"This is what I'm supposed to look like," says the star of ABC's new show black-ish, who has lost 47 lbs. and counting.
Throughout his life, the self-described "husky" man never had a problem with his size.
Even at his heaviest weight of 270 lbs., "I've always been confident," the 5'10" actor, 44, tells PEOPLE in its latest issue, on newsstands now. "Being overweight was never an issue for me."
Still, Anderson started making small lifestyle changes 13 years ago after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
"I started eating healthier and in moderation, but I was still sort of eating the same stuff that I'd been eating all my life," he admits.
That all changed 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."
Recently, he has taken healthy eating to the next level.
"Six weeks ago, 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."
Courtesy Anthony Anderson
"My daughter hates going out to eat with me because I'll find the most obscure places that cater to what I need," he says, laughing. "And I'm always on the basketball court with my son."
While Anderson doesn't plan on sticking to his new vegan-ish lifestyle forever, he is proud of what he has accomplished so far.
"One morning when I woke up I was like, 'Okay, today's the day to start,' " he says. "And I never looked back."
black-ish airs on ABC Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. (8:30 CT), after Modern Family.