Celebrity cook Paula Deen was a no-show Friday at the NBC "Today" show, where she was scheduled to appear to answer questions about past use of racial slurs. Google Plus

Celebrity chef Paula Deen said in the latest issue of Woman’s Day that making small changes in her diet helped her to lose 36 pounds from her 5’5” frame.

"It's all about moderation,” Deen told the magazine. “I just needed to learn to eat a normal portion size and not overindulge."

The celebrity chef, known for her love of butter, said that she decided to commit to a healthier diet so she would be around to enjoy her grandchildren.

"I want to be here for my grandchildren. I think about them every day. My daddy was dead at 40. My mother was dead at 44. And look -- I'm 65 and I'm still here! Go, 65!" she said.

"Waking up every morning is very exciting for me, to see what the day is going to bring."

Deen was diagnosed in 1999 with type 2 diabetes. She admits that she did not consider changing her diet right away; however, a subsequent doctor’s visit indicated her condition was not improving, she said.

She did not publicly announce her diabetes until January 2012, when she decided it was time to make a change.

"Honey, I was in denial -- for a couple of years," she told Woman’s Day.

She credited mixing healthy eating habits with portion control and walking on the treadmill to helping her shed the extra pounds. Now, Deen said she has more energy and looks and feels “fantastic.”

The chef offered some suggestions for healthier eating, including controlling sweet cravings with butterscotch and adding more vegetables to a diet.

Deen said that sometimes she uses Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes, to make them healthier, the Huffington Post said.

She said that she plans on continuing her healthy habits to help her lose an additional 12-15 pounds.