“I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down,” by Jennifer Hudson (Dutton, 2012), is an honest and inspirational story of dreaming big, winning big and losing big. The author is one of today’s most beautiful voices and brightest Hollywood stars.
Hudson first wowed the world with her powerful voice on “American Idol”‘s third season. She then took Hollywood by storm with a star turn in “Dreamgirls” that won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Since then, she has performed sold-out shows around the world and won a Grammy for her gold-certified hit album, “Jennifer Hudson.” However, before she became known as an international star, Hudson was a young performer who was sometimes turned down for gigs because of her weight.
Now, for the first time, Hudson tells the story of her meteoric career rise. She shares how she keeps a level head and talks about what inspired her amazing weight loss success on the Weight Watchers program in her new book, “I Got This.”
In the south of Chicago, where Hudson grew up, food, and lots of it, was always a big part of the family. Hudson knew she was a plus-sized girl, but she was never insecure about her looks and fully embraced her body. When she made it to the final rounds of “American Idol” in 2004, one of the show’s musical directors told her that everything about her was too big-her voice, her personality and, of course, her size. Hudson replied, “Isn’t that what being a star is? Stars are larger than life!”
Later, during one of her first red carpet appearances, a reporter asked if she was insecure about being a “big girl” in Hollywood. “It took me a minute to figure out who the reporter was actually talking to,” Hudson wrote in the introduction. “Surely she wasn’t addressing me that way. I had the height of a supermodel, breasts that were naturally big and real and a God-given shape. Why would I feel insecure about that?” Realizing that image was just as-or maybe even more-important as talent was one of her first eye-opening moments in Hollywood.
Despite such comments, Hudson always stayed focused on her goals and didn’t bow to Hollywood pressure to lose weight. In fact, she gained 20 pounds to play the role of Effie White in “Dreamgirls.” She lost it through hard work and determination afterward and stuck to her guns when the movie’s producers wanted her to put the weight back on.
About that, Hudson wrote, “I was shocked. The irony of the situation was almost too much to take. I remembered the comments about my weight during ‘American Idol.’ Now, here I was in Hollywood, in a town where size 10 is considered a plus size, and I was being told to put on weight!
“Why couldn’t my performance speak for itself?” she continued. “Why did what the scale said when I stepped on it always come into play, either one way or the other? I couldn’t win for losing. ‘It’s not going to happen,’ I said to my publicist.”
While Hudson had always been proud of her curvy size, the birth of her son in 2009 and a desire to be a healthy role model for him made her decide to focus on her weight issues once and for all. She talks about making the decision to start on Weight Watchers and is candid about her goals, successes and frustrations throughout her incredible weight loss journey. In Chapters 8 and 9, readers will relate to what Hudson has to say about taking control of her health as they would with any friend.
For those who struggle with their weight, “I Got This” is a truthful story for anyone who dreams big. “I wrote this book because I want you to have a sense of who I am, where I’ve come from and what I’ve been through so you know my journey has been totally real,” said Hudson. She has never forgotten where she came from.
She writes about the influence of her grandmother and the unending support of her mother. This is why, even though she has achieved fame, her cousin helps her with her son, one of her brothers works security for her and her best friend from middle school is her executive assistant. She surrounds herself with people who have been there all along. Her family, her determination and her belief in God’s plan have gotten her from singing in church and in talent shows to where she is today.
Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning performer and an Academy Award-winning actress. She is the current spokesperson for Weight Watchers. “I Got This” is a gift for Hudson’s millions of fans and an inspiration for anyone struggling with weight issues.