Jennifer Hudson wowed us with her great voice when she first appeared on American Idol as a finalist in 2004. She didn’t win that year but she went on only two years later to win a 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the film Dreamgirls.
She went on to win a Grammy Award for her debut album, Jennifer Hudson which was released in 2008. She suffered a tragedy in the fall of 2008 when her mother and other family members were murdered in in a shooting. In 2009, after giving birth to her son, she came back into the spotlight, determined to have a new lease on life and she has – by losing 80 pounds. So how did Jennifer Hudson lose weight?
She knew that diets had not worked for her in the past but wanted to be a healthy mom and an active mom. She felt that developing healthy habits would let her teach them to her son as you can’t teach what you don’t know.
Hudson said “I’m a real girl—I love to eat”, which is a problem that many women face, not just celebrities. A few short years before, she had been an unknown – a regular girl, albeit beautiful and with a stellar voice – also overweight.
Hudson has compared using a diet that is restrictive to holding your breath. She said that eventually everyone would gasp for air and that with a diet, everyone would break. So, “diets” were out.
Like some other celebrities, she had the opportunity to become a spokesperson for just about any company she chose. Oddly, her availability to do that kind of work – and her need to lose weight dovetailed right in to the perfect relationship.
Hudson reports that she tried Weight Watchers for just a week the first time. She said that she had heard it was easy to follow and she didn’t have to cut all of her favorite foods out of her diet. She stuck to it and became a spokesperson for the company.
Over the next several years, she lost that 80 pounds and eventually left her position at Weight Watchers because she “didn’t need it anymore”.
So what did she learn – she didn’t do it just for the money, she actually learned something about herself, food and how to be healthy.
”Outsmart the food – don’t let it outsmart you”
Jennifer Hudson acknowledges that sometimes you just aren’t in a place where healthy eating is a real option. In this case portion control is essential. Portion control means just what it sounds like – you control your portion size.
The average stomach is supposed to be about the size of your fist. So if you are regularly eating more food at one time that is a bigger amount in size as the size of your fist – you are eating too much. This doesn’t mean that you can eat a fist-sized portion of food 6 or 7 times a day – you still have to consider meal times and regulate your snacks.
If you find yourself in a position where “healthy choices” aren’t really an option – go ahead and eat a hamburger but be reasonable. Don’t order a double cheeseburger – and don’t supersize. You probably need to consider leaving out the French fries – and the milkshake. A supersized hamburger and french-fries meal with a soda is about 1400 calories. That is nearly an entire day’s calories for an average man.
Healthy doesn’t have to cost more
Most people believe that eating healthy foods is more expensive than eating unhealthy foods. That isn’t always true – there are a lot of things that can be done making healthy foods with low cost ingredients.
Today’s meat prices are high. The cheapest beef does tend to be the cuts with the most fat but – but you can get quality protein in lower cost items such as chicken and turkey. Ground turkey can be substituted in a lot of recipes for ground beef – and most people don’t taste that much of a difference. Protein shakes can be expensive, but are also a good source of backup protein for any workout and nutrition regimen.
Produce can be purchased when in season for the best value – and frozen vegetables are often less expensive than fresh but contain the same nutrition.
The main mistakes that a lot of people make when they are on a budget – or even when they aren’t on a budget – is snack foods and portion control. Filling up on cheap, processed foods will always make you gain weight. It may take some getting used to but eating less of a higher quality food will be better for you and keep you feeling full.
Too much of anything can be bad
Hudson has said that anything can be good for you and anything can be bad. This goes back to the portion control – but also includes overindulgence in things that are supposed to be healthy. It also sometimes means that if you deprive yourself completely – you might end up going overboard when you “break”.
Having that one piece of chocolate is better than denying yourself and ending up eating the whole box.
Don’t go it alone
As a new mom, Hudson knew that a lot of women have post-partum blues and feel alone. This makes losing weight that much harder.
Getting a group of friends together to lose weight can provide you some socialization and motivation. If you don’t have friends who want to join you – find some that do. Going to the fitness club and taking some exercise classes is a great way to meet people – you don’t have to become fast-buddies but the more often you go, the more often you will see the same people.
Hudson was lucky in that her family reportedly jumped on board as well – reportedly over 100 of her family members joined in and lost at least 2000 pounds.
Take your motivation where you can
Hudson has said that having her son was a big drive in her desire to lose weight and develop healthy habits. Because she wanted to be able to teach him the right things, she had to learn them herself.
A baby will emulate its parents – if you model good behavior, then that is what they will learn. If you model unhealthy habits, that’s what they will learn.
Maintain when you get there
Jennifer Hudson lost over 80 pounds in her weight loss journey. She is one of Weight Watchers biggest success stories, but she has acknowledged that it is as hard to maintain the weight loss as it was to lose it.
She has been successful in keeping it off for over three years by practicing what she learned about moderation and changes in habits. Growing up without a good foundation in healthy habits, she had to learn new ways of doing things.
When she left Weight Watchers as the spokesperson, she said “I’m at the weight I want to be,” She was ready to “ditch the diet” regardless of what life changes she has in store for her – so she did ditch the diet but not the new thinking.
Some women can get away without exercising on a regular basis – but clearly not most people. A healthy exercise program can speed up any weight you lose by dieting. Exercise burns calories while you are working out – but also while you are resting as your basal metabolic rate increases.
Jennifer Hudson doesn’t talk that much about her exercise program but she did have access to a personal trainer that other celebrities have used. She had a moderate program that she practiced on a regular basis – which is all a busy mom can often handle.
Obviously, most women can’t afford to have a personal trainer – but a lot of gyms offer sessions with their trainers – and really, the main thing is that you establish an exercise program and practice it.
Jennifer Hudson lost all that weight by being smart. She didn’t do any drastic diets – she didn’t go all out on a fast, she didn’t wear herself to the bone. She lost her weight slowly over a period of years, becoming thinner by the month. This is often the best way to create solid and long-lasting weight loss with behavioral changes that will become part of your normal life – not just part of your “dieting” life.