In regard to weight, Jennifer Hudson's biggest concern these days might be finding a shelf sturdy enough to bear the weight of her numerous awards. Her Oscar and Grammy wins represent but a small portion of the recognition she has received. But body weight has been a concern for her in the past. And it was Weight Watchers, for which she appears in ads, and developing a sense of play about physical activity that helped her lose 80 pounds and keep it off.
Were you heavy as a child, or did the weight come on later?
I was actually a very petite child, and I was very active. I think all kids were active back then, but we weren't really conscious of it. We took gym class, and I also had ballet. But in my teens I started to gain weight. It was in high school, but it just seemed normal. That was the way we were. I didn't see anything wrong with it, and I never knew there was a problem or that it was anything to be alarmed about. I didn't realize how important health was until I was in Hollywood.
What was it that made you choose Weight Watchers?
We had a meeting, and they explained the program to me, and it really sounded like a fit for me. It turned out to be perfect, and without them I wouldn't have gotten nearly as far. My favorite thing is that it teaches you the "how" of losing weight, and prepares you for any situation. Now it's a lifestyle. You learn how to make it work for you. It's not restricting. It's very flexible and realistic. It really has been life changing for me.
Are you still involved with them – still doing the meetings?
I have my leader. Because of my lifestyle, my meetings are one on one, but I do go to some meetings. I don't get to go as often as I like to. And I always hear something inspiring and encouraging, so I do like to go when I can. I like to hear other people's stories. It helps keep you motivated.
What role did physical activity play in your weight loss?
When it comes to trainers, I don't like when people impose their ideals on you. I didn't want to live inside of a gym. I just like to be active. If you work out too much, then you hurt and you don't want to go back, so I just decided to create fun activities instead. The other day I was running up and down the stairs of my house. I did it 10 times, and next time I'll try to do it 15 times. It's not about what a trainer wants you to do. It's about what works for you.
What other kind of activities are you into these days?
I love running, but mostly I approach life that moving is better than doing nothing. I take stairs instead of the elevator. I'll get up and dance. I just try to move as much as possible. I also consider shopping part of my activities because you're not thinking about eating — you're moving around. I'm all about having fun when I'm moving around.
I love to play basketball because it doesn't feel like work and I get to play with my son, so it just fits into my life. If you find an activity that's fun and you enjoy, you'll do it more often.
Fell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and the founder of sixpackabs.com.