Jennifer Hudson won our hearts as the curvy contestant on the third season of American Idol. Then she gained 20 more pounds for her breakout role as legendary singer Effie White in Dreamgirls. By the time she was picking up her Academy Award for Dreamgirls in February 2007, she had already dropped 25 pounds, and her weight has continued to fall off. In this past year, she has gone from a full-figured singing sensation to a svelte and gorgeous full-fledged star before our very eyes.

Believing in Herself
Since Jennifer, 26, stepped on the scene, she has always stayed true to herself. As her fellow Idol contestants turn to stick figures, Jennifer says she’s proud to have curves: “I wouldn’t change myself for anything or anybody. That will never happen.” So as the weight started to melt off, we had to ask: How was she doing it? “It’s hard to exercise,” she tells OK!. “But we barely ever have time to sit down. Moving around a lot is enough exercise, so I eat right.”

An Evolving Diet

Don’t be fooled, “eating right” doesn’t mean that this 5-foot-9 beauty is starving herself. At a recent event, Jen’s main concern was that her room be stocked with hot wings, chicken fingers and fries. She even called down for more when the goodies ran out! You might think that these are the antics of a football player before a game, but Jennifer isn’t in a rush to get stick thin. “I eat as best as I can to maintain my thickness,” she tells OK!. “I don’t want to be too thin, so it’s okay not to work out once in a while if you want to maintain.” However, this splurge, Jennifer claims, isn’t the way she usually eats. “Normally, I eat trail mix in the morning, a salad at lunch and chicken and vegetables for dinner.” Her one indulgence that she can’t fight? “Chocolate-chip cookies — they always win.”

The New Jennifer
On the set of the Sex and the City movie, Jen was surrounded by some of Hollywood’s pin-thin heavyweights, but she got to have fun with the clothes to. “The first day I went into my fitting, I was like, ‘Wow!’” Her ever-growing confidence is making Jen glow from the inside out. And although her size is dwindling, don’t expect to see her rib cage anytime soon. “Curves are good. I have the height of a model, the breasts that people pay for and the lips that everybody wants, so why should I change?” she laughs. So for 2008, Jennifer is keeping things simple. “My New Year’s resolution is to focus more and always be happy.”

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