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Tanya Tucker, 60, Opens Up About the Diagnosis That Changed Her Life

In the new issue of First for Women, on stands now, country music legend Tanya Tucker opens up about her fight for health and how she came out the other side slimmer, happier, and more radiant than ever at age 60. Two years ago, after the Delta Dawn singer was struggling for months with debilitating fatigue, she was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus and a host of other health issues.

“I had been to every doctor trying to find out what was wrong with me,” Tucker tells First. “Finally, I went to this gal in town. She took my blood and came back and said, ‘Yikes, you have fibromyalgia.  You have Hashimoto’s. You are low on vitamin D. Your thyroid and hormones are completely screwed up.’ It was really hard to do anything — especially for someone like me who’s known for having so much energy.”

That diagnosis started Tucker on a journey back to health. “I’m on a lot of supplements now,” she tells the mag. “My doctors say I’m just a walking experiment because what works for me might not work for someone else. It’s a hunt-and-peck, but I’m a lot better.”

“Part of being ill is that you can fall into a depression,” Tucker shares with First. But luckily, she had plenty of friends to help lift her spirits. “I remember one day when I was really struggling, I called Merle Haggard and he said, ‘What are you doing?’ and I told him I didn’t think I could tour or make music anymore. And he said, ‘You can’t quit! Are you crazy? There are people out there who want to hear your music. You can’t do that to them.’ That helped. It wasn’t too long after that I was back on the road touring. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I think there’s great things coming,” she says.

To keep up her positive outlook while on her current tour, Tanya Tucker’s North American Tour, she relies on these smart tips:

Gluten-Free Indulgences

“One of the things I’ve learned the past few years is that I’m gluten intolerant,” Tucker tells First. “I stopped eating any gluten, and I lost 40 pounds. I can’t have flour, but I can have all kinds of Mexican food, which I really love — chips and salsa, guacamole, and queso dip. And now they have gluten-free flour. I’ll make banana pudding with gluten-free flour that’s really good.”

Letting Go of Control

“I’m finding as I get older that all those corny little sayings you’ve heard all your life are so true. That whole thing about ‘let go and let God,’ for instance,” notes Tucker.

Quiet Time with God

“Prayer is probably the biggest way I handle stress,” muses Tucker. “To me, prayer is talking to God, and meditating is listening to God. But I think meditation is a little heavy of a word for me. I think of it more as just alone time where you can really get a lot of answers if you have quiet. The best way for me to do that is to get on my horse and have my dogs follow me and just think about how I can make the world a little better place, not only for me but for others. If I can just be with my horses and my dogs and the quiet, that really helps me.”

For the full interview with Tucker, pick up the new issue of First For Women, on stands now!

Tanya Tucker First for Women

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