In her new book, Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes (Even If You Don't Have It), Sherri Shepherd describes how she lost 40 pounds after a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

"If you had told me a few years ago that I'd be liking kale, I'd have laughed you out of the room," said the actress and co-host of The View in an extensive interview with US News and World Report. "The other night, my husband sautéed the kale in olive oil with green, red and yellow peppers and it was good! So now I'm a kale addict. I always challenge people to do things that are a little bit different with their veggies."

Like Shepherd, millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. In type 2 diabetes, either your body does not produce enough insulin or your cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for your body to be able to convert glucose into energy. When you eat, your body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in your body. Insulin takes the sugar from your blood into your cells. When glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.


Asked why she didn't worry earlier, during the years she knew she had prediabetes — when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes — Shepherd confessed to ignoring the condition because so many other members of her family had it, too. Type 2 diabetes is more common in the aged population, as well as African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

"My mom passed away from complications at 41. But there wasn't really an urgency to change anything because we called it 'the sugar' — we didn't call it diabetes. And when you have a term called 'the sugar,' it sounds kind of cute," she said. Type 2 diabetes symptoms may develop slowly. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it as may have been the case with Shepherd.

"I started getting these signs, like my feet and toes were numb, I was always going to the bathroom, my vision got blurry and I was really thirsty. But I ignored it," she said. Although she thought the symptoms would disappear on their own, they never did. Eventually, she cracked and faced the music.

"When I finally went to the doctor and got the formal diagnosis, they gave me three different medications," she told US News and World Report. The treatment for type 2 diabetes usually involves blood sugar monitoring, healthy eating, regular exercise, and, in some cases, medication or insulin therapy. Since her diagnosis, Shepherd has learned to control her blood sugar with a healthy diet and regular exercise. At 5-foot-1, she now weighs 157 pounds.

"I had oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries for breakfast this morning. And for a snack, I had some Greek yogurt with almonds and slices of apples. Now, for lunch, I'm having salmon with corn, mushrooms and tomatoes. I'm going to get a salad in there somewhere too, and another snack," she told US News and World Report. "People think that when they're prediabetic or diabetic, they're not going to be able to eat anything, but you can eat a lot." She also has turned her house into a 'mini-gym' where you can find her jumping rope for cardio. She frequently incorporates movement into her daily life.

"My book is fun because I like to laugh. I don't like a lot of medical jargon. You can laugh at my journey and all the crazy things I do, like going in the garbage and eating food - and I've done that. After I've thrown coffee grinds it, and at 2 a.m., when that Oreo cookie is calling my name. It's OK."

Laughing, Shepherd adds, "You've got to be forgiving."