Losing weight is never easy, though Hollywood sometimes makes it seem that way. From celebrities who drop the baby weight in mere weeks to magical transformations using secret means, celebrity weight-loss stories are all over these days — but what’s not easy to find are celebrities who lost weight in a healthy way.
Taking a cue from stars like Jennifer Hudson, who lost 80 pounds, Chris Pratt, who lost 60 pounds, and John Goodman, who lost over 100 pounds, it seems that the real “secret” to weight loss is plain-old eating well and exercising more (as we already suspected!). From inspirational journeys with Jenny Craig to weight-loss surgery, there are many ways to slim down. But these celebrities prove that keeping the weight off is the real achievement. Read on for more on celebrities who have lost a ton of weight to get their best tips and tricks for dropping pounds and keeping them off.
Jennifer Hudson — Then
Jennifer Hudson rose to stardom in 2004 thanks to American Idol, but it wasn’t until her Oscar-winning performance as Effie in Dreamgirls that the world really took notice of her powerhouse vocals and acting chops.
Jennifer Hudson — Now (80 Pounds)
Since then, the singer and actress went from a size 16 to a size 6 and has kept off her 80-pound weight loss for the past eight years. Hudson originally lost weight thanks to Weight Watchers, and has kept it off long-term by being very careful about what she eats.
“I don’t really have time to do much [working out], so I really just watch what I eat,” Hudson said during a 2017 interview on the British daytime talk show Lorraine. “I’m very careful and cautious of what I’m eating, so I just try to pace those meals throughout the day. Like, okay, eat here, don’t eat here. When it’s early in the morning, I say, okay, I would’ve been asleep … so I’m not going to eat. I’m very conscious of what I put in my body.”
Sara Rue — Then
You may have grown up knowing Sara Rue from 1999-2001 hit Popular, but you may not have recognized her lately as she appeared on Bones, A Series of Unfortunate Events, or American Housewife.
Sara Rue — Now (50 Pounds)
The actress went through a major transformation in her early 30s, losing more than 50 pounds thanks to the Jenny Craig program. These days, Rue is motivated to keep the weight off by wanting to be a healthy role model for her daughter.
“I’m more motivated than ever to stay on course because I’m now a mom,” she told Cosmopolitan. “I just want to be as healthy of a role model as I can be for her. I always think if I ever have a moment of being upset with myself or if I have a bad food day, I look at my daughter and I’m like, ‘I made this beautiful, perfect creature. Therefore, I am awesome.’ And I try to love myself for that.”
Al Roker — Then
Way back in 2002, Al Roker weighed 340 pounds before he underwent a gastric bypass and slimmed down to 190 pounds. The popular Today weather and feature anchor admitted to regaining 40 pounds when his mother was hospitalized in 2011, but eventually lost the weight again and wrote about it in his 2012 memoir, Never Goin’ Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle for Good.
Al Roker — Now (150 Pounds)
The secret to his success? In an effort to avoid gaining weight again, he had to alter his diet for good. He now focuses on eating only whole, unprocessed foods that are low-carb and high-protein. He also has an exercise regime that includes three 30-minute exercise sessions every week and strength training in order to create more lean body mass so that he can burn more calories.
“I’m thrilled about where I am,” Roker said in 2013, shortly after his book was released. “Life is terrific; I wouldn’t trade it for a moment. […] I finally got it figured out. I feel good about it.”
Kirstie Alley — Then
Kirstie Alley is no stranger to fluctuating weight — from her Cheers years in the ’80s to her 2005 TV show Fat Actress to her time with Jenny Craig (during which she lost a total of 75 pounds) to her time on the 12th season of Dancing with the Stars (when she lost 60 pounds).
Kirstie Alley — Now (75 Pounds)
In recent years, she has maintained a 50-pound weight loss by re-joining Jenny Craig and avoiding diet pitfalls, like overindulging during the holidays.
“I feel really good,” Alley said on the Today show in 2016. “I have a lot of great things going on in my life and I’ve managed to keep the weight off, and that’s a good thing.”
Jason Alexander — Then
You probably best know him for playing George Costanza on Seinfeld, but the Jason Alexander of today is a lot more fit than his chubby alter ego of the ’90s.
Jason Alexander — Now (30 Pounds)
In 2010, Alexander joined Jenny Craig as their new celebrity spokesperson and lost 30 pounds. He dropped the weight in six months after slashing his daily calories from 4,500 to 1,500 and adding regular workouts. Always delighting his fans with self-deprecating hilarity, Alexander has even shown off his new body in spandex in a Jenny Craig ad.
“Take a look, drink it in,” he said in the 2010 commercial. “I was fat, now I’m thin!”
Shonda Rhimes — Then
When it comes to television drama, no one is better than writer, producer and creator Shonda Rhimes. You know her name thanks to hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, but she deserves a spot on this list because of her incredible 150-pound weight loss.
Shonda Rhimes — Now
And leave it to the powerhouse writer to share her weight-loss journey in a moving essay on her Shondaland website.
“Losing weight is not a topic I like discussing,” she wrote in 2017. “Why? Because there is nothing fun or interesting or great about it. I hated losing weight. I hated every single second of it. And I hate every single second of maintaining my weight, too.”
Although she hates discussing it, she explained that she did it because she “could not walk up a short flight up stairs without stopping to take a break and wiping sweat from my brow.”
Rosie O’Donnell — Then
Comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell has long been known for her hilarity as much as for her curvy figure. But in, following a heart attack, she decided to take her health into her own hands and underwent a vertical gastric sleeve surgery in 2013.
Rosie O’Donnell — Now (64 Pounds)
After two years, she lost 64 pounds, going from a personal high of 240 pounds down to 176 pounds. What may have motivated her further is a having a heart attack at 50 years old as well as the encouragement of her wife at the time, Michelle Rounds, whom she has since divorced.
“My [now-ex] wife [Michelle Rounds] is very healthy, always been healthy, loves me and encourages me to be healthy,” O’Donnell said on The View in 2014. “When we decided to get married, she said, ‘But I want 40 more years and I don’t want you to die on me, so you need to do something for your health.'”
Jessica Simpson — Then
Jessica Simpson gave birth to her third child in spring of 2019. Recently on Instagram, Simpson revealed that she weighed 240 pounds at her peak during the pregnancy. Since giving birth, the singer has dropped 100 pounds, which is an inspirational total for anyone to lose but especially a busy woman who has just given birth to her third baby.
Jessica Simpson — Now (100 Pounds)
In the six months after giving birth to her daughter in March 2019, the singer had lost 100 pounds and you can see how trim she continued to look in February 2020. Her trainer told Good Morning America some of the things that helped his client shed that kind of weight in a relatively short period of time included taking 12,000 steps every day, sleeping seven hours a night and switching to a high-protein diet.
“[Simpson] loves Tex-Mex flavors, so she had a lot of healthy versions of Tex-Mex foods,” said Harley Pasternak.
Adele — Then
Adele has always been proud of her curvy figure and, when she rose to fame with her album 19, she maintained her full figure and body positivity. But it’s no secret that the usually private songstress has lost weight in recent years.
“I have never been insecure, ever, about how I look, about what I want to do with myself,” she told the Daily Mail in 2009. “My mom told me to only ever do things for myself, not for others.”
Adele — Now (100 Pounds)
What inspired her to turn to weight loss and healthier habits? The birth of her son, Angelo, in 2012, when she gave up smoking and her many daily cups of tea with sugar. She also started to eat a clean diet, with lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein and complex carbs. Despite her weight-loss success, Adele plans to remain happy and healthy in her own way.
“I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion … Be happy and healthy,” she said to Rolling Stone magazine in 2015. “I’ve never had a problem with the way I look. I’d rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym.”
Chris Pratt — Then
If you were a fan of Chris Pratt as chubby and adorable Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation, then your jaw might have dropped open when you later saw him as the muscled leader in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Chris Pratt — Now (60 Pounds)
The now bonafide star lost 60 pounds for the superhero role and gained one spectacular six-pack. And he did it all thanks to an intense workout regimen of P90X, running, swimming, boxing and kickboxing. However, despite the butt-kicking workouts, he still maintains a surprisingly realistic outlook on losing weight. When a fan asked him for weight-loss advice, Pratt kept it real.
“Six months seems like a long time unless you’re looking backwards … All you have to do is just a few things every day and remain consistent, and time will fly just as fast as it flies if you’re working hard or not,” he said during a panel discussion in 2014. “If you just cut the crap out of your diet, and if you spend an hour a day doing something physical that will make you sweat, six months will pass by, you will feel better mentally, physically, spiritually — it all is tied together.”
Jordin Sparks — Then
Jordin Sparks first captured the hearts of America after she won the sixth season of American Idol. However, the singer wowed us again after she lost 50 pounds in 18 months by prioritizing her health and worrying less about her jean size.
Jordin Sparks — Now (50 Pounds)
Her fitness routine included running, boxing and Zumba, along with a diet overhaul. However, her two-year weight-loss journey was about more than just the numbers on the scale. Instead, she focused on loving herself.
“My whole journey has been about self-acceptance,” she said to Redbook magazine. “There’s no quick or magical way to lose weight. You just have to do it the natural way — diet and exercise and stick to it — and be able to do it at your own pace. Everyone has their own thing.”
Kelly Osbourne — Then
Kelly Osbourne, daughter of famed heavy metal star Ozzy Osbourne, first rose to fame on MTV’s The Osbournes in the early 2000s. She didn’t wear a bikini until she lost 50 pounds and proudly displayed her newfound body on the cover of Shape magazine. To accomplish this enormous feat, the star had to first come to terms with her drug addiction (she left Oregon’s Hazelden Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center in early 2009) and the fact that she is an emotional eater.
Kelly Osbourne — Now (50 Pounds)
But like Kirstie Alley before her, a stint on Dancing with the Stars helped Osbourne get healthier. She lost 20 pounds while on the show and then, through learning to make better choices, another 30 pounds.
“I used to eat chips and cookies and drink soda all day long,” she told Shape magazine. “I had to start making better choices. […] I indulge with pizza and cheese — I love Brie — and have cookies sometimes. But now, when I’m full? I stop eating! It may have taken me 26 years to figure it out, but I’ve finally learned how to do it right.”
Melissa McCarthy — Then
Melissa McCarthy has never shied away from using her full-figure in her comedy, yet the star of the recent Life of the Party just showed off a 75-pound weight loss that happened in a surprisingly realistic way.
Melissa McCarthy — Now (75 Pounds)
Although the star is still keeping hush-hush about her diet, she has reportedly been following a high-protein and low-carb diet, which has allowed her to stay healthy and get more comfortable with her weight. At the 2017 People’s Choice Awards, the slimmed-down McCarthy looked happy and confident in a form-fitting pantsuit.
Drew Carey — Then
He may have gone from The Drew Carey Show to The Price is Right, but what’s really right is Drew Carey’s attitude toward food these days — a shift that has resulted in a 100-pound weight loss.
“I’ve been super-happy lately,” he told Success magazine in 2015. “I’m eating better, taking better care of myself. When I was doing [The Drew Carey Show], I was eating a lot of garbage, I was drinking a lot, so I had a lot of mood swings. I had diabetes.”
Drew Carey — Now (80 Pounds)
After dropping the weight, Carey revealed that he is no longer diabetic. And he did it all through a low-carb diet and hitting the gym. In fact, he largely credits regular cardio workouts as the secret to his weight-loss success.
“About 45 minutes of cardio, at least 45 minutes of cardio,” he told People magazine. “I’ve been kind of lazy like lately, so I’m not doing it six days a week, but I will be for this next month.”
Wendy Williams — Then
You might love her very real advice on The Wendy Williams Show but the actress and host has most recently become known for her 50-pound weight loss — and how it has transformed her relationship with her body. After losing the weight over three years, and keeping it off, Williams revealed that one of the biggest perks has been that she feels comfortable enough to wear whatever she wants.
Wendy Williams — Now (50 Pounds)
“I did it on my own and I love it because I no longer have to do that fight with clothing. ‘Wah, wah, wah, I don’t wanna wear sleeveless … Does this make my butt look big?'” she said to E! News last year. “Those things get in the way of being a good host for the people. […] This is as good as it’s going to get. I’m not gonna fight my body anymore, I’ve lost the weight, I feel fantastic.”
Her weight loss was primarily the result of a pescatarian diet, cardio and Pilates, along with transforming her morning meals.
“I’ve learned to be extremely healthy regarding morning eating,” she said to E! News in 2017. “I was doing it all wrong before.”
John Goodman — Then
John Goodman, whom we most recently saw in the short-lived remake of Roseanne, estimates that he weighed around 400 pounds at his all-time high in 2015. Since then, the prominent actor has lost over 100 pounds and largely credits a healthier lifestyle for his weight loss. Most of all, though, it’s the steadiness of his diet and exercise program that has allowed him to keep the weight off.
John Goodman — Now (70 Pounds)
“In the old days, I would take 3 months out, lose 60 or 70 pounds, and then reward myself with a six-pack or whatever and just go back to my old habits,” Goodman said during an appearance on “Live with Kelly” in 2017. “This time I wanted to do it slowly. Move, exercise. I’m getting to the age where I can’t afford to sit still anymore.”
That healthier lifestyle also includes portion control and a lot of “I don’t need it,” Goodman told AARP magazine earlier this year. Despite his success, Goodman is weary of being labeled a weight-loss success story.
“I don’t want to be an example to anybody when the weight comes thundering back on — when I start eating Crisco out of the can with a spoon and a side of confectioner’s sugar,” he joked to AARP magazine in 2018.
Rebel Wilson — Then
When Rebel Wilson broke out as an international comedy star in 2012’s Pitch Perfect, her character’s name was Fat Amy. This photo was taken in 2013, when she was accepting a Teen Choice Award for her work in the movie. Her large size seemed to be as important to her signature, in-your-face acting style as her Australian accent. However, Wilson has worked hard to shed an estimated 50 pounds in recent years.
Rebel Wilson — Now (77 Pounds)
If you follow the actor on Instagram, you’ve probably seen her dramatic weight loss as she’s been flaunting her slimmer self for all her followers to see. This photo was taken before the 2020 Academy Awards and show her looking bold and stylish. She’s reportedly enlisted the help of a trainer and has worked on increasing her fiber intake and avoiding junk food to achieve her goals. She called 2020 “the year of health” and it looks like it’s been treating her well!
Jonah Hill — Then
Jonah Hill was constantly compared to comedy icon Chris Farley when he became a star after 2007’s Superbad and the fact that both men were overweight was a major reason. In 2008, he was pictured on a Hollywood red carpet and would work hard in the years following to lose weight. Since then, the actor has seen his weight fluctuate a bit, depending on the role he was playing, but he’s been noticeably thinner most of the time than how many fans remember him in the late 2000s.
Jonah Hill — Now (40 Pounds)
As you can see, Hill has gotten his weight way down. The actor has opened up about his love of practicing martial arts on Instagram and has been spotted doing intense workouts at boxing gyms as ways to stay trim. “In high school, the dudes who did jiujitsu used to beat the s— out of us at parties, so it turned me off to it as an idea growing up,” Hill wrote on Instagram in 2019. “At 35, I try and get over the stuff that made me feel weak and insecure as a teenager.”
Kathy Bates — Then
Kathy Bates has been beloved in Hollywood for a long time. The Oscar winner has seen her fandom grow to include a new generation of TV viewers with her work in FX’s American Horror Story in recent years. At an event for that series in 2015, she posed for photos on the red carpet and nobody realized they’d see her looking very different in the years that would follow, as she’d lose at least 65 pounds.
Kathy Bates — Now (65 Pounds)
As you can see, Bates looked like a new woman on the red carpet at the 2020 Oscars. She has said the transformation took a few years and a lot of patience but that “mindfulness” has been her secret. The actor told Us Weekly that one major “trick” she learned in recent years was to push her plate away when she didn’t need to eat anymore.
“I don’t like the word willpower, but I like the word determination,” she said of her recent journey.
Kelly Clarkson — Then
Like Jessica Simpson, Kelly Clarkson is another beloved singer who has been unfairly criticized for her weight during her time in the spotlight. The original American Idol winner has spoken frankly about her ups and downs on the scale but has always found ways to inspire her fans and silence her haters. Her weight was on the higher side in this photo, taken in 2017 — but about 18 months later, she’d look very different on the red carpet.
Kelly Clarkson — Now (70 Pounds)
Shot at the premiere of UglyDolls in 2019, Clarkson looked slim after having lost about 40 pounds. In 2018, she revealed that she wasn’t really trying to lose weight but that it came as a side effect of a change she made to her own cooking by switching to organic foods. The singer has kept it very real with fans regarding her disdain for hitting the gym, once tweeting, “I still hate working out. I’m sweaty, red and not any thinner.” It’s tough to disagree with that!
Kevin Smith — Then
Filmmaker Kevin Smith typically stayed behind the camera when making cult classic movies like Clerks and Chasing Amy in the 1990s, but he became more recognizable in the 2000s after starring in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and the reality TV series Comic Book Men. His signature look included wearing dark-colored, baggy coats and his size was hardly slim, as you can see in this photo from 2008, where he’s standing with actor Seth Rogen. Smith would begin a transformation not long after being kicked off a flight in 2010 for being too large.
Kevin Smith — Now (85 Pounds)
In the past decade, Smith has lost at least 85 pounds, according to reports. The plane incident was bad but Smith would suffer a heart attack in 2018, causing him to seriously commit to his health.
“After years of doing the yo-yo, the heart attack was like, Yo!,” Smith said in 2019. He has gone vegan and avoids sugar as much as he can, along with taking his dog on an hour-long walk every day, according to an interview with Men’s Health.
“Mama June” Shannon — Then
No matter your thoughts on June Shannon (aka “Mama June”), she’s been a pop-culture conversation starter since Here Comes Honey Boo Boo debuted on TLC in 2012. The reality TV star was larger than life in all ways, including her personality and her weight. Shannon weighed more than 450 pounds when she was starring in the series. Since then, she’s lost an incredible amount of weight and has been the star of a new series about that journey.
“Mama June” Shannon — Now (300 Pounds)
Shannon started to lose weight in 2014 and eventually got down the size you see in this photo after a few years of work. “Mama June: From Not to Hot” has aired on We TV since 2017 and has chronicled her continuing weight loss journey. Shannon has reportedly lost 300 pounds since her peak weight, getting down to 160 pounds so far. Unfortunately, she’s also been battling drug addiction, which has also played a major part in her newest series.
Leslie Jones — Then
How can you not love Leslie Jones? Aside from being one of the funniest people in Hollywood, the fact that she got her big break later in life than most entertainers do makes her an even more inspiring figure. Another thing that makes us love her is the work she’s done to keep her health at the forefront, losing a noticeable amount of weight in the time after this photo was taken in 2014.
Leslie Jones — Now (40 Pounds)
In 2017, Jones turned 50 years old and part of her celebration was by getting in the best shape of her life. She was able to lose a whopping 40 pounds in about a year by making better dietary choices and working out with a trainer and her “Ghostbusters” co-star, Kate McKinnon.
“It’s not always easy because I do have a sweet tooth that’s a killer,” Jones told People magazine. “But I do the best that I can.”
Zach Galifianakis — Then
The first time most people saw Zach Galifianakis was when The Hangover smashed box office records in 2009. That movie made him a rising comedy star and also, unfortunately, gave the world an image of him as a bit of a schlub. He was pictured here in 2010 but the actor and stand-up comic has worked hard to erase that image in recent years, losing enough weight to where he could rival co-star Bradley Cooper for leading man status in the next sequel!
Zach Galifianakis — Now (50 Pounds)
When Galifianakis showed up at the 2017 Emmy Awards, he looked like a legitimate hunk. Interestingly, that was the same event where Leslie Jones showed off her new figure, so it was a bit of a coming-out party for both comedians. Galifianakis hasn’t said exactly how much weight he lost to get down to that size but he has attributed much of his success to cutting out alcohol.
“I stopped drinking and I just, kind of, put the weight off,” he told Conan O’Brien on his talk show. Trimming the beard probably helped a bit, too!
Simon Cowell — Then
The world’s favorite talent judge got a little judgmental about himself during the past couple of years. Simon Cowell was never in danger of becoming morbidly obese but, as you can see in this photo from 2018, he had definitely put on some weight and it was giving his famously spartan wardrobe some problems. Shortly after this, Cowell would make a life-changing decision that would noticeably change the way he looked.
Simon Cowell — Now (60 Pounds)
Fast forward to 2020 and, as you can see from this shot, Cowell was looking as fit as ever, without a hint of gut to be found. He pulled off the transformation by switching to a vegan diet but, unlike Zach Galifianakis, he hasn’t given up drinking.
“My memory’s better, I feel better, so I didn’t find it difficult,” Cowell told “Access Hollywood” about his new lifestyle. “I can still drink beer, so I’m happy.”
Mo’Nique — Then
When Mo’Nique’s career took off in the early 2000s, she was a model of body positivity. The comedian embraced her size and even created a plus-size clothing line called BBLI (Big, Beautiful and Loving It). In the years since this photo was taken in 2001, she’s seen her career soar to new heights and her weight to new lows. It’s doubtful she’d even be able to fit in her own clothing line’s wears at this point!
Mo’Nique — Now (80 Pounds)
After primarily being thought of as a comedian, Mo’Nique revealed her dramatic acting skills in 2009, with her Oscar-winning performance in Precious. It seems she also started taking her diet more seriously in the years after that as well. In 2018, she revealed that she’s gotten her weight under 200 pounds for the first time in her adult life, which makes this photo from 2016 even more impressive as it already shows a slimmer figure. She credited switching to raw foods as the biggest key to her success.
Jerry Ferrara — Then
When Jerry Ferrara was on Entourage, his character, Turtle, would often get picked on by his friends for his weight. The actor really was tipping the scales a bit, especially for someone who is 5 feet 7 inches tall. In 2009, during the show’s run, Ferrara told People magazine he weighed 200 pounds. This photo was taken in 2008, when he was close to his peak weight.
Jerry Ferrara — Now (40 Pounds)
In the years since Entourage, Ferrera has cut some serious weight, as you can see from this 2019 photo. After some yo-yo dieting, he eventually lost about 40 pounds in 10 months.
“What happened then was a whole lifestyle change,” Ferrera told People magazine in 2015. “I devoted myself to working out, quit smoking, committed to an annual physical.” He said the weight loss led him to get better roles.
Rick Ross — Then
Rick Ross earned his reputation as one of the biggest figures in hip-hop — both literally and figuratively. At his heaviest, the rapper reportedly weighed more than 300 pounds, hovering around that number when this photo was snapped in 2013. It wasn’t long after that Ross would begin an intense fitness regimen that led to him losing 100 pounds.
Rick Ross — Now (75 Pounds)
As you can see in this shot from the 2020 Grammy Awards, Ross is looking lean and mean these days. The rapper has said his impressive weight loss came after making the choice to eat healthier when he’s working late at night and doing a CrossFit workout plan (which he dubbed “RossFit”).
“I’m happy and I feel good,” Ross told ABC News in 2016, when he first lost the weight.