From the Heart, Dawg: Diabetes Tips from American Idol Star Randy Jackson

I recently had the chance to chat with American Idol judge and bass player-extraordinaire Randy Jackson about living with type

Photo courtesy of PMK*BNC

I recently had the chance to chat with American Idol judge and bass player-extraordinaire Randy Jackson about living with type 2 diabetes. The TV star has shed over 100 pounds, so the first thing I asked R-Dawg was, “How’d you do it?” Like many, he describes his struggle to lose weight as no easy feat.

“I don’t have a middle knob. I’m either on or off. I could never eat just one cookie.” But now, Jackson says, “I can just have one and be okay with it. I just had to turn my love for sweets off. Once you take control of your mind, you can do it.”

Below, Randy shared some top tips for living a diabetes-friendly life. Try them for a happier, healthier holiday season:

1. Know Your ABCs: Randy focuses on  his A1C (blood glucose or sugar levels), Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. By keeping track of these vital numbers, you’re lowering your risk of stroke, heart attack or other problems associated with diabetes.

2. Tackle exercise in the morning: “‘Exercise’ is a word I don’t love,” says Jackson. “Turn it into ‘fun movement’ and I’m down. But once my day is rolling, it just rolls, rolls, rolls. So I love exercising in the morning. And make working out like a game: To get me to exercise, it needs to be like I don’t even realize I’m doing it.” Randy loves tennis and other action-packed sports to sweat away the pounds. For people who may have a tough time mobilizing, he says, “I don’t care if you’re only walking 50 yards. But just move. Then try 75 the next day. Go to the mall and walk. It doesn’t matter where you walk, just get it in.”

3. Don’t eat your emotions: “Know that everything you put in your body should really be for nourishment, not to satiate some negative, depressed or stressed emotion,” says Jackson. “If you need something, try taking a walk or talking with a friend, because you’re really gonna pay for it later.” He also makes sure to steer clear of buffets and always has snacks every few hours to keep his blood sugar steady. “And don’t forget portion control. That’s so important!”

4. Have some healthy splurges: “If I’m craving something salty, I go for nuts like almonds. If I crave sugar, I go for fruit,” says Jackson. Also, he says to beware of seemingly harmless snacks like pretzels or baked chips: “Sodium is in soda. It’s everywhere. Look for it on labels and pay attention… Sodium is like talking on the phone. You see your phone bill is so high, but you didn’t even realize you were talking on the phone!”

Visit Merck’s for more information how to take control of your diabetes and more personal success tips from Randy.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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Perri O. Blumberg
A former food editor at Reader's Digest, Perri Blumberg is a writer and editor based in New York City. After attending Columbia University, where she received a BA in psychology, she went on to study food at a health-supportive culinary school. Her work has appeared in O Magazine, Men's Journal, Country Living, and on Mind, Body, Green, among others.