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Sherri Shepherd beat diabetes and lost 66 lbs: Her Plan D diet and workout tips

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Sherri Shepherd is in the best shape of her life at 46 following her recent 66-pound weight loss, she told ABC News.

For Sherri, losing weight wasn't just about vanity; it was about survival. Shepherd dramatically overhauled her diet and began exercising regularly after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007. The diagnosis was a wake-up call for "The View" host, whose mom died at age 41 of diabetes.

Shepherd credits a low-carb, low-sugar diet and Zumba dance workouts for her incredible weight loss. “I do Zumba every night," said Shepherd. "I find a Zumba class or put in my DVDs."

The 5-foot-1 Shepherd, who once tipped the scales at 197 pounds, has been doing Zumba workouts for over two years. She credits exercise for giving her the energy to keep up with her eight-year-old son.

Sherri, who used to take three different medications for diabetes, now no longer takes any. She revealed how she beat diabetes in her book, Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes.

Shepherd said her diet staples now include the following:

  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Healthy whole grains
  • Garlic and onions
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Leafy greens
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruit.

Shepherd said she prepares all her meals for the week over the weekend, so there's always a supply of ready-made healthy meals at her disposal. Another weight-loss tip Sherri shared is to eat vegetables at breakfast.

Shepherd, a self-professed former couch potato, said exercise is a part of her daily routine, and said you don't need fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships to get in shape.

"You don’t have to belong to a gym to get all the benefits of strength training," she said. "Invest in a set of light hand weights for upper-body strength training. Or make your own with stuff around the house: grab a couple of food cans, use a pair of unopened water bottles."

For Shepherd, eating well and staying active is now a lifestyle, not a quick fix. "I want my family to eat and exercise this way, for their own good health," she said.

"Diabetes has forced me to make exercise a part of my daily life. It just really changed my entire way. I’ve been eating and living and that’s actually a good thing."