Thankful to Be Healthy

An inspiring interview with American Diabetes Association advocate Jill Knapp
An inspiring interview with American Diabetes Association advocate Jill Knapp

Jill Knapp, an advocate for the American Diabetes Association, used diet and exercise to manage her Type 2 Diabetes, which successfully resulted in her losing 100 pounds. Her story has made national headlines and was featured on “The Dr. Oz Show” and in many publications. Hope for Women had the chance to chat with Knapp about her accomplishments. As a proud wife and mother of three, what is your advice to help busy women successfully manage their health?

Plan out your meals. If you plan out healthy meals for the week on a Sunday or Monday, it helps control what you are eating, and it’s not just rushed and thrown together. With growing kids in my home, I have to say that they watch how the adults in the home eat, so it is so important to set a good example. Exercise as much as you can. As busy as we all are, we all need to make sure we are taking time for [ourselves] in the mix. Exercise is the perfect time to get in your “YOU” time.

In the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, the CDC estimates that 29 million individuals have diabetes, and an estimated 8 million individuals are undiagnosed. From your experience, what factors do you think contribute to so many people going undiagnosed?

I think it goes undiagnosed because people may have symptoms but not know those are symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. Symptoms for Type 2 Diabetes are excessive thirst, blurred vision, slow healing wounds, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet—and that is just to name a few. It’s important to get educated and learn more about all symptoms. The American Diabetes Association website has all kinds of great information on it, and you can learn firsthand on what to do if you do have symptoms.

When you were first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, how did you feel? What were the first steps you took toward successfully taking control of your health?

After my third child was born, he was very sick. Taking care of a sick newborn was a tough task and took most of my energy. I remember telling my husband how exhausted I was, but I thought it was from caring for my sick son. I had an increase in thirst, but I thought it was from nursing. My husband encouraged me to go see my doctor, because it was getting harder and harder caring for my child. I went in, told the doctor my symptoms, and sure enough, he sent me home with a diabetes monitor—and, yes, my blood sugars were high. When I first was diagnosed with Type 2, I was scared. I had no idea what to do. I got online and educated myself and really started to change the way I ate and started doing exercise four days a week, working up to five days a week. I was put on medication, but after losing 100 pounds over a span of two years and keeping up with my healthy lifestyle and exercise, I was able to get off all of my diabetes medications.

For what are you most thankful? I am most thankful for a loving Father in Heaven above, my savior, my family, friends, and good health. I am also thankful that I can share my journey in hopes of inspiring others to gain better health.

To keep up with Jill, and for great health tips, visit her website: http://getupandgetmoving.net.