lettuce.
On forgiving herself: One time I went to Popeye’s and it was good going down. But I had to get back on track the next day and forgive myself and remember all the good stuff I’ve done. We kick ourselves too much when we’re down, so always pat yourself on the back for the good things you do. I have a whole chapter in my book on forgiveness.
On being thankful: I’m thankful for diabetes, because it has made me make a conscious commitment to my health. I’m not on medication anymore, because of the lifestyle changes I’ve made. And at age 45, I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life!
Kalin Thomas is an award-winning multimedia journalist. She is a former travel & lifestyle correspondent for CNN where she traveled to six continents, including Antarctica. She is writing her book, Do You Know She’s Black? The journey of CNN’s first black travel correspondent, for a 2015 debut. For more, visit www.KalinThomas.com.