Mandisa: Beating The Odds

Excited about a phenomenal weight loss over the past year, Mandisa shares how she managed to shed eighty pounds; gives encouraging words to young women and men who aspire to take on the entertainment business and much more.

Singersroom: I read that you’ve lost 75 pounds over the last few months which is great ! I’m sure there are a number of people wondering how you did it. What is your secret?

Mandisa: Actually it’s eighty now.

Singersroom: Oh wow, congratulations.

Mandisa: It’s funny because my secret really isn’t a secret Njai. I changed the way that I ate and exercised. I don’t believe in dieting because I think with diets you change the way you’re eating for a little while and then once you hit your goal you usually stop that diet and go back to what you were doing before which makes you gain all the weight back. So I didn’t do that. I adopted a way of eating that I could live on for the rest of my life. For me that is focusing on fiber which is all grains, fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing that I’ve eliminated from my diet. There are things that I don’t eat as much of as I used to.

For me, because it is such as stronghold, it’s been shot up in my mind for so many years, if I tell myself that I can never have cheesecake the next thing I’m going to do is binge on an entire cheesecake. So I spoil myself every now and then. But I do not live on fast food and deserts, which is what I used to do.

By far the most difficult part of this journey has been the emotional and spiritual part. As a child I was sexually molested and raped when I was 16. That sent messages into my mind that beauty equals danger. So I started sort of padding myself with food in order to protect myself. The most difficult part has been changing my mind set on those things and not turning to food in order to find comfort and in order to feel satisfaction. I’m really having to turn the Lord. I think changing my mind set has been the most difficult part, but it’s the reason why the weight is not going to come back because I’ve gotten to the root of the issue.

Singersroom: With that said, what brought you to a point where you said “okay…I’ve got to make some changes”?

On a practical level I had a show in South Dakota and we went to Mount Rushmore and trying to go up the incline to get a good view of Mount Rushmore was so difficult for me. I thought I am too young to be huffing and puffing and barely able to make it. Like I was back there with the older people and I just realized I can’t do this to my body anymore. Later when I saw a picture of me at Mount Rushmore I guess I had in my mind that I was a certain weight and I think I only looked at myself from the waist up in the mirror. Seeing that picture really just made me realize I needed to kick into high gear and obtain balance after so long.

Singersroom: For young girls that are coming up, especially those who are aspiring to get into the entertainment industry, whether it be modeling, singing, acting and so on, so forth, what advice would you give in terms of stating strong ?

People can be “not so friendly” to put it lightly. So what would you say to them ?

Mandisa: I think you have to know what you are gifted and what you’ve been called to.

At a very early age that’s all I wanted to do was be a singer. I had to really be firm in the fact that that’s what I was going to do. More importantly than that, I had to know that, that’s what God was calling me to do.

The way that I came into doing this for a living is that I didn’t seek it. It’s different when seek stardom and when you seek fame. What I did was I sought the Lord. That is really when I ran smack dab into what my focus in life would be. I guess when you want to know how a car works, you consult the owners manual. I believe the same thing about us. There is a god who created us. He gifted us and he has a plan for us. So consult the owner’s manual and you’ll run smack dab into what you’re purpose is.

Singersroom: I like that. I may have to use that one.

Mandisa: (laughs)

Singersroom: Your story can be and is so inspirational to a lot of people. Now, I believe you attended Fisk University is that right ?

Mandisa: I did. Yep.

Singersroom: How important is it for young women and men to get their education, do you believe it is vital…especially in the music industry as far as having something to fall back on ?

Absolutely. It is so important. I think when you look at different cultures and how people are pulled out of poverty is through education. I think that just doesn’t go for poverty. I think the way that you can truly be your best self is through an education. Yes, I wanted to be a singer and you don’t have to go to college to do that. But I feel like I sort of had an upper leg on things because of the education I received at Fisk. I was a music major there.

I learned things there and I had experiences there that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Furthermore, you never ever known what is going to happen in your life. So to be able to have an education that can take you into different areas is important. Even more than the degree, the life experiences that you will have in college are so important. I can say having gone to an HBCU it has completely shaped me into the person I am today. I am nothing but thankful for the time spent at Fisk University. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Read the music version of Mandisa’s interview HERE
—— By: Njai Joszor

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