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India.Arie Talks Weight Gain, and Changing Her Life to Lose It

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Soon after photos of a heftier India. Arie in baggy clothing surfaced in late 2010, the Internet lit up with questions about whether the neo-soul singer was expecting. Not at all. It turns out she just gained a few extra pounds.

The songstress, who is currently working on her fifth album tentatively called "Open Door," is a little shy about sharing the exact amount of weight she gained but says the past two years have been spent dropping the extra pounds.

PHOTOS: 25 Best Celebrity Weight-Loss Stories

“It was challenging getting myself into the mind set to lose the weight," she tells ESSENCE.com. "Once I got there the weight dropped off quickly."

Arie says she experienced an emotional tailspin four years ago resulting from a “confluence of negative experiences" that left her questioning everything her life was built on. Her response? Developing bad eating habits. A self-described foodie, she says she’d always relied on her natural athletic build and genetics to get by. "I could eat anything and I was fine,” she says. But that wouldn't be the case when she was stressed.

PHOTOS: Celebrity Tips on Staying Healthy in 2012

Now back to a healthy weight, Arie says she made a decision to do better by herself, physically and spiritually. Along with exercise, she also switched her diet. “Our food choices show up on our body. [We have to] know that are no short cuts to looking and feeling our best,” she says. “I am still learning about this but it shows up on my skin when I am off-balance...and I feel more tired, too."

Arie's advice for anyone looking to start changing their life and eating habits? As fellow songstress Jill Scott sung, “Just breathe.”

“You would be surprised how much it helps all of your body systems and more surprised by how we, in general, don’t make the most of the power of our breath."

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