Known for her powerful voice and sparkling spirit, Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, actress, businesswoman, and grandmother of 10 Tamela Mann has always been a woman who can handle it all. But in 2019, as she struggled with her weight and debilitating pain, life as she knew it changed forever. Here, she shares how her faith, family, and self-love empowered her to face every obstacle.
Like most women, Tamela Mann juggles many roles in her life. From her start as a singer with the gospel group Kirk Franklin and Family, to the wife, mother, grandmother of 10, actress, and entrepreneur she is today, she stays busy keeping every ball in the air. But in 2019, a health challenge threatened to knock her off her feet. “I was suffering with terrible pain in both knees,” Tamela shares with Woman’s World. “It was a struggle to even take my grandkids to the water park!”
At that point, the Texas native knew she needed a change, embarking on a journey to lose weight and undergo a double-knee replacement. “I knew it would be hard,” Tamela says. “I started my weight-loss program two months before I had both knees done. I asked God to help me overcome.”
Though the road to healing was long, overcome Tamela did. In fact, today, she has lost over 100 pounds total, and with her knees mended, she’s excited for all of her upcoming endeavors, which include two movies with her husband, David, their TV show Assisted Living, a digital series, Mann Family Dinner, her athleisure line, The Tamela Mann Collection, and a new album, aptly named Overcomer.
What keeps this 54-yearold dynamo firing on all cylinders? “My strength comes from my incredible support system,” she says. “Family and faith are everything!” Here, Tamela’s tips for finding inner peace, knowing your worth, and staying healthy, no matter what obstacles life throws your way.
Pray your way to inner peace.
“When I’m feeling down, I sometimes have to steal away to find my joy again,” Tamela shares. “I’ll go into my closet, which I redecorated, and just sit and talk to the Lord. I’ll say a prayer like ‘Lord be with me. Give me what to say. How do I deal with the pressure that I’m feeling?’ I have to go before the throne when life gets overwhelming, and I’ll call on God in my closet or even in my car. That’s my ‘me’ time, and it lifts me up!”
Jump-start joy with a creative hobby.
“I love to decorate!” Tamela enthuses. “I’ll take a trip to HomeGoods, find a comforter, and base the whole theme to a room off of it. It gives me joy because I can just let my mind go and be free. I also like to sketch — I’ve been doing that for years. I’ll sketch my outfits or ideas for an event. I’ll see something that inspires me and just let my mind get creative. It’s a joyful way to express myself!”
Love yourself first.
“The secret to self-confidence, as I tell my daughters, starts with you,” Tamela says. “You have to love yourself regardless of what is going on around you. Love you and take care of you — that’s what you have to do to take care of your family. A lot of times, I have to look in the mirror, especially when it comes to my body, and say, ‘Tam: You can overcome. You can achieve. You can thrive and be whatever you want to be!’ And it’s never too late. If you are reading this, you still have time!”
Relax with furry friends.
“My pets are my key to relaxation!” shares Tamela, an avid animal lover. “I have a poodle, Prince, and a big dog named Duke who’s an Akita. And we have ducks! Just watching them is an escape. I’ll go out to the pond where they are and pray and try to think about nothing. It’s a great way to reset and unwind.”
Keep connected with your girlfriends.
“Staying in touch with my girlfriends is so important!” Tamela says. “Even though we might not be able to physically touch each other often, we keep that connection going. We always talk or call or pray for each other and are all in the group chat together. Of course, when we’re together we’ll go grab a bite to eat or do the nails or go shopping, but whatever we’re doing, we just keep that connection going — that’s the best thing!”
Find true strength with faith and hope.
“I get my strength from my faith,” Tamela says. “That’s what has helped me survive everything in my life. When I’m weak, the Lord makes me strong. The best advice that anybody has ever given me is my mother when she told me to ‘Love the Lord with my whole heart and the Lord will take me far.’ I live by that, and with Him, there’s nothing I can’t face!”
Tamela has been busy writing songs for her 6th album, Overcomer, which is on sale now, but her new single, “Help Me,” has a special place in her heart. “So many people need help right now,” Tamela says. “So I co-wrote this song as a reminder to myself and others to let the Lord be our source and to encourage people to hold on — help is coming and brighter days are ahead!”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.