16 July 2010

Losing weight Jennifer's way

US star Jennifer Hudson is shooting a new movie in South Africa and her fabulous new figure is turning heads everywhere. Health24 discovered the secrets to her weight loss.

Award-winning actress, singer and new face of Weight Watchers International, Jennifer Hudson, is currently shooting a new movie in South Africa and her fabulous new figure is turning heads everywhere. Health24 discovered the secrets to her weight loss.

Award-winning actress, singer and new face of Weight Watchers International, Jennifer Hudson is currently in South Africa to shoot the movie Winnie, in which she stars as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. After the birth of her son, David in August last year, 28-year-old Jennifer was determined to lose her post-baby weight and to get her body in tip-top shape for her latest movie role. She wowed fans and friends by slimming down from a US size 16 to a slender size 6, and looking better than ever.  

What’s her secret?

Jennifer attributes her amazing weight loss success to the Weight Watchers weight loss programme and regular exercise. "I’m in the best shape of my life,” Hudson told People Magazine in a recent interview. “With Weight Watchers, I am enjoying the weight loss because I'm doing it the right way. I feel empowered with what I've learned. Everything from portion control to what foods will help keep me satisfied - it's a lifestyle change, not a diet."

Since joining Weight Watchers, Jennifer has never looked back. With the help of New York Weight Watchers counsellor and brand advocacy director Liz Josefsberg she has learned to make simple changes to her diet and lifestyle to help her reach and maintain a healthy body weight.

Jennifer was very happy to discover at one of her first Weight Watchers meetings that she could eat her favourite food sushi. “Everyone that knows me knows that I love sushi!,” she wrote on her blog. “I’m so happy that I can eat it again! I gave it up a couple of years ago because the diet I was on told me to stay away from white carbs. In my first meeting, my leader told me that it was actually a great choice and you could really work it in. I didn't believe that at first, but as we got into it I decided to give it a try. I went to a great sushi restaurant and had some sushi for the first time in years. I even lost weight that week. Amen! Sushi is back in my life!”

Points system

With the Weight Watchers programme you don’t have to weigh your foods – instead you work with points. “Having to weigh your food is impractical. Who carries a scale with them? Instead we work with points to help you quantify food,” says Liz.

She explains the points system as follows:

“All foods are assigned to points based on their nutritional value. You have a total budget of 20 points per day. Once you realise that you have this limited number of points that you can take in, you start to look at your food choices. For example: you might think that 2 pieces of dried toast make for a good diet breakfast. However that’s worth four points. Do you really want to spend a quarter of your day’s points on dry toast? You could have an egg white omelette filled with vegetables with a lighter piece of toast and a cup of strawberries for the same amount of points instead. Sounds much nicer, doesn’t it?"

 According to Liz the points system encourages you to explore other options and gently nudges you towards healthier eating. “Vegetables for example have zero points and fruits are very low on points. Suddenly the points system is pushing you towards eating more fruit and veggies.” Liz explains that they also give general guidelines to help you make good food choices. “These include eating at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 servings of milk products and 2 servings of lean protein a day.”

Very flexible

The points system is also very flexible. “It’s about learning a new language. Once you know it, you can take it anywhere. While Jennifer is working in South Africa, she can still follow her healthy eating plan, despite her different work hours and the foreign cuisine.” Liz adds that with the points system it is easy to save some points for a special restaurant meal or a piece of birthday cake. “The fact that you never have to deprive yourself of anything, makes it so much easier to maintain your healthy eating plan for life.”

  1. Take baby steps. Start your new healthy eating plan by making small changes that you can maintain. Work on one new health option at a time. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to the next step.
  2. Learn to be honest with yourself. Keep a food journal, write down everything that you eat during the day and discover how your feelings are connected to food.  
  3. Incorporate some daily activity into your life. Find an activity that you enjoy, and you will be able to stick to it.
  4. Learn to understand and control portion size.
  5. Lose weight at a healthy and safe pace. Weight Watchers recommends weight loss of between 0.5 and 1kg per week.


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