Anthony Anderson: “I Never Looked Back”

aaAnthony Anderson has come a long way from starring in his very own sitcom, “Blackish” with Laurence Fishburne and Tracee Ellis Ross. He actually said he started out in Hollywood as a self-proclaimed “fat, funny guy,” appearing alongside fellow comedic stars Jim Carrey and Martin Lawrence.

But offscreen, Anderson’s weight was anything but a laughing matter: He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2002 at the age of 32.

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It took a few years, but eventually, Anderson realized he had to get serious, and so he committed to changing his eating habits and lifestyle. Around the same time, Anderson also made a conscious decision to shift the direction of his career, focusing on darker roles in movies, such as Hustle & Flow and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, and co-starring in television dramas like The Shield and K-Ville.

The day he became serious came in 2008. “When I was cast in Law & Order, I decided to make a drastic change,” says Anderson. “I got more serious about my health and appearance – not from a vanity standpoint. I just started making healthier choices.”

He even decided to take his healthy eating to the next level.

“I moved to a plant-based diet, he says. “I’m vegan-ish – I’m not going to send anything back to the kitchen if some butter or cream found its way onto the plate.”

Inspired by his family history of the disease, Anderson recently became a spokesperson for FACE Diabetes, an initiative sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly that focuses on educating and empowering the African American community.

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(Photo courtesy of Anthony Anderson facebook)

How It All Started:

“I was home in Los Angeles, close to eight years ago now. Out of the blue, I started feeling really lethargic and lazy, taking mid-afternoon naps, which is something I wouldn’t just do. I chalked it up to overworking. I just thought I was running myself ragged. But the turning point was one evening I drank, literally, a 5-gallon jug of water in the course of a couple of hours, and there was constant urination. I knew what the symptoms of diabetes were since my father was a diabetic, and I was like ‘Wow, I think I need to go to the doctor and get this checked out (okay, actually, my wife said that).’ I went the next morning and found out that I had elevated glucose levels and the doctor said, ‘You know you’re a type 2 diabetic.'”

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His first reaction:

“I didn’t change dramatically at first. Being a 32-year-old man, stubborn and all that, I was really just stuck in my ways and I thought, ‘I can beat this. I can handle this.’ But after a while, it wasn’t getting better. Now, I’ve really changed my lifestyle. I’m eating differently, and I’m also incorporating exercise. I have a treadmill that was just collecting dust in my house, and I started to run 3 miles a day on it. When I get bored with that, I go outside and run around the golf course.”

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“I met with Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser, and I said, ‘Bob, come on, give me a quick fix on how to lose some weight.’ And he laughed and said, ‘Anthony, you know there’s no quick fix to that.’ Then he said, ‘But, I’ll give you a tip: If you don’t do anything else,…