SheKnows caught up with the top dawg as he dished about early detection, lifestyle changes and that good ol' southern cooking.
"About five or six years ago I was feeling really run down," confesses the nominee of five primetime Emmy's. "I was working a lot and I thought I had a cold. I took over the counter medicines, thought I was running a fever, got really thirsty and had blurred vision. I thought it was sinuses, whatever you think you associate with a cold. Two and a half weeks into it finally my wife said you should go to the doctor or something."
Well, low and behold, Jackson did go to the doctor and what he found out surprised him but he was able to come up with a game plan which changed his life. "This was a giant wake up call for me," he says. "It should never happened to me, this always happens to someone else."
"I thought OK, wait a minute. You're not in the best health. You're hugely overweight. You're not eating right. You're not exercising right, so I thought, 'Wow, OK now I really
have to get it together.' The next day at the doctor's office he said 'look, you can manage it but there's no cure.'"
The American Idol star continues, "Those are words you don't want to hear: no cure. Then you think all of the thoughts - am I going to die? So I had to really get it together and go to a program that was going to help me with my weight management, diet management, everything. I went on oral medication and I started managing it."
And manage he did. He realized it came down to a making a decision.
Now of course, he realizes you have to stay active so his weapon of choice is walking briskly at least one hour every day.
While he says he's had to simplify things and adapt a grazing lifestyle by eating small meals every few hours, the American Idol judge is a realist as well.
"I grew up in the South. All the foods were very rich, very sweet," he admits.
"I used to say this is not a great restaurant if there's salt and pepper on the table meaning the chef didn't taste the food you were about to eat. I also adopted the thing of grazing
- so for me being a diabetic is also to keep the blood sugar levels normal and to keep them consistent. I didn't want to go famished for three to four hours at any time," Jackson says.
"Whether it's having an apple here or having an almond there, I snack throughout the day so I'm never at that point where I used to be before. I'm always so hungry I could eat the horse. I
usually ate the horse and somebody else's horse after that point!"
So does the Dawgman eat carbs?
Yes, but he is cognizant about portion sizes. "Portion size is so important I can't even begin to tell you."
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!