Last month, when Paula Deen revealed on “Today” that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago, I thought she looked as if she had dropped some weight. She didn’t say anything about it at the time.
When Deen first revealed she’s had the disease for three years, she also revealed she is the paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Victoza. The backlash was fierce. She was accused of only revealing she had the disease so she could make a profit off of it. Her behavior, some believed, was egregious.
Another complaint was Deen’s “missed opportunity” to show her fans that diabetes could be controlled with diet and exercise, not just drugs. It looks as if Deen hasn’t missed this opportunity; her life is proof of it. She says she’s dropped two pants sizes since reducing her caloric intake and adding exercise to her daily routine, but she won’t know how much weight she’s lost until she next sees her doctor. She doesn’t own a scale.
There are still going to be angry people who think Deen is irresponsible, an opportunist, and a hazard to our nation’s health. They’re certainly allowed to think that.
But like I said when I first wrote about Deen’s diabetes, if she can also use her celebrity and influence to educate others about Type 2 diabetes that’s becoming more prevalent in our country as our collective weight goes up, she could make a big difference in the fight against obesity. Wouldn’t that be incredibly ironic and incredibly cool?
There are many people who are still big fans of Paula Deen. They’re still watching her TV shows, still defending her whenever someone writes something negative, and still attending her appearances. If she continues with this lifestyle change and the diet and exercise make a difference in her health, people will learn from it. It’s quite possible that’s she is beginning to make a difference in the fight against obesity. It’s still too early to call, but some good could be coming out of all of this after all.
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