Sherri Shepherd’s 16-year-old son, Jeffrey Jr., helped her transform her life after the talk show host was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007. The television personality shares her story with PEOPLE exclusively.
“I had this vision of my son at 5-years-old, holding his teddy bear, and he was crying because he was trying to figure out where heaven was because that’s where everybody said mommy was,” Shepherd shares with the media outlet. “And that woke me up,” the celebrity mom reveals. “Anything about my son,” she continues. “I jolted up, and I said, ‘I’ve got to make a change because I don’t want to die.'”
Sherri Shepherd changed everything from her diet to her exercise schedule to achieve weight loss and, ultimately, optimal living. The television personality is an inspiration for many who desire to lose weight and embrace healthy living. Sherri, however, refuses to become complacent in her success thus far.
“[My son] motivates me every day,” Sherri tells PEOPLE. “He always encourages me,” Shepherd adds. “And I’m encouraged also because I get to do more things with him, and I have more energy.”
Jeffrey Jr. celebrated his sixteenth birthday in April, which further motivates Sherri Shepherd to pursue health and wellness.
“At 16, you need your brain,” Sherri tells PEOPLE. “It’s a whole different thing dealing with a teenager,” the celebrity mom admits. “You’ve got to be two steps ahead of them, and you can’t do it when you’re in a fog,” she continues. “And so, just keeping up with him, I have to have energy, and that motivates me as well.”
Jeffrey Jr. is Sherri Shepherd’s son with her first husband, Jeff Tarpley. The television personality also has a son named Lamar Jr. with her second husband, Lamar Sally Sr. You can learn more about type 2 diabetes at the American Diabetes Association website.
Photo: Sherri Shepherd/Instagram