A slim Jennifer Hudson graces the cover of Self magazine's September issue. - Robert Erdmann/Self
Hudson admits in the September issue that she never thought of herself as overweight. "I remember one of my first times on ared carpet, an interviewer asked, 'How does it feel to be plus-sized in Hollywood?' I looked around, like, Who is she talking to? Oh, me? I'm plus-sized?,'"the 29-year-old recalls. "In the neighborhood I'm from in Chicago, a 16 is normal. But in Hollywood, everyone looks exactly the same, so I stoodout."
It was during her pregnancy with son David, who's now 2,when Hudson suddenly became inspired to finally revamp her lifestyle to become healthy and fit. "I thought, hold on -- why doesn't anybody know I'm pregnant?," she says. "And I wanted to set a good example for my son. Right after I had him, I began trying to change things."
Hudson has lost an impressive 80 pounds. - Robert Erdmann/Self
"If I can do it, you can do it," she insists. - Robert Erdmann/Self
Just a few days after giving birth to David via cesarean section, she started walking 30 minutes a day -- which became her much-needed time to herself -- and eventually began hitting the gym, jogging, and bike riding. Though she'd gone through three different weight losses before, Hudsondecided, this time, to join Weight Watchers (she's also a company spokesperson)to get her eating habits on track after years of trying deprivation diets.
"[I] learned about balance. 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," Hudson tells the magazine. "I know now that I can eat anything I want and still lose or maintain my weight. It's about portions and balance."
These days, even when the busy mom is pressed for time, she squeezes in exercise, doing a workout called "trilogy" which includes sets of 25 squats, 25 push-ups, and 25 ab moves with minute-long restsin between for a total of 15 minutes. With her new, slimmed-down figure and healthy attitude, Hudson has become a new kind of idol for lots of her fans,but, of course, she's endured criticism as well.
"I can't care about whether I'm too big for some or too small for others. It goes back to how you feel about yourself," she insists. "I like me the way I am. For anyone who wants to lose: Dude, if I can do it, you can do it."
- Jennifer Hudson