When Sharon Osbourne marked her 60th birthday last October, it was something of a double celebration. The matriarch of one of heavy metal’s most prominent families—who is candid about her lifelong struggle with her weight—had dropped 23 pounds, a goal that topped her birthday bucket list.
Sharon, mother of three and wife of Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, has had her share of challenges. In 2002, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, and after a successful surgery and treatment, founded the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, to help other cancer patients. She also supported daughter Kelly, 28, through her own dramatic weight loss, and helped son Jack, 27, maintain his optimism after he was diagnosed last June with multiple sclerosis (MS). Then last fall, Sharon opted for a double mastectomy after testing positive for the breast cancer gene. As the outspoken Brit settles into her third year as co-host of CBS’s gab-fest The Talk, Sharon shares her secrets for making good health a priority.
Spry: Why do you think your weight-loss plan worked this time when other attempts—even lap band surgery—didn’t?
Sharon: I had lap band surgery in 1999 and lost 125 pounds. Then I put on 25 pounds, and later gained 40 more pounds and had the band removed. It’s taken me 60 years to realize that it’s not about dieting but rather changing your lifestyle and making healthier choices. I started the Atkins plan that encourages the consumption of protein, good carbs and a balance of fats, and I lost 23 pounds in 6 weeks. I like that I’m able to eat foods I enjoy and can dine out and have a social life. It’s an easy plan to follow and I don’t have to worry about measuring foods or only eating certain food groups.
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Spry: With your busy schedule, how do you make time for exercise?
Sharon: I have discovered that I really enjoy lifting weights and I try to do it four times a week. Ozzy and I also have 12 dogs, and we get lots of exercise with them.
Spry: You and Ozzy just celebrated your 30th anniversary. What do you believe is the secret to a long and happy marriage?
Sharon: Patience! I think marriage gets better as time goes on, and I find that I’ve become more patient, and that Ozzy and I are able to talk out any issues that might arise.
Spry: How is your son, Jack, doing since his MS diagnosis last summer, and how are you coping as a family?
Sharon: Jack is doing very well. He’s extremely strong, he’s taking his health seriously, and has a positive attitude. His diagnosis was a complete shock to us, and although I knew MS was an autoimmune disorder, I didn’t know much else about it. Ozzy and I started reading everything we could about the disease. I did the same thing after I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I think it’s empowering to know what you’re up against, and to realize that having a serious illness isn’t a death sentence.
Spry: Your program at Cedars-Sinai offers support services to colon cancer patients. What advice do you have for our readers who may be dealing with a cancer diagnosis?
Sharon: I would tell them that they aren’t alone, and that there are resources to help them through this journey. It can be hard to ask for help, but when people let others assist them by making a meal or watching their children, they can fully concentrate on getting better.
Spry: You’ve just turned 60. How do you feel about aging?
Sharon: At my age, I feel I’ve earned the right to express my point of view. I’ve had an unusual life, and I’ve learned from my experiences, and I’m comfortable saying what’s on my mind.
Spry: What health advice would you give to your younger self?
Sharon: Listen to your body. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you think you know everything, and it’s not until you get older that you realize you didn’t know anything. Women are so busy with work and families, and we don’t always make our own health a priority. When I was diagnosed with colon cancer, I had been feeling tired, but attributed it to being a busy mom. My blood test showed I was anemic, and my doctor suspected I was bleeding internally. He ordered a colonoscopy and that’s when they found I had colon cancer.
Spry: What songs are you listening to right now?
Sharon: I love Bruno Mars, Adele and Muse. I really enjoy a lot of different artists and genres of music. •