The actress and mom said she took a different approach to weight loss after giving birth to 14-month-old Rani Rose
Kate Hudson Instagram
Credit: Kate Hudson/Instagram

Kate Hudson says it took a “bit longer” to lose weight after giving birth to her third child, daughter Rani Rose, in Oct. 2018 — but she was “smarter” about it this time around.

The actress, 40, says she dropped the postpartum weight in about 6 months after giving birth to her second son Bing in July 2011, but “not this pregnancy.”

“This one took a little bit longer,” Hudson tells PEOPLE at an event for her Happy x Nature Eco-Evening Collection in Los Angeles on Thursday. “It was like 12 months, but I did it differently.”

Hudson is an ambassador for WW, formerly Weight Watchers, and says that the science behind the program helped her lose weight in a more sustainable way.

“It was a smarter way to take weight off, because it stays off,” she says. “I think the wonderful thing about what that is, is you can eat what you want, you just have to be conscious. It teaches you about food.”

Kate Hudson Instagram
Kate Hudson and daughter Rani
| Credit: Kate Hudson/Instagram

Hudson says that the program's approach to food — that nothing is off-limits, it just has to be in moderation — is in line with how her parents, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, raised her.

“I really understand food,” she says. “I understand what I'm putting in my body, I grew up like that. My parents are who taught me about that. But there's a lot of people out there who don't have that relationship to food.”

Hudson joined forces with WW in Dec. 2018 and talked to PEOPLE at the time about feeling ready to get back in the gym after Rani's arrival.

“I enjoy being disciplined. I enjoy being athletic, and I enjoy being active. So for me it's actually kind of a fun time to challenge my body again in certain ways,” she said. “After pregnancy, getting your body back into shape for me — especially in fitness — finding my stomach muscles again and pushing myself a little bit harder sometimes are things that I enjoy.”

The mom of three added that her workout time is how she improves her “personal health” in her postpartum months.

“It's hard when you have babies,” she said. “Everyone comes before you, and you have to find that time to just focus in on yourself.”