updated 06/17/2008 AT 11:15 AM ET
•originally published 06/17/2008 AT 1:00 PM ET
After signing on to be a Jenny Craig spokeswoman in January, Queen Latifah has shed a few pounds and is continuing her mission of encouraging others to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The Mad Money star, 38, who is known for embracing her curves, said her weight-loss goal wasn’t “about getting skinny.”
“My intention was to lose five to 10 percent of my body weight because it makes a difference with health related issues, and I achieved that goal in a couple of months,” she told PEOPLE at the first annual National Awards & Recognition Luncheon for The League recently. “I’m excited about this weight loss.”
In addition to following the Jenny Craig program, the singer-actress hit the gym five to seven days a week, switching between the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour.
“My jeans are looser, I feel more energetic,” she said of shedding the weight. “People dig it. They come up to me and say ‘I’m glad you’re talking about the health side of it.’ People get that message, which is important too.”
Even though she’s slimmer, Latifah said her fans know she’s still one of them.
“They see that I’m doing this for the health reasons but also say, ‘She’s still representing for the big girls. She hasn’t abandoned us!’ ” Latifah said. “This is me doing something for me, but if I am going to be a role model I hope people can catch on.”
Giving Back to the Community
Queen Latifah isn’t just serving as a role model for healthy living, she’s also inspiring others to contribute to their communities by teaming up with The League, a youth service organization that empowers students to give back.
“I’ve been giving back since I was a teen, handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving and handing out toys at toys drives for Christmas. It’s very important to give back as a youth,” Latifah, who hosted the luncheon, said. “It’s as simple as helping an old lady across the street or giving up your seat on the bus for someone who is pregnant. Those things are about respecting other people and taking care of them even if you don’t know them.”