Jennifer Hudson: "I Didn't Know I Was Plus-Sized Until I Came to Hollywood"

The Oscar winner, who lost 18 pounds, says she thought being a size 16 was normal before being on American Idol

Jennifer Hudson says she never had an issue with her body until she became a finalist on American Idol in 2004.  Before that, the 29-year-old says, she never once thought about her weight.

"I didn't even know I was considered plus-sized until I came to Hollywood," she reveals in the September issue of Self magazine. "I thought I was the perfect size!"

At a size 16, Hudson says she quickly realized that most of her competitors were significantly smaller. When one member of the media referred to Hudson as "plus-sized" during an interview, the singer was shocked. "I looked around, like, 'Who is she talking to? Oh, me? I'm plus-sized?'" Hudson says. "In the neighborhood I'm from in Chicago, a 16 is normal. But in Hollywood, everyone looks exactly the same, so I stood out."

Hudson didn't win the title of American Idol, but she went on to win an Oscar for her portrayal of Effie in 2006's Dreamgirls. In 2008, she got engaged to David Otunga, and the next year, she became a mom to son David Jr.

But her biggest transformation was yet to come, as Hudson became the spokesperson for Weight Watchers and went on to lose 80 pounds.

"I'm prouder of my weight loss than my Oscar!" Hudson admits.

But her slim-down didn't come with dieting alone. The actress-singer became an exercise enthusiast and slowly began finding ways to get strong, inside and out.

"Four days after my cesarean section, I began walking 30 minutes every day. It was my therapy, my moment to myself, and it was all I could do. I figured, me walking is better than me sitting on the couch," she says. "Even if I can't climb a mountain or do 100,000 push-ups, these steps matter, and they're leading somewhere."

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