Jennifer Hudson Reveals How She Lost (and Maintained) an 80 Pound Weight Loss

Jennifer Hudson’s rise to fame had a quick and glamorous projection. Since her big break on American Idol, avid fans have watched the star grace the silver screen, television, and top the charts with her Grammy award-winning studio albums.

Fans have watched Hudson’s weight loss journey in addition to her career. The star followed poor dieting practices and finally chose to approach her weight loss in a healthy way after giving birth to her son, David. Her results were shocking, but what is even more impressive are the secrets behind how she has maintained the 80-pound weight loss.

She used Weight Watchers to lose the weight

Jennifer Hudson attending a premiere in a red dress.

Jennifer Hudson’s weight loss transformation could make anyone’s jaw drop. | Mike Windle/Getty Images

Hudson chose to lose the weight around the time she was pregnant with her son. “I thought, Hold on — why doesn’t anybody know I’m pregnant? … Right after I had him, I began trying to change things.”

The Weight Watchers’ Program gave Hudson a regimented, healthy way to address her major weight loss. She spoke out about the program and praised how it encouraged her to focus on a balanced diet rather than a restrictive one.

She chose activities she enjoyed

Jennifer Hudson arrives for the press launch of The Voice UK.

She finds ways to make her workouts fun. | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Hudson took what she called a therapeutic approach to exercise instead of pressuring herself to hit the gym multiple times a day like she’d done in the past.

“I began walking 30 minutes every day … I figured me walking is better than me sitting on the couch.” She started with walking and built up to other activities she loves, like jogging, bike riding, basketball, and tennis. In her spare time, Hudson does a workout called trilogy, a quick 15-minute exercise that combines cardio and strength moves.

She doesn’t let food intimidate her

Pancakes with butter and syrup.

She enjoys her favorite foods, but knows when enough is enough. | StephanieFrey/iStock/Getty Images

Rather than over-snacking or bingeing, Hudson simply gets rid of food when there’s too much in front of her. She swears portion control is the true drive behind a successful diet. “I throw pancakes across the room! I don’t let the food intimidate me,” she told Yahoo Style.

However, Hudson remains cautious of what she’s putting into her body and at what time. “When it’s early in the morning, I say … I would’ve been asleep … so I’m not going to eat.”

Her meals are fairly consistent

Freshly popped popcorn on a tablecloth.

Air-popped popcorn is health and delicious — keep it on hand of those mid-day snacks. | iStock.com

Hudson eats a high-protein breakfast like an egg-white scramble or fruit and yogurt combo. Lunch consists of a turkey sandwich, grilled chicken salad, or a fish and veggie stir-fry. For dinner, Hudson combines lean proteins and veggies to round out her three meals.

She also consistently snacks, but keeps her midday cravings healthy. Celery sticks, popcorn, or an apple are a few of her go-to options. She says she won’t deprive herself of treats, so long as she sticks to reasonable portions.

She still allows one guilty pleasure indulgence

Chocolate bar on the wooden background.

She reaches for a square to satisfy her sweet-tooth. | Al62/iStock/Getty Images

Hudson has a pretty common guilty pleasure — while she’ll stick to a healthy diet, she can’t resist chocolate every now and then. Hudson says she allows herself at least one piece of chocolate a day.

“I always have to have chocolate around — it’s my cigarette. I don’t smoke but it calms me so well,” she said.

Her diet used to be extremely restrictive

Jennifer Hudson stands on stage in a silver dress during a performance.

Jennifer Hudson’s busy and hectic schedule often made it hard for her to eat healthy. |  Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Her 80-pound weight loss wasn’t Hudson’s first time losing weight, however, it was definitely her most successful. Hudson told Self how drastically different this weight loss was, and why she believes she’s maintained it for so long.

“I had to break my diet mentality. I used to deprive myself, thinking that was healthy. I didn’t eat pasta, fried food, red meat. I hadn’t had pizza in 10 years,” she said. “If you’re on a strict diet that says you shouldn’t have any carbs or this or that, your body won’t function the way it should. I know now that I can eat anything I want and still lose or maintain my weight. It’s about portions and balance.”

This is Hudson’s advice for fellow dieters

Pizza, beer and a fork seen on a table.

Heading to a pizza night? Stick to one or two slices. | Sebastianosecondi/iStock/Getty Images

“For anyone who wants to lose: Dude, if I can do it, you can do it. And for those who want to stay the same, I hope I can be an example to you, too; I was proud of being a big girl,” Hudson said.

She also said that while her career was going well before she lost weight, dropping the pounds has done wonders for her work: “Since losing weight, I haven’t stopped. I have worked every single day of this year.”

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