Grammy Award winning Soul legend Aretha Franklin is planning a triumphant return to the stage in May, according to Billboard.com.
The singer, who underwent gastric bypass surgery (according to inside sources) in early December, will play her first concert since the surgery on May 28 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Buffalo, N.Y.
Though she's feeling better than she has in years, Ms. Franklin, 68, steadfastly refuses to admit she had gastric bypass surgery done. She's not alone; many celebrities have undergone the procedure and then lied about it, saying they lost the weight through diet and exercise.
It's too bad that celebrities won't use their high profile access to the public to talk about the health benefits of gastric bypass surgery. What it is about human nature that makes us deny self-improvement procedures as if these procedures are somehow taboo?
Since her surgery, Aretha has focused on her diet, which she changed drastically per doctor's orders. She is noticeably slimmer but she won't say how much weight she lost.
Instead, Ms. Franklin talks about maintaining the weight she's at now. "I want to not only maintain the weight I am at now, but better it, by one dress size," the Queen of Soul said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Ms. Franklin cancelled concert plans last year prior to her surgery due to an undisclosed illness. But sources say Franklin was feeling fatigued and short of breath due to the heavy physical demands placed on her by her concert performances.
"Her doctor told her to lose the weight or she might die," said my source who works for the singer's record label.
Aretha is sticking to a strict low fat, low cholesterol, low salt diet, but she said it will be tough to avoid eating her post-high fat, high calorie snacks, such as chitterlings, pigs' feet and ham hocks.
"They're off my diet. They just really don't fit with Whole Foods," she said. "I had it for enough years that I don't miss it. You can't continue to eat things that are not good for you."
"When you come off (a high-energy concert), a carrot or some celery just isn't going to work. I've gotta do a fresh fruit thing ... and come up with some tasty and satisfying recipes that are going to work for me after concerts."