I recently had the pleasure of interviewing gospel singer, songwriter and radio personality, Darlene McCoy. Being an Atlanta resident, I hear her pleasant voice on the radio (Praise 102. FM) and boy does she make driving through traffic a better experience. She’s always challenging us in some way to be better, live better and love better. She’s making moves in radio, fitness and in music. Check out our chat…
Arian T. Moore: Is the pressure the same to be a certain size on the gospel side of the music industry?
Darlene McCoy: You know, I think the pressure is not the same because in the gospel music industry it just kind of seems like that healthy weight is not such a big deal. A lot of times people focus more on your spiritual life. It’s just such a thankless place; a lot of people just kind of let themselves go in that area. But really I believe it’s time for us to really really take care of our health because one of the things the Lord says is that it is His will that we prosper and be in good health. It’s really not about the size but it’s about the health condition you’re in, and I think that we need to put more emphasis on that.
ATM: What kinds of issues led to your personal battle with weight?
DM: One of the things is that I was diagnosed as Hypothyroid and was on Thyroid medication, and I was fluctuating with weight up and down. I finally made a decision that I am going to honor God with my body as well as everything else that I am doing because I wanted to be 100 percent whole.
ATM: How many (and what kinds of) unsuccessful avenues did you explore to lose weight?
DM: I did a quick weight loss program and I did lose weight but if you don’t change your mind and change the way you do things you will gain it all back; if you lose it quick, you gain it back quick. You get a lot of people with diets and weight loss programs where you don’t eat meat or carbs, the fact of the matter is, you just have to balance out everything that you need. You have to have a lifestyle change, and make a decision to make a commitment to your body. Any diet that gives you or shows you ways to deprive yourself and it includes deprivation of any of the food groups that you need, I don’t think is a good diet. I just think you should approach your eating habits differently to stay healthy.
ATM: Do you think there is an overall unhealthy attitude about fitness in the Black Christian community?
DM: Absolutely! I really do and it’s really sad. I go to the gym all the time and the black community is not as represented. A lot of people really take care of themselves because they got a clue as to the fact that cancer is real, high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes all of that stuff is real, but you can prevent it by the way that you eat . I think that in the black community, with diabetes and all these health conditions that attack us, we actually should be first in the gym getting ourselves together.
ATM: What can we do to overcome these attitudes?
DM: I just think that we have to change our minds. One thing that helped me is that I went to go get a physical and they told me the truth about what was going on with me. My cholesterol levels were going up and here I was only 39 years old. There are things that can happen unexpectedly if you don’t check yourself out and get a physical to see what’s happening in your body. We have to care about our self more, and we have to understand number one how important we are to the kingdom of God. We also have to understand that in order for us to fulfill a purpose and a destiny, our bodies have to be up to par in order to make the run.
ATM: How were you able to lose the weight successfully?
DM: I changed my diet and I got into the “Chiseled For Life Boot camp” with Ed Hartwell and with the meal plan that he gave me, and with the exercises it just came off, I lost about 65 pounds.
ATM: How have you made fitness a part of your daily lifestyle?
DM: Actually after I did it for so long, I made the commitment to myself and it automatically became a lifestyle and I feel so much better. I can think a lot clearer and now it’s a necessity that I eat right, live right and exercise. I keep my stress levels down and bring my cardio levels up so I continue to stay on top of it with that.
ATM: What inspiration would you give to others struggling with weight and image issues?
DM: First of all, I would say you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you got to understand that you are important. You are important in the kingdom and you have to know that you are beautiful within yourself and you are in control of the way you are presented. You are in control of your own image, and if you don’t like what you are looking at then take control of it and change it.
ATM: Tell us about your new project and where the inspiration for that came from.
DM: I have a new single, called “Not Guilty” and a friend of mine wrote the song and I demoed it out for him. I listened to the song and I thought it was just an incredible song for this day and time because a lot of people are shying away from church and shying away from the Lord because they feel guilty about the things they have done in the past. But we have gotten so far away from church and the message of Christ; about him being crucified and dying for our sins that I just wanted to re- introduce the basics about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
ATM: What overall message do you want your fans and listeners to gather from this album?
DM: Well I just want them to get freedom and to live more effectively in their spiritual lives. That’s basically it; I want you to have songs that you can sing and relate to and get you through circumstance after circumstance.
For more information on Darlene visit http://www.darlenemccoy.com/. Her new single is now available on Itunes and Amazon.