* Feature image contains shots from the Women’s Health May/June 2022 issue.
It’s no secret that Hollywood beauty standards make a living hell out of many female celebrities’ lives. They’re either too big or too thin, too tall or too short, they always need a different hairdo, their makeup isn’t done correctly… the list goes on.
In Hilary Duff’s case, the paparazzi seemed to be particularly interested in her body weight. She also had her share of negative comments regarding her fashion, but unlike a body, an outfit can easily be changed.
The 34-year-old actress, who is now perfectly happy with her appearance, recently opened up about her past body image issues, celebrating her journey towards self-acceptance by posing nude for the May/June issue of Women’s Health. But the road towards confidence was fraught with struggles, and she didn’t get there easily.
Hilary Duff’s Past Body Image Issues, Explained
It wasn’t easy for Duff to grow up in the spotlight. The pressure she was exposed to from a young age eventually took a toll on her body image. While some fans and onlookers may have thought the star had it all, Hilary was struggling to fit into the image of the typical Hollywood “It girl.”
The Lizzie McGuire star admitted she was obsessed with everything she used to eat. On top of the fact that she was being called “too skinny,” she also wasn’t feeling well. Because she didn’t get proper nutrition, her hands used to cramp — just one of many reasons she was unhappy.
Since everyone was pressuring her to lose weight at only 17, Hilary developed a year-long eating disorder, and “it was horrifying”.
It is estimated that in the United States alone, 20 million women have or had an eating disorder at some point in their lives. It becomes even more concerning that many of these women are adolescents who would do anything to look a certain way. Hilary was one of those teens, but thankfully, she managed to overcome her eating disorder.
I don’t know what exactly made me get on that kick, but at the time I was starting to become aware of what people said about me and how I looked in pictures, I literally ate nothing but steamed vegetables and broiled or grilled chicken.
After being body shamed by a number of tabloids, Hilary decided to address the issue and described it as a toxic part of our culture. Women’s bodies are not entitled property, but sadly they are treated as such. It seems like a woman’s ownership of her body extends only so far as its worth to public opinion.
However, the most important part in all of this is that the actress learned her lesson. While she admits she’s still struggling with a few extra pounds, she is no longer obsessed with her weight. She follows healthy diets and trains because she finally understood that being healthy is so much more important than maintaining a specific image.
“I’m proud of my body,” Hilary Duff told Women’s Health in the issue. “I’m proud that it’s produced three children for me. I’ve gotten to a place of being peaceful with the changes my body has gone through.”
What Helped Hilary Duff Overcome Unhealthy Body Image Issues?
Duff, who now has three children –- Luca, Banks and Mae –- said motherhood has played a major role in changing the way she looked at her body. She started to fully accept herself after she had her second child.
I didn’t even know if I was going to have the opportunity to have another child [after the divorce]. So, being a mom again, maybe. It was a whole mix of things – of being settled and realizing that I’m powerful and talented and smart. All mental things.
Hilary Duff to Women’s Health
In 2017, Duff posted a picture on social media with an inspiring caption “on behalf of young girls, women, and mothers of all ages.” The photo was taken on a beach while she was holding her son and Hilary couldn’t have looked more beautiful and natural.
The caption contains a message that encourages women all around the world to be proud of what they have and to stop wishing they were different or unflawed. She also saved up a few words to put some body shamers to shame.
Her goal is now to be a healthy woman, rather than a skinny one. Another important aspect that she now focuses on is taking care of her mind. Ever since she realized that most of her body image issues were due to an unhealthy mindset, Duff started taking therapy sessions very seriously.
“I really try to treat my body well. And My mind,” she said to Women’s Health. “[I] try to have a healthy outlook on [the public scrutiny], 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.”
Why Hilary Duff’s Nude Cover Shoot Celebrates Her Journey
Hilary Duff is the cover star for Women’s Health May/June 2022 issue. Not that she didn’t appear on the cover of many other magazines during her career, but this year she decided to do something different. To celebrate the acceptance of her body, Duff agreed to do an incredible nude photoshoot.
In the months prior to the photoshoot, she got into a pretty strict workout routine. She exercised four days a week alongside her personal trainer; on the other days, she went hiking and played tennis. She deliberately took the decision to make this effort for the cover, and the results are simply stunning.
Hilary admits she has now reduced the intensity of her workouts, but she enjoys her outdoor activities just the same.
What Hilary Duff’s Body Acceptance Teaches Us
Self-acceptance is sometimes a long journey with many ups and downs, and all the beauty standards out there don’t help anyone in the process. But first and foremost, we all have to draw a clear line between taking care of our bodies in healthy ways and taking drastic measures.
After all, what is the point in punishing our bodies while being miserable in the process? Do whatever makes you feel better about yourself, just make sure your decisions will not lead to unhealthy outcomes, be they physical or mental.
It’s incredibly inspiring to see a celebrity candidly speaking about her struggles with body image and finally being in a place where she’s actually proud of her appearance. At 34 years old, Hilary Duff looks and feels better than ever. Body shamers can sit in the back row because this woman is no longer interested in what they have to say. And neither are we.