Jennifer Hudson, star of the film version of Dreamgirls and now a successful recording artist, has been recently discussing her remarkable weight loss. She has managed to lose over 80 pounds, and credits this dramatic result to her participation in Weight Watchers.
Throughout her twenties, Jennifer struggled with her weight, trying every detox and diet that she could find. Cutting different foods from her diet each time, including meat, cheese and sugar, she would lose weight and then regain it all shortly afterwards.
Spending weeks living on nothing but grilled chicken, broccoli and brown rice, she would manage to drop below 200 pounds, and then the cravings would begin once again. The yo-yo dieting pattern, of gaining and losing weight, is typical of large numbers of people who want to lose weight.
The birth of her son in 2009 brought home the fact that she needed to become fitter and healthier. Not being able to exercise after a Caesarean section, she decided to tackle the food issue first, as it was something she could do “without even having to get off the couch”.
Discovering Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers was a diet plan that Hudson had heard was flexible, so could fit in with all the changes in her schedule, meaning it was the one she decided to try first. Her Weight Watchers counsellor shocked Hudson by showing her snacks during their first session, pointing out that a bag of popcorn was only three points and actually quite a healthy option, compared to the seventeen points for a chicken wrap.
The other main thing that Jennifer Hudson learned during that surprising first session was the importance of portion control. Measuring snacks into smaller portions, rather than simply eating handfuls out of the bag, was a small, but important, difference that helped Hudson to start eating less.
She was also to find out that completely denying her cravings would lead to a return of the yo-yo dieting style that had so far failed her. Instead, she was taught to eat smaller portions of the foods she wanted – six chicken wings instead of a dozen, for example, after eating a healthy meal such as a salad, to fill her stomach first.
A mistrusting Hudson chose, for the first two weeks, to create her own plan based on the one from Weight Watchers. After finding that yet again she had increased in weight rather than losing it, she decided to commit fully to the programme. This was to pay off, with a five pound weight loss in the first week alone.
Hudson’s new method of dieting involves satisfying your cravings while still continuing to eat healthily. On the Weight Watchers plan, she discovered how to be creative about satisfying her hunger. Cashew nuts and an apple, eaten together, apparently taste exactly like a caramel apple. She says that if you don’t eat what you want, you will feel unfulfilled and continue to eat as a result.
Another tip that she has found useful is to concentrate on her food whenever she is eating. She doesn’t deny herself luxuries such as chocolate, but she waits until she can find a peaceful moment in which to eat it, and then makes sure she is able to relax and enjoy it properly.
She has also discovered new ways to reduce the amount she eats in restaurants, too. With sushi, for example, she will remove half of the rice. Avoiding salad dressing is another easy method of eating less fat, and she makes up for this by using her own concoction of Splenda and mustard, then mixing this in with the salad to add some flavour. For foods such as tacos and fajitas, she suggests avoiding the sour cream and sticking to the salsa instead, which is much healthier.
In addition to dramatically changing her eating habits, Jennifer Hudson also increased the amount of exercise she was doing, which largely involved running and spending time on the StairMaster. Instead of opening the fridge when she was bored, she put on a workout DVD instead, or took her son outside to play.
When she eats in restaurants, Hudson spends much of her time asking about how the food is prepared and cooked. She will often ask for no butter to be used in her meal, or for her vegetables to be steamed and the sauces to be left off.
She also shares her weight loss success on her blog, which helps her to keep track of her progress. She uses this to post when she has had extra snacks, such as her favourite gourmet popcorn.
However, she will also post any useful weight loss tips and tricks that she has discovered, meaning she can help others to meet their weight loss goals while also staying on track with her own.