"It's a struggle every day and it's a lifestyle change," she said. "The risks are tremendous, but the benefits of being able to breathe, to walk a flight of stairs, to not have to use an inhaler, to just go around the corner, to stand up in church and clap your hands and enjoy the service for the whole song … that for me has given me back my life. And it's the best decision I've made."
"Remember, it's been four years," she said. "Gastric bypass starts you on the path, but exercise, changing eating habits — that's the stuff that will change your life."
Reynolds returns to television Monday with "Star Jones" on Court TV. While she feels more free now that she's revealed the secret of her weight loss, she said she's still plagued by insecurity.
"I walk around free because I don't have that burden, but Diane, I still wake up very insecure and very scared and very afraid that somehow, if I open myself up too much and show that I get hurt, that it will make me too vulnerable."
As Reynolds looks ahead, she reflects on the road that brought her where she is today.
Though she has left "The View," she said she wishes Whoopi Goldberg the best in her new position. "I think she'll bring intelligent diversity to the panel. And I'm glad that they're moving to the next level. I hope they wish me well when I start my new show this week."
She is eager to return to her roots on the new program.
"She'll be big. She'll be bold, but you know what? She'll be yours," Reynolds said of her new role. "It's what my audience used to love about me. And I'm hoping that they give me the opportunity to show them that it's — that she's back."