Former American Idol winner Ruben Studdard may have dropped 70 pounds during his short tenure on NBC’s Biggest Loser, but the self-proclaimed Velvet Teddy Bear says he’s got much more to go.
Weeks into the show, Studdard was diagnosed with diabetes—shocking news that would push anyone to make health a priority. On top of his demanding workout routines, Studdard has been recording new music.
ESSENCE.com caught up with the singer to see how he’s going to keep his weight-loss goals after elimination and learn more about his upcoming album, Unconditional Love.
ESSENCE.com: What do you think is the reason why you fell a little short in your last weigh-in causing your elimination?
RUBEN STUDDARD: I think everybody’s body responds differently every week. The week prior I loss seven pounds. It’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that I’m not privy too that I can’t explain to you. But as for as that goes, I most definitely was sidelined by a knee injury that week. I had to workout around that. It just didn’t add up. I don’t know if it was muscle gain or whatever. There are’t any excuses. I loss two pounds. I was happy about those two pounds, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep me on the ranch.
ESSENCE.com: How will you continue you’re transformation without the coaches?
STUDDARD: I workout every single day. Ever since I left the ranch I’ve been continuing. I loss 70 pounds up until the point I left. Now I’m down 112 pounds. I still have a lot more to go. I’m going to get up every day, work hard, try to eat the right things and live a healthier lifestyle.
ESSENCE.com: What do you want your final outcome to be—number wise?
STUDDARD: I do have a weight-loss goal that I haven’t really shared with anybody, I’m trying to keep that to myself. What I want to do is figure out what my physical best is. I’ve never seen that. I’ve been a big guy since I was 11 years old. I’ve never seen what being completely physically fit means for me. That is my goal for my birth day (September 12th). I’ve got to do it bit by bit. You can’t tear down the Great Wall of China in a day. You’ve got to do it over a period of time.
ESSENCE.com: There was a little bit of controversy when it came to your first elimination and eventual return. (Jillian Michaels gave her team caffeine pills. The weigh-in results were then deemed unfair, allowing Studdard to return.)
STUDDARD: I was there. The results show and weigh-ins are a lot longer than you guys get to see. They can only show you a fragment of an eight-hour weigh-in. It’s a lot that is said that can’t be shown. But I was really pleased with how far I had come. After I saw that I loss two pounds, I just said it is what it is. There really was no personal reaction. I really hated that my roommate and friend, Craig Arrington, was eliminated the week that I returned. I was happy that I got an opportunity to come back. Jillian is her own person. No one controls what anybody does. She stood behind it with her professional opinion. It has nothing to do with Ruben.
ESSENCE.com: Getting rid of weight is a tough challenge both physically and mentally. Speak to that experience.
STUDDARD: It’s most definitely challenging. Food is every where. It will never go away, you need it to live. It’s not something you can stop having. The thing that we have to do is always try our 100% best to make the healthy choices. It becomes easier the more you do it.
ESSENCE.com: Tell us about your new single, “Meant to Be,” from your upcoming album, Unconditional Love, out in February 4th.
STUDDARD: I only got a day to do that. We wrote that song and recorded it. That song speaks to where we all are. Everybody has a place where they are meant to be. That is something where hard work and dedication will get you to. That song really speaks to that and speaks to learning to love yourself fully.