For many of us, she has become a part of our family with her contagious smile, genuine demeanor, compassionate humor, and of course melodic voice. Tamela Mann’s multi-faceted gifts and talents have been celebrated for nearly three decades. For 2020, she’s on a continued quest to harness her health and have successfully lost over 50 pounds with WW (formerly Weight Watchers). She shares her transforming journey of how she’s making health a lifestyle habit.

Why did you decide to undergo the challenge? Weight loss is apparent, but were there other underlying reasons that drove your decision?

Well, it was just to be healthier. I was tired of fighting this weight demon because I felt like I’ve accomplished so many things. But when it came to the weight, you would see pictures of me up and down, up and down. I was like, Lord, help me to overcome this and make the right decisions. Also, I was having problems with my knees and this would make it better. But overall, it was just to be healthier. I want to be able to go and pick up something (to wear), without having to get something made. I want to be able to take something off the racks like everybody else.

Even at my heaviest, between 365 and 370 pounds, I’ve been blessed to not have any issues with diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, or any of those diseases. I thank God because He really kept me though I wasn’t being a good steward over my body. You know, I’m all about my faith and honestly many times, we’re just not good stewards over decisions including our bodies. It’s not always about money and other things, but I made my mind up to do better with taking care of myself and my temple so I can be a blessing to somebody else. It’s about ministry and helping other people. This is not only for me but to help and encourage somebody else.

With so many programs and nutrition plans on the market, why did you decide to partner with WW (formerly Weight Watchers)?

I needed an accountability partner, so we decided to partner up. The Lord sent me a blessing and I took the challenge. Many times, we don’t have that accountability but to have a coach with WW and the new things they offer with the app where you can find your foods. This was the best thing since sliced bread.

There’s nothing that you can’t eat. This is not a diet which is what most people think when they think of Weight Watchers. This is about a lifestyle change, not to get skinny but being healthier. I do everything in moderation. WW was the right decision for me, that’s why I’m pounding the pavement to get especially our African American community to jump on board because we tend to wait until things get bad before we want to do something. I really want to be an encouragement to my own people to get us to see that we just can’t eat poorly and not do something different. We’ve got to do something different, if we want different results.

Was there pressure to undergo the challenge being in the “public’s eye” with millions of onlookers around the world?

I can honestly say it hasn’t been pressure because you’re going to have some naysayers and you’re going to have those encouraging you on. This was something I needed to do for myself, something I wanted to do and put in the public eye to encourage people that felt like I did in my past. Am I the only one experiencing this up and down thing? Am I the only one? Even for women who are “thick” who may say will I ever find somebody who’s going to love me for me? I never thought that was going to happen, but the Lord sent a man to find and love me for me. He loved me at my heaviest and he’s going to love me at my smallest.

Talk about your support system and the 50 pound drop off?

The support system consisted of WW coaches, my family, and people that I don’t even know, and of course the Lord. It’s not that I’m just sent to inspire, but people are inspiring me. That’s really been a great push, I really feel like a lot of us are doing it together. You’ve got to believe that you can, overcome and achieve this. I started in April 2019, had surgery in July but even with being down, I was still losing.

What were some of your toughest challenges during the journey?

Food. For many of us, food is like our best friend, so it feels like you’re losing a friend. What I love is I’m not on a diet but working to make myself better. Other challenges have been being on the road, finishing late at night and selecting and choosing the right foods. I modified my meals and the amounts, chose the right foods, made the right choices, and planned what I was going to eat. I don’t want to paint a perfect picture but with this journey, it can get rough in the decision making but you get back up and start over. It really takes work like anything else in life. It takes work.

What are some top benefits resulting from your weight loss?

It has helped me to move around better. My breathing is better. I feel stronger. Of course, I’m getting better for my main man, Mr. Mann. I can’t wait to get back on stage especially with losing the 50 pounds and the new knees. It’s a whole new me. I’ve been given this opportunity to start over.

What’s next for Tamela (and David) Mann in 2020?

My aim for 2020 is to focus, finish and complete. I teamed up to do a clothing line of active wear and then teaming up with WW was like boom, a double whammy. Getting the Tamela Mann Collection up and running for my full figure ladies, sizes 12 to 32. Working on new music, you know music is my first love. We’re back on tour with Tyler Perry with the Madea Farewell. Also, David and I are working on a new sitcom with Tyler. So, we’ve got quite a few things—oh, and the Oprah 2020 Vision tour. She’s talking about mind, body, soul, spirit. I mean, she’s hitting everything. It’s amazing of the package they’ve put together for everybody. Follow us on Instagram we’ll let you know where we are and what we’re doing.

Featured Image courtesy of Tamela Mann