For “an entire decade,” Deborah Norville hated the way her body looked.
“I felt terrible,” the Inside Edition host, 60, tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t like walking into a room; I didn’t like walking out of a room, because the view both ways was horrible.”
But beyond aesthetics, Norville was developing health problems made worse by genetics.
“I have a family history of a lot of cardiac problems,” she says. “My big wake-up call was my blood pressure was up, and I was really angry about it, because I don’t eat a lot of garbage. But my doctor looked at me, and he said, ‘At a certain point you can’t escape your genetics.’ I said, ‘Well, my blood pressure wouldn’t be so high if I wasn’t so fat.’ So he said do something about it. Lose some weight.”
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From there, Norville decided to completely cut out all sugar.
It wasn’t easy, because it is in everything,” she says. “It took me about a solid three weeks of me being incredibly purposeful about avoiding sugar. You will be slack jawed about how much added sugar there is, when you start reading your labels. I looked at my half and half and the second ingredient was corn syrup. That turned me into a dilettante about reading the labels.”
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Ditching sugar meant talking herself out of the candy bowl in the office break room and ignoring the boxes of crackers with hidden sucrose, but after the first three weeks, she found that her taste buds had changed.
“I started to realize it was working when I ate half an apple — and it tasted so sweet to me,” she says.
Norville also started eating fresh foods as much as possible, like high-fiber vegetables that she would simply roast with olive oil and spices like turmeric and curry. And each morning, she mixed up a bowl of oatmeal with flaxseeds.
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Without really intending to lose a certain amount of weight, Norville dropped 30 lbs. in about eight months.
“I am very satisfied with where I am now,” she says. “Frankly, I look pretty darn good. I can fit in a dress that I bought the year after I graduated high school, and that makes me pretty darn proud.”
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Plus, Norville’s blood pressure numbers are “definitely better” — and “I feel good,” she says.
And while she was strict with herself at the start, Norville will let herself have wine during the holiday season — she’s just staying away from the hors d’oeuvres.
“Unfortunately one of the things with sugar is wine, but I’m not an absolutist about that,” she says. “I’m not going to eat those pigs in a blanket though, because it’s not worth it. You do a little cost-benefit analysis in your head.”
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