It’s been 10 years since Carrie Underwood won American Idol — and the singer admits that back then, she wasn’t always happy with how she looked. “I knew that I weighed more than I had ever weighed before,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.
Underwood, 32, admits that she turned to weight-loss supplements to slim down. “I was taking things with ephedra in it,” she says. “It wasn’t the best way. If I could go back and talk to myself I’d be like, ‘Here’s how you do it the right way.’ ”
Carrie Underwood knows she didn’t always have this gorgeous body. She felt overweight after winning American Idol in 2005, and she admittedly shed the pounds in an unhealthy way. Asked if she ever had a problem, she answers, “No, because none of it was intentional, you know? I wasn’t eating enough calories, but it wasn’t because I was trying to starve myself. I just didn’t know how many calories I should be eating.”
Underwood also had no idea how to properly diet or exercise. “I wasn’t eating enough calories, but it wasn’t because I was trying to starve myself,” she added. “I just didn’t know how many calories I should be eating. “I’d do 20 minutes on the elliptical and think I was doing awesome.”
But photos reveal how much weight Carrie Underwood has lost since then. She now makes sure to exercise daily. Even when she was pregnant with son Isaiah Fisher last year, she made sure to stay in shape. And her workouts intensified after she gave birth in February. Her favorite physical activity? Tabata!
“It’s hard, but it really works,” Underwood told Shape this month. “I choose seven different exercises, like squats, lunges, or push-ups, and do eight rounds of each—20 seconds on, 20 seconds off for eight rounds. It really revs up my metabolism.”
Carrie Underwood also now maintains a more balanced diet. She has been vegan for 20 years but recently discovered that a secret to her weight loss is limiting how much bread she eats.
Today the strict vegan, who hasn’t eaten meat in more than 20 years and works out daily (and looks stylish while doing it thanks to her activewear line Calia by Carrie Underwood), says she takes a healthier approach to her weight.
“I’m vegan and I love bread, but recently, I started making dinner a breadless meal,” she continued. “I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and I’ll make a sandwich on Ezekiel bread for lunch, but in the evening I’ll have protein and vegetables and no bread. When I wake up, my belly is flat!”
It was this combination of diet and exercise that helped Carrie Underwood lose her baby weight. While she may not be as thin as she was in some of her older photos, she loves her new toned look!