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
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
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 in 2015. “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
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
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
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 2013, she decided to take her health into her own hands and underwent a vertical gastric sleeve surgery.
Rosie O’Donnell — Now
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.'”
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
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
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 in 2012. “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
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 in 2011. “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
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
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 in 2010. “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
“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
“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.
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
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.”