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Mary J. Blige on the December cover of Shape. The singer told the magazine she hasn’t had a drink in more than a year.
Mary J. Blige wants no more drama in her life.
The 42-year-old singer appears on the December cover of Shape magazine showing off her toned abs and healthy physique and revealed the path she took to fitness, which includes a strict no-alcohol rule.
“I haven’t had a drink in a year and three months,” she said proudly. “I had quit for a long time but started again about five years ago. I’m off it completely once more, and now I feel stronger than ever!”
One unfortunate incident that weakened her momentarily, which she later used as a source of inspiration, was the death of another R&B queen, Whitney Houston.
“Whitney Houston’s death really crushed me,” she confessed. “I saw someone so incredibly talented just diminish, and I refuse to go out like that.”
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‘Whitney Houston’s death really crushed me,’ said Blige, who then turned it into inspiration to stay healthy. The divas perform ‘Ain’t No Way’ at Divas Live in 1999.
Another thing the “I’m Goin’ Down” singer won’t allow herself to do is give in to the challenges age puts on trying to stay in shape.
“As you age, your body really wants to hold on to extra weight,” she said after seeing the pounds return despite previously meeting her fitness goals.
“Once I reached that goal, I wanted to be fit forever,” she continued. “Unfortunately, as I got older, I found it was harder to maintain.”
Blige recruited JR Allen, a New York-based physical trainer and, with hard work, got back on track.
Blige, who says age changed her body, realizes it’s important to exercise and eat better to overcome its effects.
“He really pushed me to lift that weight one more time or run that extra mile,” she recalled. “The treadmill is fine, but running outdoors gives me the best results.”
She now incorporates something in her exercise regime she could never do before: swimming.
“I never swam as a kid, and that always bothered me,” Blige told the mag. “At first, it was very hard, but once I got in the water and figured out how to breathe, it was so liberating.”
But the Grammy Award-winning songstress doesn’t only incorporate fitness into her life because it keeps her weight in check — it also keeps her emotions balanced.
“I hate being out of shape! But I don’t exercise just to lose weight,” she said. “It makes me feel better when I get that run in. I could be in the worst mood, but when I do my cardio I feel much, much better.”
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The R&B icon attributes her growth to ‘praying, meditating and being honest with’ herself.
Just as she made some changes in life regarding exercise, Blige also noticed she had to change the way she ate.
“I just can’t eat the way I used to,” she admitted.
Still, her diet includes some pretty yummy dishes, like oatmeal or egg white omelets with spinach for breakfast and a grilled chicken salad for lunch. Blige also enjoys fish and steamed vegetables for dinner and makes it her business to consume about half a gallon of water per day.
However, she makes an exception during the holidays.
Blige, in a 2001 photo, struggled with alcohol and drug addiction earlier in her career. ‘At the end of the day, if it’s not healthy — or if it’s killing you — you need to see the truth and stop,’ she said.
“I eat whatever I want this time of year, but I never overindulge,” she explained. “I do try to make healthy choices when I can, like collard greens and salads instead of stuffing. Or I skip carbs at dinner but allow myself a piece of cake for dessert.”
Life wasn’t always a piece of cake for Blige, who struggled with self-esteem issues and substance abuse early on in life and into the beginning of her singing career in the ’90s.
“I used to think I was ugly,” she said in a previous radio interview. “But that is the result of self-hate.”
“I beat alcohol dependence and drug addiction,” she added during the radio broadcast. “I started at 16 years old. By the time I got into the music business, it was bigger than me.”
But she’s found that her confidence and love of life are bigger than anything trying to drag her down. Now, Blige glows with beauty, is sure about the path she’s on and is determined to stick with it into her future.
“Praying, meditating, and being honest with myself. It’s not easy, but at the end of the day, if it’s not healthy — or if it’s killing you — you need to see the truth and stop,” she told Shape. “Others may be able to drink and have a great time, but it doesn’t work for me at this point.”