Life for Fantasia ain't been no crystal stair. The American Idol winner has endured her fair share of ups and downs, but these days, Fanny is laser-focused on looking forward and not back.

During a visit to the ESSENCE office, it was easy to see that Fantasia is not only feeling better, but girlfriend is looking hotter than ever. She's 50 pounds lighter, but just by being in her presence, you can tell that her spirit feels lighter, too.

"Working out started as something mental. It was a way to release and let some things go," reveals Fantasia.

Fantasia started to pack on the pounds in 2011 when she was cast to play the lead role in the Mahalia Jackson biopic. The project later folded, but the same year, Fantasia discovered she was expecting her son, Dallas Xavier.

In order to get her pre-baby body back, Fantasia and her trainer Sonya McRoberts devised a no-nonsense workout plan that Fantasia sticks to at home and on the road. "I workout every day, sometimes twice a day," says Fantasia. "I keep my trainer with me and she travels with me. I love Pilates, yoga, and spinning. I also attend bootcamp class and they have become my workout family. Doing it with them makes me feel good."

In addition to breaking a sweat, Fanny is also committed to rethinking her food choices.

"The fried chicken, the collard greens with the fatback, it's good when we eat them, but all of that stuff that we put into our bodies eventually breaks our bodies down. Sonya helped me come up with ways that you can still eat good, but it's healthy," says Fantasia.

Becoming a fitness junkie did not come naturally for Fantasia, but she made the commitment to get in shape to set an example for her family and fans.

"A lot of my cousins who are my age or are in their 30's are on high blood pressure pills and it's like, c'mon, you're too young for that," says Fantasia. "I wanted to be the person in my family to stand up and say, okay we have to eat better and workout. I want to be around for a long time. I can't travel like I do and not be healthy. You know how I move on stage. At any minute I could just pass out and that's not good."


Now that she's slim and trim, Fantasia says she's sticking to her new lifestyle and loving every minute of it.

"I'm on that health kick right now. This is something I had to do for myself and for my family. I just feel confident. If no one ever says it, I can look in the mirror and say to myself, 'Good God almighty, you're a bad mama-jamma!'"