Sheryl Underwood is known for her beautiful smile and glamorous lifestyle. The 56-year-old actress and model has starred in several iconic films, including Taxi Driver, Crossroads, and The Burning Bed. And she wasn’t always so comfortable in her own skin. In fact, not too long ago, she actually considered herself obese.
“I was a very heavy woman — almost 500 pounds — and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin,” she told Women’s Health. “I felt like a monster in pictures. I wanted to be known for my talent and not for my weight. So I worked really hard to lose the weight.”
Now, at 5 feet 10 inches and 308 pounds, she knows just how wrong she was. Feeling happier and healthier than ever, Sheryl has committed to losing the last 35 pounds and keeping them off for good. And she’s doing it with the help of some healthy eating and gym habits.
Here, she shares her unique weight loss journey and the foods and workouts that helped her achieve such extraordinary results.
How Did Sheryl Eat Before She Lost Weight?
For most of her life, Sheryl ate whatever she wanted. She loved chocolate, so much so that it was in many of her meals. Plus, she never really felt that she needed to watch what she ate, so she often ate the foods that she liked without caring much about what was in them. This, of course, resulted in extra pounds.
“I didn’t care much about what was in food back then, so I’d eat a Twinkie for lunch and then a Snickers at dinner,” she told Women’s Health. “I’d eat anything that was put in front of me, so I used to have a food addiction. If they put cheese on a pizza, I’d take a slice. And when they asked for a second helping, I’d say, ‘Bring me a pizza tester.'”
This, of course, is why she’s been able to lose the weight so easily. For the first month of her weight loss journey, she cut out all the foods that she knew she shouldn’t have been eating, and she replaced them with healthier alternatives. She didn’t deprive herself of any foods, but she made conscious choices about what to eat and when to eat it. In addition, she started exercising regularly, and her energy levels are much better now than they were prior to her loss.
What Is Sheryl’s Day-to-Day Routine?
Every day, Sheryl gets up early and enjoys a healthy breakfast — usually a combination of berries, grapes, or sliced almonds — before heading to the gym. On the fifth day of her 7-day routine, she did her first workout of the day, followed by a protein shake and some vegetables. In the evening, she eats a small meal — she avoids most foods with sugar — and then has a glass of wine. On the weekends, Sheryl sleeps in and starts her day with coffee and a croissant. And she always makes sure to eat breakfast at a healthy restaurant, opting for the green salad or the egg white frittata.
After her workout, Sheryl makes time for a little bit of yoga to stretch and open up her muscles. Then she showers and gets dressed for the day. On the days that she goes to the gym after work, she gets her hair and makeup done and then heads to the restaurant for dinner with her friends. On the other nights, she stays in and watches TV or reads a book. On the weekends, she often goes out with friends or stays in and cooks dinner for herself. On the days that she has a public appearance, Sheryl tries to dress in simple, but elegant, clothing. And she always heads to the gym, either a few hours before a big event or a little while before a small one. On rare occasions, she will even get a massage therapy session after working out.
On the days that she doesn’t work out, Sheryl tries to find time to do a little bit of yoga or stretch. She also tries to walk as much as possible. When she feels like she needs a mental break, she goes for a drive or catches up with a friend for coffee. In the evening, she has a glass of wine and then goes to sleep. On the weekends, she sleeps in and starts her day with coffee and a croissant.
How Big a Role Does Sheryl’s Family Play In Her Life?
Sheryl’s family plays a huge role in her life, particularly her sister and her nephew. Sheryl’s sister, Barbara, is a special needs teacher who works with children with autism and also raised Sheryl when her parents were unable to do so. Her nephew, Spencer, is a teenager who has ADHD and also struggles with dyslexia. Barbara and Spencer have helped Sheryl adjust to life as a celebrity, particularly Spencer, who has become very protective of her. He makes sure that she is always treated with the utmost respect and doesn’t get too many strangers near her.
Barbara often invites friends over to help her cook dinners for Spencer, so that he can socialize with people his own age. And when Sheryl has to travel for work, Spencer will stay with her sister and take care of her. Overall, it’s been a very positive experience for Sheryl, as she feels that they have helped her grow as a person and become a better sister.
What About Sheryl’s Social Life?
When asked about her social life, Sheryl is very open about it. She loves to travel and meet new people, so she makes plans to go to nightclubs and parties when she has time off. She also becomes very active on social media, particularly Twitter, where she has over 250,000 followers. She uses her account to promote healthy living and to give advice to her followers about how to achieve their own weight loss journeys.
Sheryl also goes on holiday with her nephew and sister every year, which she enjoys immensely. And she loves to shop, so when she has time off, she makes plans to go to the stores with her friends. While Sheryl is grateful for all that she has, she realizes that she needs to stay committed to her weight loss journey to keep her healthy and happy. She feels that her life is very full, but she still finds time for herself regularly to work out and to eat healthy foods. Her ultimate goal is to feel comfortable in her own skin and to keep her body as tight as possible without being too scared to eat the foods that she loves. And she wants to inspire others on their journey to weight loss as well.