Actress and comedienne Sherri Shepherd struggled with emotional eating and weight gain her entire adult life. Her doctor warned her that she was pre-diabetic, but Sherri considered this to be normal. Diabetes was so prevalent in her family that she thought losing a limb or going blind was as common as going grey. Sherri continued to rely on food to help cope with pain and stress. She ignored the warning signs until she received her diagnosis – type 2 diabetes, the same disease that took her mother’s life. Inspired by her son to take back control of her health, Sherri accepted the truth about her diabetes and committed to reforming her relationship with food.
After years of failed diets, Sherri finally found a plan that produced results – she’s lost 40 pounds. Now, she’s sharing her secrets in her new book, Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes Even If You Don’t Have It. Discover the steps and secret weapons that helped Sherri reclaim her health.
Sherri’s “Plan D” Has 3 Simple Steps:
Step 1: Watch Your Sugars
This step is critical for anyone who’s at risk for or has type 2 diabetes. In this context, sugar isn’t limited to desserts; it encompasses all foods that are high on the glycemic index, including pasta, bread and other carbs. When you eat these foods, your body’s digestive system turns the carbs into sugar. Once that sugar enters the bloodstream, it triggers the release of insulin to help move the glucose into your cells so that it can be used for energy. The higher the food is on the glycemic index, the more insulin is released. If your insulin levels stay high or cycle up and down rapidly, you can become insulin resistant and sugar will build up in your blood, which destroys your arteries and can lead to cancers, stroke and even amputation.
To prevent blood sugar spikes, avoid eating simple carbs by themselves. Instead fill up on foods that are low on the glycemic scale and combine them with healthy proteins. One of Sherri’s go-to meals is a small portion of pasta with a palm-sized portion of grilled-chicken and some leafy greens.
Step 2: Reform Your Relationship With Food
You don’t have to weigh and measure everything you eat to achieve weight-loss success. Sherri uses “the plate method,” which allows her to eyeball her portions. Half of her plate is filled with low-glycemic foods like green salads, veggie slaws and grilled peppers and onions. Next, one-fourth of her plate is whole grains, starchy vegetables or beans, like fresh peas, savory black beans, hummus or brown rice. Finally, the remaining one-fourth is a lean protein like grilled salmon, chicken breast or spicy tofu.
Step 3: Exercise Is Not Optional
Sherri’s biggest rule is to move at least 15 minutes a day. You can make exercise fun without joining a gym: Vacuum your living room, clean out your closets, work in your garden, ride a bike or walk your dog – the most important thing is to get moving! Try the Spring Cleaning workout series, which you can do in your own home with common cleaning supplies.
Sherri’s Secret Weapons
Everyone has issues that sabotage their diet. Luckily, Sherri has the strategies to keep you on track.
Make Breakfast at Night
If you don’t have time to eat breakfast in the morning, it can throw off your diet for the rest of the day. Ensure you’re starting your morning the right way by making breakfast the night before. Sherri cuts up fruit, cooks steel cut oats, and even sets a place at the kitchen table before she goes to bed to make her mornings easier.
Focus on Eating Often
If you have problems with portion control, try this strategy to keep from overindulging. Eating every 3 to 4 hours prevents you from treating every meal like an all-you-can–eat buffet. Smaller, frequent meals will help keep you satisfied. Try Sherri’s sample meal plan:
Breakfast: 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1 tablespoon almonds, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Snack: 1 apple sliced, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
Lunch: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup roasted veggies, 3 ounces of salmon, 2 teaspoons salad dressing
Snack: 1/4 cup hummus, 1 carrot cut into pieces
Dinner: 1 1/2 cups chili, 1 tablespoon low-fat cheese, toasted whole wheat pita or baked tortilla chips
Commit to Trying One New Food a Week
Your taste buds can change, so if you don’t like veggies and whole grains, you can develop a taste for them. Commit to trying a new food every week – you might surprise yourself!