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Jennifer Hudson On her Role with Weight Watchers and How Her Short Hair Motivates Her to Work Out

Written on February 21, 2014 at 11:38 am , by

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!”


Favorite Find Friday: BaByliss Pro Nano Tools 1” Rotating Curling Iron

Written on November 22, 2013 at 11:14 am , by

After months of working on a short hair makeover story (check it out in the February issue!) and toying with the idea of cutting my long locks shorter, I recently chopped off six inches of my hair. This apparently was hardly noticeable to some (ahem, boyfriend who thinks “it doesn’t really look that different”) but a really big deal to me. And though I’m loving my new cut, styling it has been quite an adjustment. No longer can I sleep in a bun and wake up with effortless waves (tragic, I know). Since I prefer my naturally straight hair to have some texture, this posed a problem. So, I’ve recently been spending some quality time with my curling iron. After years of working in the beauty industry, I consider myself pretty handy with one, but even the most-skilled pro can sometimes struggle with getting the dreaded dent. Unless—that is—you’re working with my new favorite tool, Babyliss Pro Nano Tools 1” Rotating Curling Iron ($60, naimies.com). This iron is so easy to use, it actually makes my styling session faster. It has a rotating base, so you don’t have to nearly break your wrist trying to create a curl, and a super thin clip plate so you can chose not to use it if you prefer the feel of a wand. Plus, it’s made of a hybrid mineral complex (a mix of nano ceramic and Japanese kiyoskei) so it smoothes your hair, leaving each strand shiny and frizz-free. With 40 different heat settings up to 430°F, it’s perfect for any hair texture. Seriously, this thing is so awesome; your hair practically curls itself! (Now wouldn’t that be nice…) 

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s New Favorite Workout and How She Pulls Off Short Hair

Written on July 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm , by

Photo Credit: Amy Sussman/AP for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

Maggie Gyllenhaal recently joined the Band-Aid, Neosporin, Johnson & Johnson Red Cross and Benadryl Brands to help celebrate the 125th Anniversary of an iconic staple for everyday care—the First Aid Kit. Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson got the idea for making the first commercial First Aid Kits due to a conversation he had with a railway surgeon on a Denver & Rio Grande Railway train in the late 1880s. The surgeon told Johnson that railroad workers were frequently injured, but were too far away from any medical help, and Johnson had the idea to pack his company’s sterile dressings and other products in boxes that could be kept near the workers to treat them in case of injury. Now, First Aid Kits ($10, target.com) are found almost anywhere from homes to workplaces to airplanes. At the celebration, we chatted with Gyllenhaal about Band-Aids, running and her tips for getting the haircut you want.

We’re celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the First Aid Kit. It fits into all different aspects of our lives—it’s perfect for the cook, the athlete, the mom, the adventurer, etc. Where do you find that it fits into your life?
“I definitely use Band-Aids the most as a mom, and Neosporin and stuff. I feel like it’s mostly with my kids.”

As a busy mom with a successful career, how do find time for yourself?  
“I have almost no time to myself. Basically the only time is during exercise. So sometimes I’ll go for a run and listen to the news while I’m running. I try to take time for myself at night. I’ll go to dinner or listen to music. I’ll put my kids to sleep and go out. But during the day, especially with a little one… I mean I was exercising at this place where it would take 40 minutes to get there, I’d work out for an hour, an hour and a half, then come back home. It’s just too much time. My husband is a really big runner. He started to teach me about running, so I’ve been running lately. And then I walk outside my house. I can take a forty-five minute run, I feel like I’ve worked out and then I’m done.”

So is running your go-to workout?
“I’m a beginner. I’m a new, new, newbie. I’ve been doing this aerobics class that I really like, which has been great for my body because it’s so toning and strengthening. I was doing like an hour of cardio aerobics, which I had to work up to, but it made me feel so strong. So when I started running, even though it was very different and much harder I felt, I kind of had some strength already. So I’m a beginner runner, but because my husband runs—he’s a long distance runner—he runs such long distances, I started out running pretty far because I was with him and he was like, ‘Oh, we’ll just do five miles,’ so I just ran five miles. When I run by myself, I run about three and a half.”

Switching gears to beauty, we love your short haircut. Do you have any advice for somebody who is thinking about getting a big chop?
“I’ve always been someone who’s played with my hair and cut it. I have a hard time just growing it and leaving it a certain way. I don’t know; it’s not for everybody. I really like it; I feel really good. And I’ve certainly cut my hair in ways in which I did not feel good. I would say do not cut your hair short if you’re pregnant. And I say, think about it. That’s my advice. Make sure that you have a good hairdresser. When you get a short cut, you have to have a great haircut. And you have to cut it often. About every three weeks I feel like I need to do at least a little trim on my hair. And I would say, go and talk to your hairdresser, ask your hairdresser what he or she thinks about your face, the quality of your hair, if it’s going to work on you. I mean I cut my hair first for a movie and I had kind of a bowl cut, which was fantastic for the movie when they did my hair everyday. And when I got home, I was like ‘what do I do with this?’ I can’t blow-dry it so it’s shiny and perfect—that’s just not going to be me. So I need a haircut that’s very simple to maintain. But I think, take some time and think and ask someone who knows your hair.”

What are the beauty essentials that you can’t leave home without?  
“I always moisturize, so when I get out of the shower, I always put on oil. I just stay wet and put oil on, and then sort of just pat it dry with a towel. And I always have lipstick in my purse because I’m a lipstick girl. It makes me feel good.”