Aretha Franklin Weight Loss: What She Can Teach You

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Update”] This article was written in 2016. I was saddened to learn with the rest of the world that Aretha passed away on August 16, 2018.  I considered removing this article briefly, but decided to leave it because it still has valid lessons that will help us to live as healthy and well for as long as the Lord has us on this Earth. [/thrive_text_block]

aretha-franklin-weight-lossI just saw the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin sing “Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors program. Her performance stunned me. I also noticed that she’d lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw her on T.V.

Curious, I did an online search for “Aretha Franklin weight loss.” I discovered that she lost 85 pounds – the same amount I lost many years ago from my highest weight of 240 pounds.

Back in 2010, Aretha had surgery for an undisclosed ailment. While many speculated that she had weight loss surgery, Aretha herself has not confirmed that.

However, she did confirm on “The View” T.V. program that she changed her lifestyle after her health scare. She said: “I feel wonderful, I’ve got more energy, I’ve changed my diet, going to Whole Foods now, getting the best stuff … Dropped the chitlins, drop the ham hocks, getting some — I won’t say better food, I’ll say other food.”

Uh-oh. After reading that last phrase, some alarm bells went off in me.

If you are seeking permanent weight loss, here are 3 things for which you need to watch out.

1. Regardless of how you lost weight, your daily habits must change permanently to keep it off.

Many people have the classic diet mentality:

I’ll go on a diet and lose the weight. Then I can go back to the same eating habits that made me gain weight in the first place.”

If you start with that mentality, you are bound to gain back all the weight you lost – plus more.

Your body is giving you valuable feedback when you gain excess fat. It is telling you that something is out of order.

Most of the time, our bodies are working exactly the way God designed them. The likely thing that is out of order is your daily health habits.

It does little good to address the symptoms (fat) without addressing the source (habits). You see, you probably did not wake up with the excess fat on your body overnight; the fat gain happened over time. It was the compounding effect of your daily habits.

These habits can be either in the foods you chose to eat consistently, the portion sizes you chose to eat consistently, or the exercise you chose not to do consistently.

The operative word is consistently.

Your previous habit pattern has already shown you where it leads. Going back to that same pattern (as in the diet mentality) will only lead you to back to the same place.

If you want to go to a different place, then you need a new route.

2. Your identity needs updating.

Aretha was quoted as saying that she lost weight because, “I was too fat.” Having formerly been obese, I cringe when someone says, “I am fat” or even “I was fat.”

Even though you may have excess fat on your body, that is not who you are. Fat is not your identity. Saying, “I am fat” is just as ridiculous in saying, “I am bone” or “I am blood.”

However, some people live in a body with excess fat for so long that “fat” becomes their identity. They can’t even see themselves in a smaller body.

Some have experienced emotional hurts, abuse, or neglect. So food becomes a source of comfort for them. Subconsciously, they think if they don’t eat certain foods, then they will be left without comfort.

Finally, some think losing weight will make them emotionally vulnerable. Their weight has become “emotional insulation” to them.

I had that issue. When I was a teen, I received a lot of male attention and once, even felt my safety was threatened. On some level, I believed becoming heavier would make me less exposed to that attention.

In those cases, you can give such people the best diet in the world but they will not change because the above things are issues of the heart, not the body.

In my case, I gained a new identity in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I learned to see myself as the precious daughter of the most High God. He gave me a new vision of myself as a fit, healthy person,

I received my comfort from Him, not through food. I learned that God could heal my emotional hurt – and I allowed Him full access to my heart so that He could.

3. Your attitude toward healthy living must change too.

Based on one of her quotes, Aretha’s attitude toward healthy eating concerned me. She said, “…Dropped the chitlins, drop the ham hocks, getting some — I won’t say better food, I’ll say other food.”

I wondered: How does she define “better” food?

Does “better” mean better to her tastebuds? Better for her body? Or both?

I’m thinking she means better to her tastebuds. But in terms of “better” for her health and weight, they likely aren’t.

The truth is that Aretha could have eaten ham hocks and chitlins if she wanted, but to be compatible with the weight she wants to maintain, I’d advise her to think differently.

Maybe she could save those for special occasions and not try to make a consistent diet of them. For most of us, what gets us in trouble are our daily habits, not the things we do once in a while!

Here is an interesting fact about tastebuds: Did you know that the lifecycle of tastebuds is between 10 days to 2 weeks? To me, that means our tastebuds can be re-trained.

With the amount of healthy recipes and tasty spices out there, there is no need to choke down food you don’t like, even if it does help you lose weight!

You can make it an adventure to discover foods that you like, plus keep you healthy. I call that your healthy “sweet spot.”

You eat food you like, but that is also good for you. That is the best of both worlds!

A quote I love by author Rory Vaden applies here: “Success is not owned, it is only rented. And the rent is due every day.”

To make weight loss permanent, we need to make changes to our daily habits, make our identity that of a fit/healthy person, and have a positive attitude toward healthy choices.

Be blessed in health, healing, and wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor
Creator of the ‘Take Back Your Temple’ program

P.S. Are you ready to grow stronger Spiritually and heal emotionally as you achieve your ideal weight? Let the Take Back Your Temple program be your plan. God’s way is change from the inside out and once you are changed His way, you are never the same!

Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program

About the author 

Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly Taylor is a certified Christian life coach and has a heart to help others struggling with emotional eating and weight loss. Once 240 pounds and a size 22, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power to overcome. She lost 85 pounds as a result of implementing techniques to overcome emotional eating and binge eating disorder.

Kim is the author of "The Take Back Your Temple Program," which teaches Christians how to take control of their weight God's way and the books "The Weight Loss Scriptures" and "The Weight Loss Prayers."

Kim has been featured in Prevention Magazine, Charisma Magazine and on CBN’s 'The 700 Club' television program.

  • I, thank you for being obedient to God. I don’t take anything lightly or a coincidence when God is involved. I thank you for saying as long as I stay consistent with my healthy lifestyle daily I will succeed. I do not have to give up the not so healthy foods, I just cannot eat them on a daily basis. This helps me to look forward to a treat every once in a while and not think I can’t have them ever again.
    I thank God for you and leading me to change His temple.
    Thank you

  • Kimberly ,
    Just a quick note to say Thank You for being such a great blessing.

    God has gifted you with such insight and I greatly appreciate you sharing your wisdom. I have learned so much from you.
    You are an inspiration to us all.

    Many blessings,

  • Kim, I’ve said “I’m fat” too many times. It’s not my identity. Thank you.Good reminder. I have fat on me which is temporary. Who I am in Christ is permanent.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}