Important Note: This article is not written to denounce the overweight individuals, nor it’s penned to imply any form of negative assertions or connotations to being overweight. The author and Hollywoodmask understand and respect both the Body Positivity and Body Neutrality movement in a sense that we should treat each other with empathy and strive together to imagine a world in which we can channel our inner beauty and potentialities.

Orange Is the New Black Actress Lea DeLaria is known for her big jolly build, but lately, she looks way thinner than she used to be. The Belleville, Illinois native has always embraced her body, so her sudden need to lose weight could come as a surprise to some.

There is a reasonable explanation, though. DeLaria was compelled to lose weight because of her diabetes diagnosis.

 But how serious was it? And how did the actress successfully lose so much weight in so little time? In this article, we will delve deeper into her health and attempt to find out.

Lea DeLaria has Always Embraced Her Body

DeLaria is often called “Butch” for her masculine build, but she has no nickname problem. One of her tattoos even spells out the word, showing how much she embraces the title.

She is also known for appreciating her body, calling herself a “Proud Fat woman.” The actress has always been seen as a confident self-accepting woman and a figure of inspiration by many.


Lots of peeps be asking about this tattoo. All my ink is real. #badass

A post shared by Lea DeLaria (@realleadelaria) on

Talking To EOnline during the period when she had already adopted a  diabetes-friendly diet post-2014, she emphasized the importance of channeling inner beauty and bashed Hollywood’s obsession with thinness.

"When I lecture at universities I always say, 'Look, I got laid just as much as I did when I was 50 lbs. heavier than I am right now.' So, frankly, you're beautiful no matter what your size is...This obsession we have with thinness in our industry and in the world needs to [go away]," DeLaria said to EOnline.

DeLaria Was Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2014

Since DeLaria always embraced her body, her weight was never an issue until she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in September 2014. She previously had ignored symptoms for years, passing them off as menopause since she was in her mid-50s. 

I had all the symptoms of diabetes — frequent urination the middle of the night, feeling like I had no energy — but those are also symptoms of menopause...I just thought I was doing the menopause thing, but it lasted for almost a decade.

Her diabetes was quite serious, though; in an interview with, De Laria said she could have even died from it.

“It was a good thing I went to a doctor; you know I knocked, knock, knocking on death’s door.”

knocked, knock, knocking on death’s door.”

Diabetes Forced Lea DeLaria to Change her Eating Habits

DeLaria claimed that she didn’t slack off at all after she found out she had diabetes. Instead, she completely changed her diet, focusing only on proteins and vegetables. 

In an interview with Yahoo Life in May 2020, she admitted she used to eat “anything [she] wanted” before being diagnosed. After diagnosis, though, she did everything to eat healthily. Her diet changed from “anything” to one that had lots of protein and green vegetables.  

“I completely changed the way I eat. You won’t see me eating a lot of toast, and potatoes are special foods.”

In the beginning, DeLaria found it hard to adopt a healthy diet. The medicines she took for diabetes prohibited her from even having an appetite. 

One: I have no appetite. Two: When I finally do get an appetite, I take two bites of it. Three: Anything I eat comes right out again because of the medication...My fiancée is like, 'You're living my dream!' It ain't my dream—I'd rather eat a steak, let's be honest.

A Simple Change in Diet & Regular Excercise Helped a Lot in Her Weight Loss 

Changing her diet definitely showed its result, and by April 2015, DeLaria had lost 50 pounds in less than six months. 

In a 2018 interview with, she claimed that her total weight loss was 60 pounds reducing her weight to 170 pounds. She attributed all of this to healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and diabetes medication. She also said that her blood sugar level was comparable to a normal person then, even though her diabetes was chronic.

Also, she competed with her diabetic brother in controlling their respective diabetes. The fact that diabetes ran in her family hadn't bothered DeLaria until she was diagnosed with it. 

When my brother was diagnosed with diabetes, I was making fun of him, going, ‘Ha ha. You have to watch what you eat and I can eat whatever I want...Then, I had to call him and go, ‘Well, I got it too...Sibling rivalry really helped me take care of my diabetes.

DeLaria is an Avid Advocate of Body Positivity and part of LGBT Community

DeLaria has repeatedly emphasized that her weight loss was purely due to health reasons and not for her figure. She is big on body positivity and frequently advocates for LGBT rights too.

Her acceptance of her body and her sexuality is a big part of that. One of her many tattoos is a Greek signal showing that she is a lesbian.