The Powerless actress shed the weight with a combination of a twice-a-day SoulCycle routine and a high-fat diet.


After gaining weight for her 2013 role in Gimme Shelter, Vanessa Hudgens shed 20 lbs. with the combination of a twice-a-day SoulCycle routine and a high-fat diet to avoid carbs.

Talking to PEOPLE Now‘s Andrea Boehlke and Jeremy Parsons on Wednesday morning, the actress says the transformation didn’t come overnight. “I’m a normal person; it takes a while. Twenty pounds is a lot, especially on me because I’m only 5’2″.”

As for her #1 diet tip? “You don’t really need to count calories as much as you think you do,” she says. “Think about eating things that are going to fuel you, give you sustainable energy. And don’t be afraid of fats. You can eat bacon; you can eat avocado. It’s good for you and it’s going to give you energy and keep you burning through the day.”

Another huge component of her fitness journey was a dedication to SoulCycle, which is a love that came about organically. “Part of the reason why I was going 2 times a day was because I’d just discovered what SoulCycle is,” says Hudgens. “I’m such a music junkie and I love dancing and I love getting into the zone, and that’s what you do at SoulCycle. So I was like ‘Oh my God, this is the best thing ever, I’m having so much fun, I want to do it again!'”

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Though she now has a starring role in NBC’s superhero comedy series Powerless, Hudgens claims that Hollywood pressure wasn’t a huge factor in her diet. “I didn’t feel like I had to get the weight off, but I knew that I would feel better and more comfortable in my own skin if I would be my normal weight,” she says. “It’s tough being that the camera really does add 10 lbs, but I think the most important thing is just feel comfortable in your own skin. If you feel good, that’s all that matters.”