Hilary Duff Struggled with Food in Her Teens from Wanting to Fit a Certain ‘Image’

Hilary Duff
Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images.

At 18 years old, Hilary Duff was one of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses. She recently finished her run on Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire. She was starring in movies like A Cinderella Story and Cheaper by the Dozen. And her music career was blooming. But behind the scenes, Duff was struggling with food and body image.

In an interview with Byrdie, the 30-year-old actress opened up about her serious food struggles as a teen and how she learned to exercise and eat for her health, instead of her size. “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,” Duff said. “But that was such a long time ago. Honestly, I feel like I’m in the same five- 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.'”

For Duff, body confidence came after she gave birth to her son, Luca, in 2012, which is when she learned to be empowered by what her body can do instead of taking it for granted.  “I’m 5’2’’ and I’m definitely not a ‘skinny girl.’ I’m a healthy girl,” Duff said. “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.”

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Though Duff isn’t completely immune to body-image pressures, she has become more self-aware of when her insecurities are healthy and normal and when they’re damaging to her health.

“Image is something we’re all very aware of because it’s constantly being talked about, which is a little bit disappointing, and then also helps you be very in tune with yourself—your behavior, your body, and your happiness,” Duff said. “All of those things that fold into the same package. I really feel like I have a healthy relationship with myself, where I know when I’m being ‘bad’ or I know when I’m being really ‘good’ health-wise, and both are necessary for me as part of my lifestyle and happiness, to have balance.

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Whether you’re in the spotlight or not, body insecurities affect everyone. We’re glad to see that Duff has come out of her eating struggles and learned to embrace her body for what it is. Hear hear, Hilary.