The butter-loving Southern chef hasn’t exactly been our favorite health role model of late, but I’m glad to say that Paula Deen may be turning over a new leaf. After announcing that she has Type II diabetes (for three years), Deen said she’d start making healthier meals, though almost no one believed her. But she seems to be making a commitment to actually being a role model; Deen recently shared with People magazine, as well as fans at a cooking demo that she’s started cutting her portions and–here’s the best part–walking at least 30 minutes per day. She’s lost two pants sizes, she says, but most of all, she feels great.
The uproar following Deen’s announcement–long after she herself had received the diagnosis, and in correlation with her decision to start shilling for diabetes medication–created a landslide of criticism on both sides. Anthony Bourdain slammed her artery-clogging, sugar-laden dishes and general disregard for health, while Deen’s fans called attackers elitist fat-shamers. But regardless of whether you love her or hate her, the fact is that Deen has been promoting a pretty unhealthy attitude toward food and health, contributing to the American idea that only unhealthy, nutritionally-devoid, high-in-fat dishes can ever taste good. Now, she’s singing a different turn, by touting her new exercise plan.
“We don’t own a scale in our house,” Deen told People, but, she says, she’s been walking 30 minutes per day, reducing her portions, and trying to learn to cook light. Which is great! Even if she doesn’t lose an ounce, just demonstrating the ability to make a change that includes a moderate amount of exercise to her fans is a big step in the right direction. Because really, if she can do it, anyone who loves her show probably can.
Deen has also taken to her Facebook page, where she’s started regularly posting healthier meals, and even the above photo of herself on a treadmill. And each time she does, her fans eat it up, leaving supportive messages and their own pledges to start thinking about their health.
Her son, who says she’s been “guilty of being a little too sedentary – like a lot of people” has been cheering her on the whole time. He’s a runner, and recently gave her a pedometer to help her monitor her progress. Deen says she doesn’t have a scale, but she’s noticed a difference in how she feels, and her clothes fit.
“It’s amazing how good getting up and moving makes you feel.” Deen told her fans.
Yes, Paula. Yes it is.
Image: Paula Deen’s Facebook page