Looking like it’s time to do a new hello, nice to meet you!
I’m Lala 👋🏼 I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a little over two years but I grew up bouncing between Hawaii and Seattle, went to college in Miami, and did my baby adulthood in Atlanta.
Having type 1 diabetes since I was 10 and a whole host of other autoimmune issues since my mid-20s has taught me courage, to be incredibly in tune with my body and its needs, and sent me toward a lot of really fascinating research on neuroscience as a way to understand our thought patterns, nutrition for immune health, ACTUAL self care (not just Instagram’s version of a bath and a face mask), and other awesome things to help us be well.
I pay that forward with my book Beyond Powerful, all about the superpowers we gain from a life with chronic illness, as a one-on-one personal chronic health coach for people who need a bit of extra help navigating a rough time with their health or want to reach a next level of sustainable wellness (LalaJackson.com/Coaching) and by working at @jdrfhq
Continue reading “Just saying hi”
Video from my keynote below! This past weekend, I had the really wonderful opportunity to give a closing keynote at the Students with Diabetes national conference. I spoke about the superpowers we gain from the challenges we go through. I shared some stories from others and a few of my own –
– At the start, I taught hula, because that’s how I wake people up at 8:30am on a Sunday.
– At 12:34 I tell a story about how my mom taught me to use my superpower of voice.
– At 20:30, while talking about the superpower of vision, you’ll see why I think some of my superpowers are transparency and vulnerability, because I share an incredibly tough and personal story from last year.
– And at 42:02, Continue reading “My superpower is transparency”
Because I’ve lost 50 pounds so far, I get a lot of questions about my workout plan. Truthfully, I don’t have one. At all. I just go with what sounds fun at the time.
Because while nutrition has been 98% of the key for my body getting healthier, exercising – even if it’s as simple as an hour walk around my neighborhood – is the biggest factor in my mental health. I eat well mainly for my body, but I have to keep moving for my mind.
Not only does moving my body help boost endorphins and serotonin, keeping me calmer and able to better deal with stress (and helping my immune system deal with stessors too!), but reminding myself what my body can do reminds me that I’m a strong – physically and mentally.
I was a major athlete up until a persistent wrist injury took me out after my sophomore year in high school. I was gunning for the Junior Olympics US Rowing team and, in the summer before my injury finally made me have to give up the sport entirely, I spent 4-6 hours a day, 5 days a week on the water. Continue reading “Exercising isn’t my weight loss key.”
My earliest memories start around three or four. In one, I have climbed up a wooden fence, trying to balance my weight against the top while I reach out to feed a neighbor’s horse, that I have named Cow, a piece of my apple.
In another, I am wandering down the street back toward our mobile home, having just returned from the post office a half mile away. I had told my mom I was going and she had said yes, but when I asked to go to the post office to mail Mema some leaves I had burned holes into with a magnifying glass, she assumed I meant the “post office” that I had imagined in my bedroom. The leaves did not make it to my Mema; I had remembered a stamp but the address “Mema, Raleigh” was not specific enough.
In one of the most vivid young memories, I am on our home phone, sometime in the evening because I was in my soft, pink footie pajamas. I was about as high as the counter, my eyes just barely reaching to see its top. I was speaking to my dad – my biological dad whom I wouldn’t know I looked like were it not for pictures – and I was about to hang up the phone to go to bed. Continue reading “On not being allowed to love.”
Two foods used to reduce me to tears when I was trying to cut them from my diet – bread and Diet Coke. I had such an emotional attachment to both that took me a LONG time to unravel myself from.
It’s easier for me to tackle something if I understand why it’s happening, so better understanding the gut-mind connection was CRUCIAL for me while going through this process.
Serotonin – which helps create feelings of contentment and well-being – is created in two places in the body, your brain and your gut.
It means that what you eat has an affect on the balance of serotonin in your body. Anything that affects the balance of your gut health – in this case gluten, which I learned through tests and experience my body cannot process, and sugar alcohols in the Diet Coke, which are horrible for any body to process – affects your emotional state. Continue reading “How what you eat affects your emotions.”
Unpopular opinion time – I think having type 1 diabetes is a package deal with at least a low-grade eating disorder.
Even if most of the time we can have a healthy relationship with food, there are always the intense times when all the counting we did just didn’t add up and everything goes wrong. I know many of us have had the thought of “type 1 diabetes would be easy if I just didn’t have to eat.”
I’ve certainly had days when, after a week-long blood sugar roller coaster, I just gave up. It’d be water for the day because I could (usually) count on that to not affect my blood sugar, which I just couldn’t deal with anymore, but then after 20 hours of no food I snapped and ordered phad thai because fuck it.
Or, with a major low blood sugar that had me to the point I was shaking on the kitchen floor and could barely see, I would shove 4 sandwiches, a half-jar of nutella, and 6 packs of fruit gummies into my mouth before I felt like I wasn’t going to die. Continue reading “Diabetes + the inevitable eating disorder”
The best advice I’ve gotten about eating for health was from Kris Carr, who said something along the lines of:
Instead of trying to cut out “bad” food, focus on eating nutritious food more often; over time the good will crowd out the not so good.
Too many of us focus on cutting out the not so good stuff we eat; that leads to a feeling of depriving ourselves of the things we like. It feels like we’re punishing ourselves, so OF COURSE we don’t stick to the good habits. Continue reading “It’s not about cutting out bad food.”
In my first full-time job out of college, I sat next to my department’s “snack fridge” that we filled with diet coke, string cheese, and peppermint patties. I had Subway for lunch almost every day. Healthy, right? Low carb snacks and tuna/veggie sandwiches?
Meanwhile my gut was SCREAMING at me because of all of the processed bread, dairy, and sugar alcohols.
In my next few jobs, I developed a chai latte and bagel with cream cheese morning habit, then wouldn’t be able to focus and would absolutely crash by 2pm every day. I had to learn, through a LOT of error, that this “fuel” was anything but.
These days, I’m in the office about 2-3 days a week (I work from home the rest of the week – I’m really lucky to work for JDRF – they understand my immune system’s need to rest). Continue reading “I wrecked my gut health in my 20s.”
I weigh myself most mornings to better understand when my body is responding to something with inflammation, or when my body is responding well to something I’ve added to my routine.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I was only able to start doing this in a mentally healthy way AFTER I identified that my body was having massive issues with inflammation as a result of food I have an autoimmune response to but didn’t know. When I first went to a gastroenterologist to try to explain that this is what I thought was going on he said, “No, you’re just fat.” Continue reading “The case for weighing yourself every day.”
The most bullshit piece of advice I’ve ever gotten around nutrition was “it’s just a simple matter of calories in, calories out!” It was my OBGYN in 2012, and I had gained about 15 lbs while on the Depo-Provera birth control shot.
Knowing less than I do now about what affects my body, I took what she said and went with it. I started eating 1500 calories a day – STRICTLY – and really upping the intensity of my workouts. And I gained 10 more lbs.
I’ve since learned that a bajillion things affect my weight, and the large majority of them are not a “simple” calories in, calories out. Stress and hormones are two really big things, as is the quality of food we eat – 1500 calories worth of packaged, “low-fat, low-calorie!” food will kill you, promise. But perhaps the most significant and hardest to fix? Alignment.
I’m gonna get a bit woo-woo here, bear with me. Continue reading “The worst nutrition advice I’ve ever heard?”