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Randy Jackson Tackles Weight Loss, Diet, and Diabetes

American Idol judge reveals how he lost 100 pounds and tamed his diabetes. Plus, a slimmed-down recipe and his iPod playlist!

Randy Jackson's New Book

This relentlessly practical point of view is the heart of Jackson’s new book, Body With Soul: Slash Sugar, Cut Cholesterol, and Get a Jump on Your Best Health Ever, releasing on Dec. 2. “I am not some trainer with a half-percentage of body fat; I am a real guy dealing with obesity,” he says. “I am the guy who knows what it’s like to be walking around with 100 extra pounds.”

You can’t get more real than that. In an oversaturated market where weight-loss books hawk get-skinny-quick gimmicks, Jackson’s gimmick is that there is no gimmick. He is all about being real, exercising and eating in moderation, and accepting yourself for who you are.

His chosen profession has forced him to be diet-conscious as well. While many of his peers in the music industry battled drugs and alcohol, “food was always my thing,” Jackson says, “because I grew up in the South where food and good times were king.” And this love affair with food continued as he toured and played bass for Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and Whitney Houston, plus a lengthy stint as the bassist for Journey. He has also recorded with such luminaries as Madonna and Celine Dion.

A well-stocked deli tray is set up like a welcome mat for the band, and that’s just before the event. “After the show, everybody hangs out and eats and drinks. There are all kinds of sandwiches plus chips, cheeses, cookies, cakes, candy, beer, wine,” he recalls.

Now Jackson is a self-proclaimed TV-show guy, and he lives in Los Angeles where health and fitness, not food and good times, tend to reign supreme. His healthier approach to eating is spilling over to his children -- Taylor, 18 (with ex-wife Elizabeth Jackson), Zoe, 13, and Jordan, 11, with wife Erika. “There are lots of fruits and vegetables in the house, and we now have the corn without the bread,” he says.

He has also learned to cook healthier versions of the foods he grew up loving, such as low-fat sweet potato pie and salt-free Cajun spice bread. (Try Jackson's recipe for shrimp and sausage gumbo.)

Randy Jackson's Weight Loss

Even so, how does he hold his own in the face of Cowell’s teasing or late nights on the road? “I now know so much about food that I can look at a piece of chicken or fish and have half,” he says. “I am very attuned to knowing when I have had enough.”

Forgiveness is also a part of the equation for Jackson. “If you make a mistake, change it the next day,” he says. “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.” Jackson instead turns to frozen yogurt and protein shakes to satisfy his sweet tooth.

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