Jennifer Hudson has come a long way since she first graced the stage as a finalist in the third season of American Idol. As a Grammy-award winning singer, she went on to star in the silver screen blockbuster Dreamgirls, which earned her a Golden Globe, SAG award and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. After the birth of her first child, she announced she was joining Weight Watchers in 2010 and has since been a success story (dropping from a size 16 to a 6) and spokesperson for the brand. She discusses her journey in her book I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down ($15, amazon.com). We nabbed some time with her and Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer, Karen Miller Kovach as they awarded Baltimore with a healthy community grant on behalf of Weight Watchers.
Tell us about what you guys are doing today in Baltimore.
Miller-Kovach: “Weight Watchers is and always has been very committed in terms of ensuring that our program and services are available throughout the world because we’re not just a United States company. We decided to formalize a little bit and so the healthy community grant came out of that and has been awarded to three cities. It was a highly competitive grant process and was judged by a group of independent judges. So a small, a large and a medium city were selected. We’re in Baltimore today, which is the large city that was selected. And celebrating their record and proven ability to provide, within the community, a holistic approach to health and well-being. So, this is a celebration, I think for the community, it’s a celebration for weight watchers to recognize and renew our commitment to healthy living, to weight management and to being an active player in reversing the tide of obesity that exists in our nation.” Awesome! And Jennifer what does it mean to you to be involved in this type of program?
Hudson: “I think it’s amazing! One of my new year’s resolutions was to help change lives and that’s what this will do. It will give people a new start and direction. So I’m excited to be a part of it!”
What are some healthy habits that you’ve adopted in achieving your health goals?
“I think all around just making healthier choices and decisions. Drinking water, I’m not a water girl but I have to do that. Because that’s important and knowing what’s important for the body not eating just for fun. Being conscious of what I’m taking in.”
What type of workouts helped you achieve and maintain your transformation?
“What I like most, if I’m going to workout, is being outside. I love being outside! I love being able to enjoy things while I’m working out. So I love jogging because I want to be out. I’ve noticed that if I’m in a nice climate, it inspires me to workout more and be more active. Since I’m in Chicago it’s much colder, so you might not feel like working out which makes it more difficult. So when I can embrace the beautiful air, I love to get out and go running. And just most importantly, making sure I’m enjoying whatever I’m doing. Whether it’s doing squats, whether it’s jogging, whether it’s jumping rope, riding a bike, I like to make it fun so I want to do it again. You want to carry it on. So if you’re enjoying it you’ll do it over and over again. I like to make it fun!”
Have you found to have any snacks that give you energy throughout the day, or to have before or after a workout?
“Actually I love a banana! That’s my favorite, if you want to call that a snack! It’s good because it gets that fiber in there, gets your system going and gives you plenty of energy and it’s no points! So that’s something that I love to have. Before I eat anything in the morning I make sure I have a banana or something because it’s filling and you don’t ever want to be too hungry. Because you don’t want to go to the gym, do a workout and then you’re starving, then you’re going to eat anything. If you have something that’s quick, you can grab out of your bag. To me it’s the most fulfilling fruit there is. Eat that up and I’m good to go!”
In terms of your beauty routine, are there any makeup tricks or hair tricks that you like to do before a night out or something to boost your confidence?
“Well, I cut my hair and I think that’s like a weight loss goal for people. A lot of times it’s a goal when you’re going through weight loss. You know it’s like ‘if I ever lose weight I’m going to cut my hair!’ So I cut my hair so I can show off my facial structure and things like that. It’s fun being able to experiment with the new me and discovering who I am now. Like I had the big girl look down, no I’m like ‘okay, what’s my style now?’ Like re-discovering myself and it’s fun! You know, every girl wants to play dress up! So I’m getting to play dress up with myself and find my new self!”
Have you found it to be easier to maintain and to style?
“It is, I think it’s fun and it’s funky! It’s a lot of things but it’s definitely easier to maintain than longer hair. And it inspires me to workout more because I can’t hide behind the hair! If you’ve got short hair you can see my arms and my back, you know what I mean? It inspires me to push even further to work out!”