Actress and gospel singer Tamela Mann has been having a great time lately. With an award-winning song in 2013, “Take Me To The King” off an award-winning album. Her show just got green-lighted to begin airing in 2015 with her husband of 26 years, David Mann on BET. And she’s managed to continually keep the weight off (it’s reported that it was over 240lbs she lost).
“The first thing people say is, ‘Y’all look good! Y’all don’t look like you do on TV,’ ” says Tamela.
“People see us every day [on TV]. They saw that we were big, and they saw the drastic weight loss in both of us,” David chimes in. “Everybody would ask, ‘Why are you doing it? What are you doing it for?’
For many African American families, a lot of the time when we sit down to dinner, we can have two or three starches in one meal,” Tamela adds. “You can still have some, but you don’t have to have as many.” Instead of bread and potatoes, for example, David chooses one or the other. Sticking to an eating plan can be tough, so David has asked Tamela to be his “sugar manager since he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2013.” If David strays too far from his plan (she notes he has a weakness for sugary breakfast cereals), she gently reminds him.
Another key to Tamela leading a healthy life is resisting temptation. The Manns’ five children are all grown now, but when they lived at home, they protested when their parents threw out the junk food in the house. “For me, it was just a matter of life and health. I thought everybody was supposed to [change with me]. I thought they loved me!” David says with a laugh. “But we’ve tried to cut the junk.” He says that now all the Mann children (and the couple’s eight grandchildren) are working on eating healthfully, too.
And they didn’t just stop with the food, Tamela and David both focused on their drink intake as well.
When the Manns get off track from time to time—as everyone does on the quest for health—their first step is to look at what they drink. “You don’t realize that we drink a lot of our sugar: in our sodas, our sugary juices,” David says. “I just tell people: Cut back off the juice and sodas.”
And it’s not just David and Tamela watching liquids with excess sugary calories. Their children and grandchildren are curbing their intake, too. “The moms dilute the juices [with water],” Tamela says. “If they have lemonade, we put a lot of ice in it, to help cut back.”
The couple also exercises regularly to help the pounds stay off. It’s a husband and wife effort with Tamela. Growing old happily together has a lot to do with how healthy you are, inside and out.