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This Is Us Star Elizabeth Perkins Shares Swimsuit Photo of "Oldie"

At 63, she is busier than ever.

This Is Us star Elizabeth Perkins is looking back on some of her favorite pictures from youthful days gone by. Perkins, who played Janet Malone on the hit show, shared a throwback photo of herself posing on the beach in a swimsuit and shirt, the black and white image channeling 90s fashion. "Oldie," she captioned the Instagram post. Perkins has been working for decades, and not even a type 1 diabetes diagnosis can slow her down. Here's how she takes care of her health.


She Has Type 1 Diabetes


Perkins lives with type 1 diabetes, a diagnosis she was surprised by considering it doesn't run in the family. "It was just so random," she says. "I was 45 years old. I ate really well. I always took good care of myself. It was so overwhelming when I was first diagnosed because I hadn't felt well for about three years. I was going to doctors and they'd say, 'We didn't find anything wrong with you, there's nothing wrong with you,' and then, 'Have you tried antidepressants?' It became—Is this really in my head?"


Type 1 Vs Type 2

Perkins sometimes finds it frustrating when people don't know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and offer unsolicited advice. "There's such a vast difference between type 1 and type 2," she says. "People will turn to me and say, 'I know a guy who can get you off of insulin,' and 'Well, you know, with diet and exercise…I get so much of that, that I tend to withdraw. I don't care anymore, and I didn't want to be on the cover of People Magazine like, 'She's really sick.' Because I'm not. This is a disease that I can manage."


Pilates and Hiking

Perkins takes care of her health through regular exercise. "I'm working all the time, keeping up, getting my sleep, checking my numbers, staying on it, eating right, exercising, I'm doing my Pilates, I went for a massive hike today," she says. "You start looking at yourself and thinking, 'Wow I'm really doing it.' You get that sense of pride. This has only happened to me in the last couple of years. Everybody has their own journey to it. It's a journey of going from, 'I'm overwhelmed, poor me,' to 'I'm a warrior.' And I do think that's a journey and it's different for everybody."


Embracing Her Age


Perkins isn't phased by her age. "It's really interesting, because I didn't think it was going to affect me until I turned 60," she says. "I remember being younger thinking, 'My parents are 60; they're old.' To be honest, I could care less what anybody thinks about me. That's something that I'm thrilled comes with age. Not that I was ever an actor who worried about what people thought…but, now I literally will go out with a pair of sunglasses on, no makeup, basically in my pajamas with a hat and I don't care. That does come with age. I love that feeling of freedom."


Support At Work

Perkins was grateful for how supportive the team on ABC show How To Live was when it came to her diabetes. "Everybody's diabetes is different," she says. "To be in an environment that's supportive and happy, and we're doing a sitcom… It's a pleasure to go to work. It's not exhausting me. Everybody is really supportive. I fully came out about my diabetes. I use my insulin on the set. I don't retreat to my trailer, and it's been a great experience on every level. It really supports exactly where I am in my life. Everybody on that stage is my diabetes co-star, and that's been profound. It helps me manage it so much better."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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