What’s you biggest message to people about diabetes?

People need to understand how important it is that they take care of themselves and get checked for diabetes. They also need to be honest with their doctor and have a real discussion about their diabetes. More importantly, I think people need to be honest with themselves and ask themselves if they’re doing all that they can to live the healthiest life possible.

 How have you overcome the barrier to getting real about diabetes?

Losing my father to complications of diabetes 10 years ago had a huge effect on me and my need to take diabetes seriously. I vowed it was going to be different for me and my family — it was time to make taking care of my diabetes a priority. I wanted to be around for my kids, not just as a memory or a picture on a wall, but there, present and healthy. In order for me to be there for them, I need to take care of myself, even if that means kicking it up another 10 notches.

 What changes did you make after your diagnosis?

It’s all about making healthier choices. I got serious about the food I eat, developed an active lifestyle and my doctor moved me onto an injectable medication. I have more control of my health in terms of making time for the gym and eating the right foods. I like to walk and jog on the treadmill. I put on my headphones and get lost in my world listening to music for an hour. I also have a trainer in Los Angeles that I work with four times a week. 

 What types of programs do you wish to see to help aid diabetes patients?

I want to see more programs like the “Get Real About Diabetes” campaign I started last year with Novo Nordisk. It’s important to me that people with diabetes have a voice and be heard. I know how hard it can be to stay motivated, which is why Novo Nordisk and I are working together to make a real difference in motivating and educating others living with Type 2 diabetes. I want to motivate others to recommit to their diabetes treatment plans.

 How have you seen diabetes portrayed in the media, and how do you feel it should be portrayed?

A lot of diabetes commercials feature older people like Wilford Brimley or Patti LaBelle or B. B. King talking about diabetes, and people assume diabetes is an old person's disease. But that’s not true — Type 2 diabetes can and does develop in younger people. It’s not just an old person's disease or an obese person's disease. Diabetes affects everyone — young, old, skinny, fat, white, black and so on. I want people to understand that diabetes can develop at all ages.