Paula Deen and Family Drop Weight, Diabetes a 'Blessing'

Paula Deen has revealed that in addition to her own weight loss, her family members have also slimmed down and improved their health after the Food Network star's diabetes diagnosis.

The Southern food specialist was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year, and has lost 36 pounds since.

Furthermore, Deen's health scare prompted her husband, Michael Groover, and sons Jamie and Bobby, to take their diet more seriously. The entire family has lost a collective 178 pounds over the past year, according to People magazine.

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By committing to strict diets catered to their busy schedules, Deen and her family were able to shed excess weight and improve their well being, causing the 65-year-old chef to refer to her diabetes as a "blessing."

The Food Network star has previously stated that her favorite foods include butter, salt, cream cheese, and all things fried, but now, Deen has made serious changes.

"It's all about moderation," the Southern food specialist told Woman's Day magazine. "I just needed to learn to eat a normal portion size and not overindulge."

Moreover, the 5-foot-6-inch tall chef kept the weight off by cutting back on carbohydrates and increasing vegetables.

"I eat reasonable portions," Deen told People magazine. "Tonight, I treated myseld to just a half a piece of bread."

The 65-year-old noted that every once in awhile she still indulges in her favorite foods.

"You can't deprive yourself all the time," the chef told People.

Deen elaborated on how she became "more aware" about eating habits and admitted the need to change her trademark cooking style while speaking to Women's Day. Adding to her reasons for staying healthy, the chef said she often thinks about her family.

"I want to be here for my grandchildren," said Southern chef said. "I think about them every day. My daddy was dead at 40. My mother was dead at 44. And look-I'm 65 and I'm still here! Go 65!"

The cookbook author added laughing, "Waking up every morning is very exciting for me, to see what the day is going to bring."

Furthermore, Deen imparted her own tips for weight loss.

"Putting my fork down and having a conversation has been a huge help, because it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you're full," said the chef.

As for her famous peanut butter pie, Deen said, "It doesn't taste good if you do a lighter version. Some of those substitute ingredients taste nasty. So you just have a small piece of the real version."

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