More: Rumor has it Jennifer Lopez is leaving the show.
Randy Jackson: That is not confirmed. I think that things will work out. I am hopeful she will stay on so we can have the same talent with us next season.
More: When were you diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
RJ: It was around 2003, when I was 46 years old. I thought I had the flu. I could not quench my thirst, I was running a fever, I was resorting to over-the-counter cold medications and I was even calling the doctor.
More: What did he say?
RJ: He had me meet him at the hospital to run a couple of tests. One of them came back saying my blood sugar was over 500. It was then I was told I had type 2 diabetes.
More: What was your reaction?
RJ: For years my doctor had been telling me to change my lifestyle, get my weight down and follow a healthy diet. I never would adhere to his advice, despite the fact my dad had diabetes and it runs in my family. I never thought it would happen to me.
More: So you were shocked?
RJ: It was the shock of a lifetime. It was then I had to really get it together. I learned quickly that I had to get well informed on how to manage my diabetes because there is no cure for it.
More: Are you now trying to pay it forward?
RJ: I am thrilled to be teaming up with the Taking Diabetes to Heart campaign because I need to help people be aware of what this disease is about and how to manage it. People need to understand, if you have this disease you are at two to four times higher risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. This is a really serious disease.
More: What was going through your mind when your doctor was using your name and the medical terms stroke and heart attack in the same sentence?
RJ: My doctor pulled no punches with me, and because of that, his diagnosis was the biggest wake-up call of my life. I mean, he told me I could lose my life from this or be completely incapacitated from this. This is no joke! This is a disease I will have forever.
More: You say it runs in your family. Did you think you were immune from getting it because you are a big celebrity?
RJ: Diabetes doesn’t care who you are. Celebrity and success mean nothing. I am just like everyone else. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can still get it.
More: Did you get angry when the doctor said, “Randy, you have type 2 diabetes?”
RJ: No, I got depressed and sad. Had I listened before, maybe I could have prevented this from happening.
More: How did you motivate yourself to change your lifestyle?
RJ: I had to. I grew up in the South where there was huge, crazy eating. Despite my love for the good stuff, I basically had no choice.
More: Is it a burden?
RJ: Not anymore, because I have learned how to manage it. I had to change my life, and by doing so I changed my diet, I started to exercise and maintain a healthier lifestyle. I check my blood sugar regularly, I go to the doctor often and I have a great management team.
More: Has having diabetes limited eating the foods you love?
RJ: I have a more balanced diet. I grew up in the South where everything was butter and sugar, even the veggies. Now it is more about moderation. My portion size is that of an airplane meal.
More: Is that why you went under the knife and had gastric bypass surgery?
RJ: Yes, that is one of the reasons I did it. I needed a jump-start to help me get my health together.
More: Are you happy with your weight today?
RJ: Yes. I got it to a place where it is manageable and controllable. I know now what works and is comfortable for me.
More: Is it hard to maintain your weight when you are going across the country to attend auditions?
RJ: You have to know the food that works. I know now the cheeseburger with the bacon does not taste as good as the chicken over salad. (laughs) If I eat that, I know I will feel terrible, plus it won’t look good or feel good.
More: Do you kick yourself and say, Why didn’t I do this sooner?
RJ: (laughs) Of course.
More: Since childhood obesity is such a problem, will you talk to the young minds of America?
RJ: Yeah, I do that often. I am one of the ambassadors of Save the Children and I do a lot with juvenile diabetes. I love the kid factor, and that is a big part of who I am. Children should learn how to avoid getting diabetes and having a weight problem because when you don’t it can sometimes lead to bullying.
More: Is that something you have had to deal with?
RJ: Thankfully, no.
More: When American Idol comes back next season will you use the program as a platform to spread the word?
RJ: I would love to. Hopefully we will be bringing back our Idol “Gives Back” charity show.
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