Randy Jackson Former American Idol Judge on His Weight Loss Journey

Randy Jackson former American Idol judge on his weight loss journey. Back in 2002, in the middle of his second-life changing period as a judge on American Idol, the former musician and producer was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At that time, he told the press he weighed 350 upwards and spent most of his life consuming his way through poor habits.

Randy astounded audiences in 2003 after undergoing gastric bypass surgery. The procedure took place after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a gastric bypass is a procedure that minimizes your stomach and streamlines your digestive tracts, and later revealed serious weight loss while appearing on American Idol. However, the surgery was just the first step towards Randy’s better health journey.

Photo: Courtesy of Randy Jackson | Instagram

In the last couple decades, Randy Jackson has clearly changed the American pop culture making way for game shows and reality contests gracing our televisions today. The fans of American Idol and America’s Best Dance Crew have had the chance to witness Jackson’s journey to becoming an entertainment icon unfold together with a glimpse at his own personal health transformation as well.

“I started on this health regimen many years ago while I was on American Idol…Lost a ton of weight, started gaining it back,” he explained discussing his 100-pound-plus weight loss in the years after his surgery. “Then, I went on my own journey to try and discover. How do I keep it off? What do I do?” Randy told the anchors Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush-Hager that his health is still a work in a progress during his recent guesting on the Today show.

Randy has freely spoken about the challenges and obstacles he has faced since 2003 and the answer hasn’t always been clear for him. Challenges such as sometimes with managing his weight, other times with living with diabetes. He has undoubtedly come a long way since the diagnosis, though, telling Hoda and Jenna that his new outlook on health has been, “a long time running, a long time coming,” Randy said.


Let’s take a look at how Randy Jackson has worked at transforming his own view on health, plus how he has managed his incredible weight loss, in his own way.

Being Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes -

RandyJackson opened up about his initial diagnosis in a self-help guide he wrote in 2008, called Body with Soul. The diagnosis is something he referred to as “both a blessing and a curse.” He has always credited his experience with the disease as the motivation for the necessary change in his health.

“It’s a curse to be saddled with a disease that is life-threatening and that you can’t completely get rid of, though you can certainly manage it,” Randy wrote in a book. “But it’s a blessing to get that huge wake-up call. After that day in the ER, when my doctor burst the bubble I’d been living in, I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. Right there and then, I began my journey towards better health.”

When he was diagnosed with the disease, Randy turned to doctors to learn everything he could about the illness, including potential side effects like heart disease, blindness or even nerve damage and possible amputation if left untreated. “I realized a lot of things that can happen if you don’t manage it, which is why I encourage everyone to do so,” Randy told Health Magazine in 2012.

Diet Fads Just Didn’t Work Out -

When he wrote his self-help guide Body with Soul, Randy explained how he eventually ended up in a place where he could break years of bad dietary habits, and it had a lot to do with his wake-up call. “Diets, liquid fasts, weight-loss medications, you name it, and none of them ever worked for long. But when I wound up at the hospital, I had to face up to why all those methods failed,” he shared.

Randy later told WebMD that he also tried things like liquid fasts and may have even considered apitherapy, a controversial method involving bee stings, before he realized why short-term solutions didn’t work out for him. “The problem is that those diets don’t work for people who had the disease of obesity,” he said in 2008.

For Randy, the complications surrounding the Type 2 diabetes and its potential side effects scared him, and helped him realize that his determination needed to change. “Not to be very dramatic, but it had really come down to a matter of life and death…I had to figure out what would work for me, and ultimately I did.”

Keeping Off the Weight -

In the 19 years since he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Randy has told the press that he has managed to lose and keep off no less than 114 pounds in his new routine. But it wasn’t a quick and easy change for Randy.

Randy mentioned that he had a hard time adapting better dietary habits after undergoing gastric bypass surgery, and he actually gained some weight back after the procedure.

Randy told WebMD in 2008 that his life in television and music meant that it wasn’t always easy to eat healthily, streamlining his diet required a lot of effort on his behalf. “After the show, everybody hangs out and eats and drinks,” he explained. “There are all kinds of sandwiches plus chips, cheeses, cookies, cakes, candy, beer, wine.” Randy worked to completely changed the foods he ate on a regular basis after his initial weight gain.

“You have to almost have a complete divorce break up…and start back bit by bit and find out the things that work with your body and you also find out the allergies and really pay attention to how you feel,” he told the press in 2020.

Healthier Makeover Recipe Favorites -

Randy had grown up on recipes that were decadent in nature, as a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I grew up in Louisiana, so my diet was rich southern fried foods,” he told Health. His favorites included gumbo, sausage and grits, and plenty of jambalayas. He later shared in a WebMD profile that he didn’t give up all of these favorite meals entirely but modified them with healthier changes and substitutes. “It’s all about being aware of who you are, knowing your body, and accepting that, “he said.

Maintaining Moderation Is Key -

Randy told WebMD, “Never say ‘I will never have another piece of chocolate’ because it won’t happen. And as soon as you say never, there is a binge coming,” adding that he modified his own sweet tooth by balancing occasional chocolate with frozen yogurt. It seems that moderation is at the core of Randy’s long-term commitment to health: He’ll allow himself to have, say, a full serving of one kind of potatoes at a holiday meal, but not two or more carb-heavy sides.

Firing Up the Fitness Routine -

Randy shared with Health that he only exercised about 30 minutes each week, before being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which is about two hours short of the minimum recommended amount of exercise. While exercise is necessary to help keep his weight and diabetes in check, Randy didn’t immediately start into an intense gym routine. In fact, he began modifying his fitness routine by simply walking every single day even for just 10 minutes. “I needed to start with something I could do that was simple,” he said.

After 35 to 45 minutes of walking or light jogging, Randy also turns to yoga, which has its own benefits. “I have become accustomed to yoga and I love the stretching and how it makes my body feel better and looser.”

Eventually, Randy made it over to the gym for a more focused workout. He usually starts his routine by hopping on a treadmill, which he keeps right next to his bed. “It’s right there staring at me, going, ‘Come here.’ You know you need this,” he shared with WebMD.


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