"[I wanted] to fit into this ‘image’ of a girl who is not me."
Hilary Duff is speaking out about her body image struggles.
In a new interview with Byrdie, the 30-year-old actress opens up about her fitness and wellness routine, growing up in the spotlight and her second pregnancy -- she's expecting a baby with boyfriend Matthew Koma and already has a son, 6-year-old Luca, with ex-husband Mike Comrie.
“I struggled a little bit when I was 18 or 19 with food. And wanting to fit into this ‘image’ of a girl who is not me. But that was such a long time ago," Duff, who previously revealed that she weighed 98 pounds when she was 17, says. "Honestly, I feel like I’m in the same 5 to 10 pound struggle as most other women out there. Sometimes I’m crushing it and feeling great, and other times I’m like, ugh. I love to cook and, honestly, being a mom and being consistently busy helps keep my priorities straight.”
Now that she's firmly out of her teens, the soon-to-be mom of two is more focused on being healthy than being thin.
“I work out a lot. Obviously, I want to be fit, but I’m 5’2’’ and I’m definitely not a ‘skinny girl.’ I’m a healthy girl," she says. "I always feel really empowered by what my body can do—having babies, getting pregnant, or swinging Luca around. He’s like 45 pounds, and I’m dangling him by his ankles and chasing him all around. So I’m so grateful that I’m strong and my body’s there for me."
Duff continues: "And obviously I want to be in shape, but I think working out is more of a mental health thing for me. Just to be outside—I hike a lot; I swim a lot. And then training, doing weights and feeling strong, getting those endorphins pumping through your body is really important for your happiness."
In addition to eating well and working out, Duff strives to have a healthy outlook on herself and her life -- despite any public scrutiny. Last year when body shamers criticized the actress for her beach body, she took to Instagram to shut them down. "My body has given me the greatest gift of my life: Luca, 5 years ago. I'm turning 30 in September and my body is healthy and gets me where I need to go," she wrote at the time. "Ladies, let's be proud of what we've got and stop wasting precious time in the day wishing we were different, better, and unflawed."
"I really try to treat my body well. And my mind. And try to have a healthy outlook on [the public scrutiny]," the former Lizzie McGuire star tells Byrdie. "I’m the only one that can control my relationship with myself, and I want to constantly be in control of it, you know? Whatever ‘it’ is."
Thanks to a more mellow outlook and a jam-packed schedule -- including shooting her hit show, Younger -- Duff has been less anxious during her second pregnancy.
“I’m so excited, and it’s great, but I feel like I lived on Google the first time around. Every day I was on a new mission to figure out something—why this or that was happening," she recalls. "With this pregnancy, if I have an ache or a pain, I just think, Well, I’m pregnant. Not like, What is the cause of that? At what stage does this start to happen? You know? At the end of the day, I’m tired and I don't have time for all that. I'm a lot more relaxed—minus my work schedule. I kind of know what’s going on, and I’m not as worried."
Despite her growing family and busy schedule, Duff still wants to try new things when it comes to her career too.
“I would love to produce and maybe direct. It’s just a timing thing. It’s hard to make it all happen. The second I’m done with four months of shooting [my show], I feel like I really just need to be a mom for Luca. I have so many other aspirations and dreams," she reveals. "Reese Witherspoon is such an inspiration, to see what she’s done with [her production company] and Big Little Lies... I’m so impressed by her. I think that’s something I’d love to see myself doing in the future.”
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