Randy Jackson Reveals How He's Maintained 100 Lb. Weight Loss 18 Years After Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Name That Tune band leader and Unify Health co-founder opens up about his health journey and why he's feeling better than ever at 65

2022 Randy Jackson name that tune publicity shot credit: Fox
Randy Jackson. Photo: fox

Nearly two decades after undergoing gastric bypass surgery following a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, Randy Jackson is feeling better than ever.

In the latest issue of PEOPLE, the TV veteran — who's currently the band leader on Fox's hit musical game show Name That Tune — opens up about his health journey and relationship with food over the years.

"It's a great jump starter. You lose a bunch of weight really fast, but maintaining's another thing because you get there and your mind tells you, 'Okay, phew. I'm here now. I can start to party and bring out the cheesecakes,'" says Jackson, 65, who underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2003.

The former American Idol judge says he's managed to maintain his 114 lb. weight loss by eating healthy, avoiding crash diets and prioritizing his gut health.

"I hate the word diet. I don't use that anymore. Anybody that's lost weight, you lose it and then you start eating and drinking more and it all starts coming back. That's what started happening to me," he says. "I was like, 'No, I'm not going to spend my life going through this."

For more on Randy Jackson and his life now, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

People Magazine Cover jan. 26, 2004. randy Jackson

Five years ago, Jackson began taking a more holistic approach towards his health, focusing on his gut and the "behavioral psychology" behind his eating.

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"Eating's all emotional. I needed to really get it together so I could keep it off," says the star, who co-founded a nutrition company, Unify Health, that offers science-backed supplements in hopes of helping others struggling to reach their goals.

To avoid binge eating, Jackson maps out five meals a day — "fish, some sort of veggie and maybe a little handful of rice or potato" for lunch or dinner, he says — and snacks on bananas, apples, cheese or protein bars and shakes.

But that doesn't mean he's sworn off sweets. "If I really feel like I need to have a piece of candy, I have a small piece so that in my mind, I'm not saying, 'No, no, no,'" he says of finding balance. "The more you deny yourself, the more you're going to go on a bender and have 18 candy bars without stopping at some point."

2022 Randy Jackson name that tune publicity shot credit: Fox
Name That Tune on Fox. fox

Between recording new music, working on his TV show, helming his nutrition company and spending time with his kids, Jackson is busier than ever.

But the star, who starts his day with Pilates or spinning, says he feels healthier — mentally and physically — now than in his 20s or 30s.

"I think if I had not figured it all out, I would've gained at least half, if not more, of that weight back," says Jackson, who weighed more than 350 lbs. during his time on Idol. "And I'm proud to know that we did something that helps me, that helps everyone else, and takes the guesswork out of it for everybody."

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