By EEW Magazine Buzz Editors:: NEWS & ENTERTAINMENT
No one wants to hear someone say, “Hey, you’re overweight!” But that’s precisely what a few relatives of gospel singing sensation, Kierra Sheard, told her—something the BET “The Sheards” reality star claims helped save her life.
In an interview with Ebony to promote the April 7 premiere of her family’s brand new docu-series, the 25-year-old admits she was once tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds. But a turning point came when Sheard went to visit a now deceased uncle in Las Vegas, whom she had not seen in years.
“Girl, you getting as big as you can be. You need to get some weight off,” she remembers him saying, noting that those were the first words to come out of his mouth.
“That I will never forget,” she continues. "I walked out. I cried.”
Though his blunt remarks were hard to hear, Sheard, who still struggles with her weight says, "I know someone who was my same age back then and she died from being obese. And if I hadn't had a family member to tell me that, I would probably be dead now or bigger than what I was.”
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.
Research also shows more than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and deaths from heart disease and stroke are almost twice the rate for African Americans compared to whites.
Last year, in a Nov. 24 social cam video message to her supporters, titled, “Just Thinking,” Sheard talked about her body.
“I’m holding onto clothes that I can’t fit,” she shared. “I keep saying I’m going to lose weight. I want to lose the weight, but since I can’t fit the clothes, it’s okay to kinda let some of this stuff go.”
Letting go is the same thing the award-winning vocalist eventually decided to do with the ill feelings she harbored over relatives’ direct commentary about her expanding waistline.
“I understand [now] that they didn't say those things to hurt me,” she reflects. “They said those things out of love."
According to Sheard, her concerned grandmother, whom she calls “Nana,” has also harped on her weight issue, which, she admits, is a result of overeating and lack of exercise.
"I like to eat good! I like to eat good food. That's the hardest part. And the other hardest part is that I don't like to exercise. I hate exercise,” Sheard tells Ebony.
But these days, as she gears up for the release of her fifth studio album, the single, successful, saved college grad is focusing on turning over a new leaf.
"I made that decision to live a long life, understanding that diabetes runs in my family and I don't want to die soon. It's gotten to a point where I really care about my weight."