When Dr. Phil McGraw was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than 25 years ago, he made it his mission to not let the disease define him.
“This is one of those diagnoses that comes with shame,” he tells PEOPLE. “You’ve got to get past feeling guilty.”
After getting the initial diagnosis, he made a commitment to make the lifestyle changes necessary to help him stay on a healthier path.
“I started really digging in and doing some research and figuring out what I needed to do to manage it,” he says. “You have to shake it up and replace bad habits with new habits. I had to get a physician and a nutritionist, but most importantly, I needed my wife Robin and my family to help me succeed and back me up.”
Now McGraw is taking what he’s learned throughout his own experience and using it to help the millions of Americans currently living with the disease. He partnered with AstraZeneca to create the ON IT Movement, an awareness campaign designed to help empower adults living with type 2 diabetes to living a healthier lifestyle.
“This campaign is really a reflection of what I did,” he explains. “It’s a bit of a passion project for me.”
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The ‘ON IT’ movement is broken up into six steps: move forward, get educated, build a team, replace bad habits, make a plan and stick to it.
McGraw, 65, says the movement was created in a way that no matter what hurdles one may need to overcome with their individual diagnosis, the steps will help them succeed in getting on the right path and managing their disease.
“It’s about the psychological power of being empowered,” he says. “I wanted this to be simple enough that people can say, ‘I can do this’ and they start it one day at a time and before they know it, they have it under control.”