LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - She won't say how much weight she lost, but singer/actress Jennifer Hudson will say that in the nine months she's been a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, she has never felt better.
Hudson is even singing about it in a new tune, "Feeling Good," which is part of an ad campaign the dieting firm is launching on December 26 to coincide with its new nutritional PointsPlus program.
Weight Watchers said roughly 11 percent of its annual attendance at meetings takes place in January, as Americans look to atone for their holiday-related binges.
"Basically (the song) is the perfect way to describe this journey and how it's left me feeling," Hudson told Reuters. "If I could bottle everything inside me and tell others to help motivate them, then this is it."
Hudson and her gospel-grounded voice found their place on Hollywood's starmaking menu in 2004 when she was a finalist on "American Idol," and further when she won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 2006 musical "Dreamgirls." But in an industry obsessed with skinny women, Hudson has been challenged by her big size.
In April, Hudson announced she would become the new spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. It was about seven months after the birth of her son, David Jr., and at that time she had already lost some weight. By August, she told InStyle Makeover magazine she'd dropped to a size 6 from a size 16.
The company's marketing chief, Cheryl Callan, called Hudson a great spokeswoman because people identify with her as a real woman who struggles with weight and eating issues, yet has found success in Hollywood.
Hudson blogs about her diet on Weight Watchers' website, and she said that building a network of friends and a community of followers among the diet community gives her as much pleasure as losing weight has.
"That goes back to why I did the song," Hudson said. "I know so many people out there who are on the same path. Anything I can do to help them along, that motivates me, and inspires me."
Yet, Hudson said she is still grappling with knowing herself in her thinner frame. She said she still feels like the same woman, but is aware that people now view her differently.
"It's almost like there is a new person, but there is still the question of how do I want to represent myself, how do I want to be perceived," she said.
She knows one thing, however, she is sticking to Weight Watchers in the new year. She has embraced its new PointsPlus program, which does away with calorie counting and assigns points to foods based on their overall nutritional value.
The new program favors foods that more easily convert to energy that is used, create a sense of satisfaction and encourage the consumption of natural foods versus those with added sugar and fat.
"It's one thing to lose weight," said Hudson, "but it's another thing to eat healthy."
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Dean Goodman