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In a cover story for Prevention magazine, singer Janet Jackson discusses why so many people relate to her as a weight loss role model and reveals that her past weight gains brought her to the brink of becoming diabetic.

“I think people really connect with the idea of someone who’s gained and lost weight in a very public way, and also someone who’s an emotional eater,” Janet, the current spokeswoman for Nutrisystem, tells the July issue of Prevention.

Jackson says certain “emotional triggers” involving boredom, sadness, frustration, stress and work, make her turn to mostly to sweets. “Chocolate, cake, caramel apples-there aren’t many things I don’t love,” explains Jackson.

Jackson said her body image was not the only concern she had while steadily gaining weight. “Health was always a concern. When I gained weight in 2005, my nutritionist was very worried. I was close to having diabetes. Even when I lost it [and] then gained quite a bit back, there was always the thought of heart disease.”

Jackson said one of her best pieces of advice about exercise is to always try and keep it fun. “I don’t like to work out, and I get bored easily. Tony Martinez [her trainer] is great. When I’m getting ready for a tour, I’ll work out with the dancers. He’ll put us in teams and we’ll do all sorts of drills and races.”

Jackson also spoke about setting an example for her niece Paris, brother Michael Jackson’s 14-year-old daughter, who is planning to star in her first movie role in the 2013 fantasy film Lundon’s Bridge and The Three Keys.

“We’ve spoken about the fact that you’re only a child once. I think there’s a time for everything, and now is not the time [to act in films],” she said. “I told her I thought she should enjoy being a kid, possibly go to college-or not-but wait till she turns 18. She’s a very tough, smart girl. But it’s a cutthroat industry. I wouldn’t want my child to do it.”