Why Sherri Shepherd Is Following Plan D
by Ilyssa Panitz
Sherri Shepherd loves to speak her mind and fans can’t seem to get enough of her gift for gab. But behind the smile, the glamour and the spotlight on “The View” comes a very different story. After a routine visit to her doctor Shepherd was encouraged to clean up her act or suffer the consequences. What could have been a tragedy turned into a life changing moment for the funny lady who is now trying to encourage others to follow in her footsteps.
DivineCaroline: Much of the nation’s attention is focused on the tragedy in Oklahoma, which I understand hit home for you.
Sherri Shepherd: Yes I have family there. I spent an entire day trying to get in contact with my family and could not reach them. My aunt was forced to leave her house while others were had to go into the shelter at the bottom of their house. Although I was praying for their safety I know those people will not let something like this keep them down because they are resilient.
DC: On a happy note, congratulations on your new book, Plan D. How To Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes. What compelled you to write it?
SS: When I was diagnosed with diabetes in July of 2007 I was so overwhelmed. I had no clue what to do. To be honest, I thought it meant eating steamed broccoli for the rest of my life. For me, I felt paralyzed after getting the news. Now that I’m in a good place I want to break it all down for people and take them on a journey in a way they can understand having diabetes doesn’t mean without giving up their quality of life.
DC: Shortly after your diagnosis you dealt with another life changing moment?
SS: Yes. I was moving to New York to do The View while going through a bitter divorce and losing custody of my son for a year. It was a horrible year and stressful year for me. To do a show like The View was terrifying to me and in some ways, still is.
DC: You mention how you were a prime candidate for getting diabetes?
SS: Yes. My mom died from complications of having diabetes at age 41 and I had multiple family members, including my sisters who have/had diabetes. I also spent years eating poorly and being overweight.
DC: You also confess to ignoring the warning signs.
SS: Yes. I had dumbness and tingling in my hands and feet and I had to go to the bathroom all of the time. I remember my doctors telling me, “Be careful Sherri you are pre-diabetic,” but in my opinion that meant I wasn’t diabetic so I’ll do what I want and eat what I want.
DC: What did the doctors say that scared you enough to make a change?
SS: I was wearing my favorite pair of five-inch heels when the doctor looked down and said, “Sherri do you like those shoes?” I replied with, “Heck ya. I am a shoe whore.” She then said, “Well say goodbye because you won’t be wearing them much longer with your foot cut off. If you continue to eat the way that you do you will have to get your feet amputated.” That sentence alone scared the crap out of me.
DC: So that was you’re “A-Ha” moment?
SS: No. For me it was seeing my son holding a teddy bear and crying because he was trying to figure out where heaven was since that’s where everybody goes including his mommy. My son was born with special needs and all I kept thinking was, “Who is going to take care of Jeffrey if I am not here?” that made me snap and get it together. The only other alternative for taking care of Jeffrey was having the woman who my husband cheated on me for raise him. I was not going to let that happen!
DC: Are you concerned your son could get diabetes?
SS: Yes because it is all over my side of the family.
DC: Another section in your book talks about the commitment to change. Was it easy to completely do a 180 and create a new lifestyle?
SS: Easy? Are you kidding? It was one of the most difficult things I had to do! Where I grew up we fried everything. I never knew what it meant to grill or sauté food. Our motto was, “Why not fry? How else are you going to eat it?” When I was growing up, whenever you were going through a bad time, you solved it by stuffing your face into food. I mean food was everywhere. You didn’t deal with feelings, you just ate you way through a bad time. I had to really learn how to change my relationship with food because if I didn’t the end result would be my son growing up without his mother.
DC: Given your lifestyle and all of the events you attend, how do you turn the cheek and not eat all of the scrumptious food that’s be served?
SS: It’s all about making a plan and sticking to it. I try to eat a big salad and drink a lot of water so by the time I get there I am already full. I also installed My Fitness Pal on my phone. It keeps you accountable of what you are eating on a daily basis so you don’t forget what you are consuming.
DC: You also began to exercise. Take me though your routine?
SS: I do boot camp, which is great interval training, three times a week at 6am. I also take salsa dance classes, tennis and I’m getting ready to try Zumba. I even do lunges to the laundry room, push-ups against the counter and dance like a manic with my son.
DC: Since you changed your ways how many pounds have you lost?
SS: I lost a total of 46 pounds. I was 197 pounds when I started The View, and got down to 151 pounds. I felt great and it gave me a lot of confidence.
DC: What was the first item of clothing you bought that made you feel like a million bucks?
SS: I bought my first pair of Christian Louboutin’s and my first pair of red bottoms. I truly felt like Beyonce. I love color, especially jewel tones like a bright blue.
DC: Now that you lost all of this weight, what styles are you wearing that you haven’t before?
SS: Blazers and a Peplum dress. As for my favorite designer, that would be Diane Von Furstenberg. She really understands a woman’s body.
DC: For all of fans who love watching The View, what’s your reaction to the announcement Barbara Walters was retiring?
SS: First Joy and now Barbara. I mean Joy is my partner in crime yet with Barbara I am so sad. Her departure is like the end of an era. Barbara has taught me so much and I will continue to learn from her on things like; how to interview people, how to be interested in people and how to have longevity in this business. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be sitting next to Barbara Walters.
DC: How will the dynamic of the show change once Joy and Barbara leave?
SS: It will be difficult. Barbara brings so much to the show. I mean with one phone call she gets the Obama’s to come onto the program. With Barbara steering wheel everyone wants to be on. Barbara brings that much credibility.
DC: I see Brooke Shields on the series a lot. Rumor has it she is being groomed to take over. Is there any truth behind that statement?
SS: I honestly don’t know. I do know they are testing the waters by bringing people back to see who has chemistry with everyone. We have had Brooke, Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Silvo from Univision. For me, I love Brooke because I have history with her. I did her former series, Suddenly Susan and she was at my first wedding.
DC: Name the one guest that made you nervous?
SS: It was two people actually, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro. They both gave me acting advice for a movie I was doing. Can I tell you a secret?
DC: Sure. I won’t tell.
SS: My co-star Whoopi Goldberg still scares me everyday. Whoopi is my comedic idol. I can’t believe we are doing this show together. Not only does she give me great advice on the industry but I learn so much from watching her. She taught me how to have a tough shell and not let the haters get to you.
DC: Is it safe to say, you are living the dream?
SS: Yes, I am lucky I get to do what I love. But honestly, it is choosing everyday to bounce back. It is an everyday choosing everyday to forgive, let go and face each day with a smile.