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Fit and Fab: 27 Best Celebrity Weight-Loss Stories

From Shonda Rhimes and Jennifer Hudson to Chaka Kahn, these stars whittled down their weight to begin healthy new lives.

Gabourey Sidibe
By Yolanda Sangweni · September 30, 2013

We were first introduced to creator and executive producer of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice and How to Get Away with Murder, Shonda Rhimes as a heavier-set woman with tons of talent and excellent shows to keep us entertained. 

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In a recent interview with ExtraRhimes spilled the tea about the inspiration behind her 117-pound weight loss. "I just decided I was gonna get it together and get healthy; I have some little kids and I want to be around for them," she said. The television producer even admitted that it wasn't all fun and games. "I changed everything I ate — and I hated all of that — and then I hate exercising and I did that, too, and I hated it the whole time.”

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Janet gained nearly 60 pounds for a role in a movie by Precious director, Lee Daniels. Unfortunately the movie never materialized and the press had a field day on Janet’s weight.

Janet gained nearly 60 pounds for a role in a movie by Precious director, Lee Daniels. Unfortunately the movie never materialized and the press had a field day on Janet’s weight.

She soon got back in the gym and got back to form in just four months. “If you crave something, you should have a little bit of it, then let it go and move on,” she told Us Weekly. “Do a little exercise so you’re back on track. It’s about control and it’s a balanced diet.”

Despite her size, legendary singer Chaka Khan has always been a proud curvy woman.

The 59-year-old singer recently surprised everyone with her reported 60-pound weight loss; the result of a healthier lifestyle she’s adopted since she was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure.

Like many expectant moms Mariah Carey put on the pounds during her pregnancy. “I learned a lot being pregnant, watching my body change,” Carey recently told Rosie O’Donnel.

Now a spokesperson for Jenny Craig diet plans, Mariah says she has lost 70 pounds after giving birth to her 6-month-old twins, Moroccan and Monroe.

Despite all that J-Hud has gone through in the past two years, she has kept her goal of maintaining a healthy size and has lost 80 pounds.

“Now people come up to me saying, ‘You’ve inspired me,’ and I’m like, Wow," she told ESSENCE.

At one point Jill Scott says she was so out of shape, she’d walk up nine steps and be out of breath. She decided to make a change after giving birth to her son, Jett Hamilton in 2009.

Now 63 pounds lighter, the singers says she’s never been happier. She attributes her weight-loss to a new lifestyle consisting healthy eating and 60 minutes of exercise three times a week.

Raven Symoné was once proud to call herself “thick and fabulous."

Now 35 pounds lighter, Raven credits her weight-loss to healthy eating and exercise.

The fab mom of three is pictured at an event in 2005.

Now visibly slimmer, Garcelle credits her weight to healthy living, and lots of exercise. What helps her keep the pounds off? Running after her 3-year-old sons, Jax and Jaid.

Though she’s lost a great deal of weight, Sparks says she has no intention to get model thin. “I love food and I love my curves,” she said in 2009.

Once comfy in her size 14 body, Jordin Sparks says wanted to get to a healthier place.

The singer recently dropped 30 pounds, to a rumored size 6. Though she’s lost a great deal of weight, Sparks says she has no intention to get model thin. “I definitely didn’t want to lose my curves,” she recently told PEOPLE.

At her heaviest the Queen of Soul once weighed over 250 pounds. “I’ve been looking at a lot of pictures, and I was saying [to myself], ‘You were entirely too fat for words,’” she told Wendy Williams.

“I couldn’t be feeling any better than I’m feeling right now,” says Franklin of her 85-pound weight-loss.

Studdard put on nearly 100 pounds after winning “American Idol” back in 2003, which tipped him over the 450-pound mark. “One day I was like, ‘Man, I want to be a different person,’” the singer told Wendy Williams.

“I thought I might be able to stay around a little longer if I start making healthier choices,” told ESSENCE.com of his weight-loss.

The curvier Kimora was still a red carpet diva.

The mom of three recently revealed that she’d lost 25 pounds, thanks to healthy eating and exercise. “Yes, I’m a bit smaller, but still curvy and 100 per cent healthy and proud of my body,” she said.

The “American Idol” judge once peaked at 350 pounds.

Randy says a history of diabetes was one of the catalysts for his 100-pound weight-loss. “It’s all about being aware of who you are, knowing your body, and accepting that,” he told WebMD.

Kim Cole says she’s tried almost every diet pill and and yo-yo diet out there. Nothing ever worked.

The bubbly comedienne lost 24 pounds on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club” and has since shed even more thanks to teaming up with nutritionist Robert Ferguson on his “Fat Loss System,” which advocates eating the foods you love—to a minimum—while losing weight.

Once tipping over the 300-pound mark, rapper Paul Wall changed his life after his doctor told him he was “morbidly obese.”

Wall, who says he’s always struggled with his weight, decided to get a gastric sleeve surgery, and is now 100 pounds lighter.

The “American Idol” alum was once a proud size 14.

Now 40 pounds lighter, Kimberly says her lifestyle transformation was her best secret to keeping the weight off. She does it by eating lots of vegetables and a healthy diet.

At his heaviest this music industry vet weighed over 300 pounds.

Though Liles never speaks of his slimmer figure, it’s evident he is loving his new size.

The R&B singer knew it was time to change her life once she was declared morbidly obese.

Price says he days of yo-yo diets are behind her. “In a size 16, with all these hips, and all this wonderfulness, I am happy with the skin God has put me in,” she adds.

The hip hop beat maker once ballooned to 270 pounds.

Trimmer and certainly more toned, Dre says he’s never felt better. “I go to the gym two to two-and-a-half hours Monday through Friday… I feel like I can kick a brick wall down now,” he told XXL.

Marsha Ambrosius shows off her full figure during her Floetry days.

After losing nearly 70 pounds, Marsha says it was her grandmother’s death that pushed towards a healthy lifestyle. She credits the Weight Watched program with her weight loss.

Once tipping over 320 pounds, the NBC weatherman decided to change his life by getting gastric bypass surgery in 2002.

Now 100-pounds lighter, Al has maintained his weight by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

After becoming a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, Queen Latifah lost 20 pounds and has maintained her weight by hitting the gym at least five days a week.

She looks fabulous!

The former supermodel once told the world to kiss her “fat a**.”

Now back to being 30 pounds lighter after a weight loss challenge with friends, Tyra credits her new look to healthy eating and exercise.

“I do not believe in diets. I’ve been on diets in the past. They’re a bunch of bologna,” she declared on her talk show.

Angie has been on a health kick ever since dropping 18 pounds on season six of VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club” in 2006.

She looks great!

Mo’Nique, who once declared herself “fat and fabulous” says she decided to change her life after a conversation with her husband, Sidney Hicks.

“Sid and I had a conversation,” she told Jet Magazine. "What he said to me was motivation. It was so gentle and sweet and he wasn’t judgmental. He said,‘Baby, that’s too much and I want you for a lifetime.’

After declaring to lose weight publicly Sherri has shed 41 pounds, dropping 10 dress sizes.

Sherri worked hard to stay on course, even tweeting her cheat sessions.

Always a curvy girl, Toccara began to shed the pounds during her appearance on “Celebrity Fit Club.”

The model is now a healthy 25 pounds lighter and looks fabulous!

Sibide struggled to lose weight for nearly a decade before deciding to undergo weight-loss surgery. In her upcoming memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, she details her Type 2 diabetes diagnoses, her battle with depression and bulimia, and opens up about why she decided to undergo surgery.

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Since having the surgery, things have changed for Sibide. The actress shared, "It has taken me years to realize that what I was born with is all beautiful. I did not get this surgery to be beautiful. I did it so I can walk around comfortably in heels. I want to do a cartwheel. I want not to be in pain every time I walk up a flight of stairs."

Eric Ogden