Want to know the secret to Jennifer Hudson’s amazing 37kg weight loss? We’re revealing 30 of them! Here, in Jennifer’s own words, are the diet tips that helped her take off the weight. And as an added bonus, Elizabeth Josefsberg, the certified personal trainer who helped lead Jennifer through the Weight Watchers programme, gives expert advice on how to make Jennifer’s tips work for you too. We’re picking up where we left off with Jennifer’s motivation tips. Keep an eye out for her fitness and exercise tips later this month.
Food and snacks
7. Jennifer Says: Since my eating is often sporadic and done on the fly, it was important to come up with meals that were filling and able to hold me over long periods of time…. So when I did sit down to eat, the question that kept coming up was, ‘Where and how can I make this meal better for me?’
What You Can Do: In order to make a meal more satisfying, focus on adding more lean protein and fibre. You can achieve this by simply adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal and snack, and making sure that you get a serving of lean protein at two of your meals.
8. Jennifer Says: Although I resisted the notion at first, I eventually learnt that it was desirable to have a certain amount of carbohydrates because they’re fuel for your body.
What You Can Do: Eat a balanced diet with controlled portions of carbohydrates. For several years carbohydrates got a bad rap, but carbohydrates are an important macronutrient essential in many internal processes. They are not the enemy or solely responsible for weight gain.
9. Jennifer Says: Foods that contain a lot of artificial flavours often include a lot of fat, sugar or salt to increase the enjoyment of that food, but they are not filling, and they’re no longer part of my diet.
What You Can Do: Simple moves away from processed, packaged foods to whole, natural foods can greatly increase your eating satisfaction. Even a switch from a bag of chips to an apple and a small piece of low-fat cheese as your snack helps you feel satisfied for a greater period of time thanks to the water, fibre, protein and small amount of fat in the snack.
10. Jennifer Says: A typical breakfast for me became one of three meals; grilled chicken-breast fajitas with brown rice, an egg-white omelette with smoked salmon, or a chicken-and-vegetable omelette. If I am feeling it, I might add some cheese to the eggs, but otherwise I go without.
What You Can Do: Breakfast is a critically important meal in your day. If you are skipping it, research shows that you are probably overeating later that day. Lay the foundation for a healthy and energised day with a solid breakfast.
11. Jennifer Says: When I am in the mood for something salty and crunchy, I eat smoked almonds. If I am in the mood for something sweet and crunchy, I might sprinkle some Splenda [artificial sweetener] on top of a handful of plain almonds. It’s something different that satisfies my craving.
What You Can Do: Almonds are a healthy and satisfying snack, but be mindful of your portion. Try pairing a serving of almonds with a piece of fresh fruit so the snack doesn’t seem too skimpy.
12. Jennifer Says: When it comes to making choices for my snacks, my general rule of thumb is to go for the real thing over an imitation. I especially love mixed fruit and melon. If I want orange sherbet [sorbet], I’ll reach for an orange instead of the ice cream. It’s the flavour I’m going for, so why not eat something that has fibre and nutrients rather than something that is full of chemicals and artificial flavours?
What You Can Do: It is important to begin to know what it is that you are craving and create a repertoire of healthy alternatives for every variation. For example, if salty and crunchy is what you are looking for and the old choice was chips, replace it with air-popped popcorn for the same effect with fewer kilojoules.
13. Jennifer Says: I can get extremely bored eating the same old things over and over. It has always been one of my biggest pitfalls in dieting. My old cycle was to break my routine by eating something that wasn’t a good choice. Now, I’ve learnt that I can change things by getting creative with my meals and snacks.
What You Can Do: Invest in some great spices, hot sauces, mustards, oils and rubs. A plain, grilled lean piece of protein can take on a completely new flavour when seasoned differently. Take a grilled piece of chicken one evening with a coriander-and-lime rub that feels like a Mexican dish, to one the next night grilled with barbecue sauce. Boredom is a real danger, so prepare to fight against it.
14. Jennifer Says: I learnt to play little tricks on myself to avoid the trappings that used to keep a stronghold on me in the past. Pinkberry frozen yogurt used to be a passion of mine. Whenever I was in LA, one of my first stops off the plane was [the] Pinkberry [restaurant]. Now, instead of hitting Pinkberry when I land, I wait until the very end of my trip to treat myself so I won’t have another opportunity to go back before leaving town.
What You Can Do: Set parameters and rewards for yourself throughout the weight-loss process. Learn to manage triggers and dangers. Set aside a small amount of money in a jar for each kilo lost. Use that money to buy new clothes as the old ones get too big. This type of rewarding keeps your eyes on the prize, while still keeping all the foods you love in your life.
Five readers will win a copy of Jennifer Hudson’s inspirational book, I Got This: How I Changed My Ways And Lost What Weighed Me Down