Many people think a diabetes diagnosis is a death sentence, but comedian Sherri Shepherd is a living example of how untrue that statement can be — as long as you take your health into your own hands.
“I turned 52 a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t stop crying all day because I was alive and felt great,” said Shepherd, a mother of two.
Shepherd, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007, overhauled her diet and lifestyle after her mom died in her 40s because of complications from the disease. Now Shepherd is feeling better than ever after changing her diet, starting to exercise, and adopting a more positive perspective.
“How good does feeling good feel? You’ll never know unless you start taking care of yourself — because it is indescribable how good it feels,” she said.
Making little changes
For Shepherd, it’s the tiny steps she took that led to big improvements in her physical and mental health. She started to read food labels, traded sugar-sweetened beverages for water, and began avoiding food containing refined carbs, including candy, white bread, and white pasta. She joked that she never would have believed she’d grow to love Brussels sprouts, kale, or low-carb veggie pizza.
“This is probably the best I’ve ever felt in my life,” Shepherd said, explaining these are all habits that can help prevent prediabetes from advancing to type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Exercising regularly is another change she made, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find the comedian at the gym.
“Everything is not about going to the gym and getting on the treadmill — that’s boring to me,” Shepherd said. “I don’t think I’ve been to the gym in a year. I do kickboxing, I take salsa classes, with my girlfriends we hike up a private canyon over here in L.A., I ride my bike with my son. I do things that are fun for me to give my body a workout so I don’t feel like, ‘Oh, I have to work out.’”
As a result of those tweaks, Shepherd said her mental clarity has improved by leaps and bounds, and she’s enjoying another unexpected benefit: a more optimistic outlook.
“I am doing things with more positivity than doom and gloom,” she said.
She’s also experienced some unexpected cosmetic benefits across her body.
Melinda Carter, [email protected]