Hilary Duff says she shifted her focus from solely trying to look good on camera to trying to feel good—and that’s made all the difference in the world. She dished details about her mentality switch, and what that looked like in the gym and on set, for the January issue of Women’s Health Australia.
“Our January cover star is @hilaryduff ✨✨✨ ,” the magazine captioned a post announcing the cover on Instagram. “After spending years trying to live up to Hollywood’s standards of the perfect body, and even battling a year-long eating disorder when she was 17, Hilary decided to shift her focus to getting strong. ‘I’m appreciating my health, doing activities that make me feel strong instead of just bettering the outside of my body,’ she tells us in the cover story.”
Duff's first film appearance was as a young witch in 1998’s Casper Meets Wendy. Three years later, she landed the leading role on Disney Channel's hit series Lizzie McGuire and her career immediately took off. She was just 13 when the show premiered and 15 when the Lizzie McGuire Movie came out in 2003.
Like many female child actors, Duff struggled with body image issues and was constantly comparing herself to the other girls she worked with or saw on TV.
“Because of my career path, I can’t help but be like, ‘I am on camera and actresses are skinny,’” the Cadet Kelly star explained. “It was horrifying.”
With the help of her personal trainer, Dominic Leeder, she has been able to reach a stable and happy place—where she can look good, feel good and sustain her routine.
“[I’m] appreciating my health, doing activities that make me feel strong instead of just bettering the outside of my body,” the How I Met Your Father actress continued. “Spending time with people that make me feel good and share similar views on health and body positivity and getting enough sleep and balance in my diet.”
Duff, 34, is a mother to three kids. Her life—and the entertainment industry—looks very different now than it did in her teens when she was starring in back-to-back-to-back roles, including A Cinderella Story, Cheaper by the Dozen, Material Girls, Agent Cody Banks, The Perfect Man and more.
“Young people weren’t taken seriously,” Duff recalled to Bustle about Hollywood in the 2000s. “Now it’s like, if you’re not 19, there is no way you’re going to break. If you’re 30, you’re too old. And it’s amazing and I’m so happy for them. But when I was coming up, I was really trying to break the mold. It was a really challenging time.”
Her oldest son, Luca, is from her previous marriage to former pro hockey player Mike Comrie, and she shares two daughters, Banks and Mae, with her now-husband, musician and producer Matthew Koma.
“I’m proud of my body. I’m proud that it’s produced three children,” she said. “I’ve gotten to a place of being peaceful with the changes my body has gone through.”