Vanessa Hudgens: ‘You will always have the power to do something’ about your body


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Vanessa Hudgens is one of those former Disney actresses who just keeps trudging along. She never quite reached stratospheric fame like Ariana Grande, but she hung in there and kept working. She can sing, she can dance and she has moderate hustle. Vanessa is on the cover of Women’s Health, with an accompanying interview about her diet and fitness of course. Vanessa does intermittent fasting, which it seems like we’re hearing so much about lately. She’s also very into exercise, she does Soul Cycle, pilates and yoga, and uses her friends to keep her accountable.

On her body philosophy and experimenting with intermittent fasting:
“If I ever get to the point that I’m not happy with my body, I’ll do something about it. You will always have the power to do something. Sometimes it will take a little longer than you would like, and sometimes it may be a little more extreme. But if you honestly have a goal, you can do it. You just need to figure out the right way to get there.”

On finding confidence in her petite build:
“I see how women who are 5’9 walk into a room, and I am so attracted to the space they take up. But then I started to realize that you can take up space without height—with your achievements, points of view, and opinions. Now that I’ve realized I can work through it, I’m like, ‘How do I make myself feel more confident?’”

On using exercise to amp up her courage:
“Working out is like moving meditation. I feel you can work through things better in movement than being stagnant. You’re pushing through and surviving, and you know you will succeed and get through it no matter how uncomfortable it is.

“To be self-motivated consistently is almost a daydream. I reach out to friends to hold me accountable.”

On her new-found love with self-care:
“It feels like a form of self-love every time I put on some Billie Holiday, light a candle, and apply my face mask and my serums and use my lights.”

[From Women's Health]

I’m ok with her saying she always has the power to change her body, but it’s a bit myopic to say that “you will always have the power,” as if everyone has that option. Has she ever had health problems or gone on medication that makes you hungry all the time? In theory I agree that it’s what you put in your mouth and how much you move, but in reality a lot of people’s circumstances keep them from making these type of changes. Plus being fit and thin isn’t as much of a priority to everyone. She’s not shaming anyone and I hear what she’s saying, I just don’t think she framed it the right way. I do agree with her about exercise being awesome for your mind as well as your body, but again not everyone can do it and it’s not everyone’s thing. Whenever I’m tempted to proselytize about exercise I try to consider how much I hate crafting. Exercise is my thing but you couldn’t pay me to knit or do crafts. Some people spend all their free time doing that though and love it.

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photos credit: Dennis Leupold for Good Housekeeping received via promotional email

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89 Responses to “Vanessa Hudgens: ‘You will always have the power to do something’ about your body”

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  1. Annie. says:

    I adore Vanessa. She was my first “idol” as a teenager, and even though my fascination with her fade out quickly, I will always like her.
    I am really looking forward to seeing her Netflix movie. It looks like the kind of cheesy Christmas movie that I like to watch in December

    • Katie says:

      I’ve never paid much attention to her, but DAMN, pulling off sweats and a fleece jacket in a magazine photo shoot?

      • BrickyardUte says:

        Agreed. I really relate to her because I have been trying really hard to lose baby weight after #2. He is 3 now and I am a runner and despite running 3-5 miles a day, I just cannot get off 15-20lbs no matter how much I excercise. I started a food delivery plan (I hate to craft AND cook) and held to it for months and nothing on my scale moved and my clothes fit the same.
        I started Orangetheory last week and for the first time in 3 years I have some hope. It’s kicking my ample backside and waking up at 4:45 is the worst (but sadly the best time for me to go in 5am) but I am hopeful this will assist in moving me to my goals. And it makes me feel good afterward. I get pre-babies body is not in the cards, but I want to feel strong and confident. Best of luck to everyone here working towards their goals, whatever they are.

  2. Lex says:

    ‘You will always have the power to do something’ about your body’…….
    and in her case… change your face! Who dat in those pics???

  3. Rapunzel says:

    “You will always have the power to do something about your body”- says rich, young, healthy, single gal.

    Tone deaf AF . Many people simply don’t have the money to afford proper nutrition, the time to devote to exercise, or the genetics to modify their body at will.

    • Lis says:

      This.
      I met with my Dad’s palliative care team yesterday. He has Stage 4 cancer. What she said is an idiotic generalization made by a young, healthy woman who apparently didn’t think before she spoke … or is just immature and inexperienced in life.

      Next.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      This. Good luck with life cutie if this is what you think.
      6 mths in a body cast changed my opinion
      Cancer changed my opinion
      Autoimmune disease changed my opinion

      I’m lucky to be here and for that I give thanks.
      I no longer have the body I once did but life, mine especially, is about helping others and dealing with my own stuff

      Silly

  4. Alexandria says:

    I think that’s a weird statement. How about debilitating conditions like MS, dementia…

  5. skipper says:

    I think she was saying that you can do something about the weight or shape of your body if you are unhappy with it. She didn’t mention anything about having a disease or medications side effects. I don’t think that was the point. She did say, “Sometimes it will take a little longer than you would like, and sometimes it may be a little more extreme.”

    It sounds to me like she just wants women to not feel hopeless and that they do have the power to make themselves stronger and fitter. Imagine if she had to go through the list and resolution of every single cause of weight gain/loss/etc. The interview would never end. I picked up what she was putting down.

    • Esmom says:

      Me too. It is a pretty simple message, you can do nothing about your circumstances or you can try to change them. and sometimes you need to work kinda hard to do so. Of course there are a million factors that can complicate that but I’m not offended by what she said.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Except that some people literally cannot due to illness, disability, poverty, disease, etc. It is an incredibly myopic statement made by somebody from a position of immense privilege.

      The problem is conflating female self-confidence with physical appearance at all. Once we stop basing women’s worth on their bodies, it won’t matter what size you are.

      • skipper says:

        I understand what you’re saying but I don’t think she meant any harm in her statements. She was doing an interview about women’s health and she gave the best advice she had. There are tons of women out there that needed to hear what she said so at least she was able to inspire those that needed to hear it at this moment.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I don’t think she meant any harm, either. That’s the problem with creating a society that indoctrinates women to emphasize their looks over anything else in their life. I’m sure she had every intention of sounding empowering, but as somebody with a medical biology background, she’s speaking from a place of ignorance. There are myriad studies out there discussing how difficult weight loss is for the average person and more importantly, how unlikely *sustained* weight loss is. And realistically, these statements don’t make women feel better about themselves. We know that from numerous psychological studies that show weight loss culture has a remarkably damaging effect on women.

        I wish I could tell you, otherwise. I wish it really was that easy, since I am somebody who went from very fit to struggling to lose weight due to an endocrine disorder. But it’s not. It sucks. And spreading the gospel of self-empowerment is meaningless if it doesn’t include all aspects of a woman’s self rather than just her body. I can say this clearly as somebody who is well-educated on the subject and has the confidence of her thirties. But 22 year-old me didn’t know this, and it led to a borderline eating disorder. And I fear for lots of other young women out there who don’t know any better because, like Vanessa, they’ve been fed a story about self-worth and empowerment that revolves purely around their physicality.

      • lara says:

        I think the point that you can always do something is right.
        She does not say, that you can achieve her body, but that you can set goals (within you ability) and work towards these goals.
        As somebody with a chronic illness I have a real problem with people saying “I have xyz, I can not do anything”. I will most likely never be able to run a marathon again, but I can do as much as possible for my body within my abilities and it does make a huge difference. And most chronically ill or disabled people I know do a lot to take care about their bodies.
        It is not only part of taking care of your physical health but also important for your mental health to gain as much control by actively managing your health, from proper nutrition to the right amount of exercise to rest days during a flare.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I understand that. My sister is disabled and still does what she can to take care of herself. My point is not that people lack any agency whatsoever when it comes to their bodies, it’s the greater issue of how Vanessa’s words come across compounded with the ongoing message of media in general. Sure, it’s absolutely about mental health and personal empowerment, but if you’re showing up in a magazine that calls itself “Women’s Health,” which almost exclusively puts women who look like Vanessa on the cover, that’s a statement which undermines itself.

        The problem is not that physical activity cannot be empowering. It’s the continuous conflation of women’s worth with their physicality, which is linked to a predominating and very narrow image of beauty and health. So Vanessa isn’t telling us that you can achieve her specific body. But the tendency of magazines like “Women’s Health” to features bodies that only look like hers strongly suggests that you *should.*

  6. Carmen AIC says:

    Suure, Vanessa, tell that to all the poor girls who are poor AF and survive on cheap food and microwaveables.
    Not everyone has the money for that trendy yoga class or for a healthy diet.
    Tell that to all the women and girls who are mistreated and abused and overworked and for whom that piece of cake or chocolate at the end of the day is a lifeline.

    • Gigi La Moore says:

      You don’t need expensive good or classes to get fit if that is the goal and chocolate cake can actually fit into a healthy diet. I guess I am not reading her comments the same way you are.

      • Kitten says:

        I mean, it costs nothing to run or walk outside and you can grab a pair of running sneakers on sale for $20.

        Also, not every impoverished person is obese and it’s not always because they’re starving to death. It’s a bit of a stereotype to assume that a disabled person or every economically-struggling person is overweight. There are a lot of disabled athletes that work their asses off in the gym and plenty of poor people who make time for exercise. TBF, I think they might take offense to some of these comments.

        So while I agree that it never hurts to point out that not everybody has the resources, privilege, and health of a famous actress, I also don’t think she should have to issue ten caveats after that simple statement. She was clearly trying to empower people, not slag on those less fortunate.

      • meme says:

        omgggggggg $20 running shoes scare me

        I’ve been a runner for the past 15 years and the thought of $20 running shoes literally makes me cringe in pain

        Maybe because I have years of running injuries in the bank so I can’t get away with cheap running shoes.

        Invest in great running shoes and prolong the useful life of your legs, knees, joints, feet etc :-)

      • tealily says:

        @Kitten while that’s true, not everyone lives in a place where it is safe or feasible to run or walk, and $20 for running shoes is an insurmountable cost to some people (let alone the $100+ investment in “great” running shoes).

        I don’t think it’s out of line to point out that what comes easy to some doesn’t come easy to all. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but there are real barriers toward some people having the control over their own bodies she’s talking about, health-related and otherwise.

      • meme says:

        Yeah I feel ya Tealily, I have recently moved to Northern California and between the blistering summer heat and wildfire smoke (we are indoors all this week due to air quality from the Camp Fire) – it is not an option to run outside for weeks and weeks at a time.

        A more expensive shoe is not necessarily a safer shoe, but all-purpose athletic shoes are not built for the rigors and pounding of running. For me, I run in a pair of Asic Kayana’s ($200) dedicated to my running only – because their design helps me prevent injuries (I have a painful tendency towards shin splints and have endured one season of stress fractures that i never want to repeat!!!).

      • iabelle says:

        @meme I have some military friends and recently visited a Marine base. Some of the men were running with no shoes or those toe shoes. My friend told me in his unit they often train/run without any type of running shoe. As it can be better for stability, form and training. Expensive running shoes are nice if you can afford them but honestly not needed. Shoes are only needed to prevent injury in reality but if you know what you are doing in the first place, you could purchase less expensive shoes.

      • rickestrick says:

        Yep, right on Kitten and Gigi.

        It’s starting to sound around here like ONLY rich, young, healthy, privileged women can be physically fit?

        I’ll probably get shredded for this, but we all know there flat out is an obesity epidemic in North America (approx 35% of US population, 25% of Canadian), and I find it hard to believe that every single one of these people have these unsurmountable odds in thier life making it virtually impossible to try and lead a healthier lifestyle? Of course there are plenty of people who simply cannot due to injury or illness, medication side effects or limited resources, be as physically fit as they would like. But that many? Really?
        At some point it starts sounding like avoiding any personal responsibility.

      • tealily says:

        @rickestrick is anyone at all saying that? Vanessa’s the one making the sweeping generalization here, the people commenting are just pointing that out.

      • Genessee says:

        @rickestrick – I totally agree.

        But I’ll take it one step further…

        And as someone who did not grow up white, rich or privileged, I take offense that people assume that the only choices are either to be obese or thin because of malnutrition.

        Unless you are straight up dying or on doctor recommended bed rest from a prolonged illness, fitness is a choice. Don’t believe me? Watch the para-olympics and the invictus games.

        I’ve had my own major health problems after being physically active and fit for years, which has resulted in my physical fitness not being where it should be or was. But I know that I have the power to change things – maybe not overnight, maybe not drastically, and I might never get back to where I was, but I can do SOMETHING if I want to. It doesn’t have to be big and all at once. It can be done in small steps.

        And this applies to everyone including the MAJORITY of people who are obese and not physically fit. And that’s the problem. A lack of Desire. Want. Anything else is an excuse, because deep down inside, the person doesn’t WANT to change.

  7. Gigi La Moore says:

    I agree with her. She is not saying you have the power to look like her just that you have the power to do something about your body and again, I think she is right. What you do about your body is going to be different for different people. If you have a chronic condition, perhaps you rest your body more and just take care to eat things that don’t make your condition worse.

    I am 47 (soon) and between menopause and wearing my body out by running and boot camp workouts, I now stick with Pilates, Yoga and Kettlebells and workout 30 minutes max. I also no longer kill myself trying to maintain a certain size, so that is how I chose to use my power to do something about my body. That’s how I took her comment.

  8. Emily says:

    As a 90s kid, I can’t help but make this case: Not all child stars came out of Disney. Vanessa did but Ariana was Nickelodeon, as is Jaime Lynn Spears and Amanda Bynes.

  9. Beth says:

    I don’t think she’s talking about having the power to do something about having diseases, I think she meant weight. If she really thinks everyone is able to make their body the way they want it by dieting and exercising, she’s wrong. Medicines can cause noticeable and uncontrolable weight loss or weight gain, and disabled people can’t always jog over to Soul Cycle or yoga. Even healthy people have problems with weight no matter what they eat and how much they exercise. Do wealthy people like her realize not everyone can afford healthy, organic food and don’t have the time or money for Soul Cycle or pilates?

  10. Renee2 says:

    I think that her comment is a bit myopic as another poster stated but I also think that she is young and hasn’t gone through menopause or an illness/disability. That said however I am choosing to interpret her comment to mean that we often have more power than we think.

  11. Chingona says:

    Sure all of us can do better, but I hate when someone in a place of extreme privilege doesn’t acknowledge that they are able to do xyz because of the privileged life they lead. She looks great but she is able to look this way because of her wealth and I know people will defend her and say that she was only speaking about herself but if she doesn’t acknowledge that she is able to this because of her money/job than she is really causing a disservice to others who may be trying the best for themselves but will never look like her and feel guilty or worse because of it.

    • Gigi La Moore says:

      Why would any woman feel guilty for not looking like another woman? I think as women we need to stop looking outside ourselves. We need to just be the best versions of ourselves. So, no we don’t have the money, time or access to the things she has but we can all look pretty rocking at a size 4, 12, 18, 24, etc., by just making the most of what we have and who we are. She looks great but I look great too.

      • Chingona says:

        Yes, I completely agree that all women should love themselves and not want to look like celebs or others. This unfortunately is not the case for young girls or women with low self esteem. So I think that if someone says that anyone can do better without aknowleding that they are able to look the way they look because of their privilege than it does a disservice to those women and girls who are trying there hardest and still don’t look like her or how they wish to look.

      • Chingona says:

        Oh and I am not trying to bash. I actually like her and have watched many of her projects even that horrible James Franco movie. For context I volunteer with young girls and women who have horrible self worth getting out of domestic abuse. When I first started working with them I thought that by telling them what I was able to accomplish in my life it would help them. It didn’t because to them it was something they felt they could never get to and made them feel worse. So again not trying to bash her just aknowledge her privilege.

    • Gigi La Moore says:

      I’m sorry, I have to disagree. She is speaking from her own experience and it gets old that a person can’t give their view about their approach to their body, pregnancy, parenting, etc., without being accused of negatively affecting other women and girls. That’s a responsibility too great for anyone to bear. Now, if she was saying something nuts or advising women to starve themselves or exercise even if they were in pain, I might agree. If we continue to compare ourselves to the next woman, we will always feel less than. If anyone on here is the mother of a young girl, make sure you are having the conversations about self worth and being your own personal best. That’s all we can do.

    • rickestrick says:

      ” She looks great but she is able to look this way because of her wealth ”

      So only wealthy women can be fit and healthy? this sounds weird to me.

  12. Agenbiter says:

    Thankfully, I can’t see this kind of ladymag anymore without thinking of @manwhohasitall on Twitter. e.g.,

    “MEN! Accentuate parts of your body you like, e.g. nice ankles to draw attention away from problem areas, e.g. rest of body including face and head”

    “MEN! Is having it all REALLY possible? Kids, wife, work outside the home, simple midweek suppers, healthy snacks and a pH balanced penis?“

  13. BaronSamedi says:

    I don’t know… I feel like she worded things very clearly actually and anyone who twists this into a diss is LOOKING to misunderstand her.

    I don’t know why even this mild call for personal accountability is a reason to immediately get personally offended OR pull out all of the special circumstances it doesn’t apply to. She’s talking to a health and fitness magazine: Of course she’s not going to preface everything she says with a disclaimer about how this doesn’t apply to people with limitations be it health or otherwise.

    • Veronica S. says:

      I don’t really think Vanessa herself is the problem so much as the media culture around her, to be honest. Women’s Health magazine bangs on being about the best for women’s bodies, but when was the last time you saw a woman on their front cover that didn’t look like Vanessa? Who wasn’t a size four or smaller with airbrushed abs? I mean, I’m glad this was empowering for her – exercise certainly is for me, even as I struggle to lose the weight I gained from a destructive thyroid disorder – but I’ll never look like that. I don’t care if I do at this point in my life, but plenty of younger and more impressionable women are going to look at that and take away the moral that in order to be fit you have to be very, very thin.

      I’m asking because I used to be very fit. I worked out seven days a week, counted calories, worked on my feet…and was never small than a size 8. I never had abs. There was still pudge on me in places. But I was extremely fit by most standards – and I never saw any woman that looked like *me* on a health magazine, eh? The last time we got a “plus-sized” woman on a magazine cover, people came out in droves to talk about how it clearly wasn’t healthy, but nobody questions this? Even though we know celebrities are infamous for using unhealthy methods to maintain these bodies? The studies are out there. We know it has a psychological impact. And now that I live with a young girl, I’ve become increasingly aware of some of the magazine that come into the home and what they’re saying to her.

  14. Esmom says:

    Oh gosh, I can see people are getting upset with what she said but I saw some wisdom in some of the things she said. I’m not rich or privileged and I have had health issues but exercise has always been very therapeutic and empowering for me. Going out running when I was in my 20s helped me cope with a lot of things. And as I got older it helped me make the transition between taking care of my kids and work, I could start to solve some of my work challenges in my head while I ran much better than if I tried to just sit at my desk.

    Sometimes exercise is very hard to fit in but I’ve recognized that it’s important to my mental health. I think it’s great that she figured that out, too.

    • Kitten says:

      Yes, I loved what she said about active meditation. Running has always been by therapy.

      I also don’t understand this idea that fitness is contingent upon wealth. Such a bizarre misconception. Fitness is most contingent upon maintaining a consistent exercise routine and a decent diet. And a good diet don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either–bulk grains, frozen fruits and vegetables, and water are all cheaper than fast food.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Because there are multiple studies that show wealth is correlated with better health outcomes, that’s why. Poverty is notorious for driving up obesity rates and chronic diseases. Areas that are low-income are far more likely to lack access to affordable food, as well, not to mention the issue of outright food deserts. I get what you’re saying that for some of us closer to middle class incomes, it’s a matter of making the time, but there is quite literally tons of data that says wealth is absolutely a predictor of long-term health outcomes. It’s one of the reason why there’s been such a backlash to the government cuts to programs like welfare and SNAP. I wasn’t aware of how tightly correlated those matters were until I worked in a low income area hospital and got into the studies of just how serious the issue is. It’s a kind of economic violence that flies under the radar all the time.

        Here’s a few studies if you want to read them:

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198075/

        http://frac.org/obesity-health/relationship-poverty-obesity

        https://www.healthpovertyaction.org/info-and-resources/the-cycle-of-poverty-and-poor-health/key-facts/

        https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/1/e019862

        Here’s some more data about food deserts in America. It’s crazy stuff:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert

      • Chingona says:

        At Veronica
        Thank you. Even the people on this thread are coming from a place of privalege. I volunteer with young girls who are on the extreme poverty level. I have visited girls who live in a garden shed with their whole family, in a tarp tent in the middle of the woods, in a small rodent infested room they share with 10 other people. There is a huge privilege for most people who are able to be in great shape, be it time, money( even if you are not rich), resources,health, geographic location, the safety of your neighborhood etc. It is all a privilege that some don’t have

      • Kitten says:

        @ Veronica-Point taken and admittedly, my original comment was pretty clumsy. Thanks for the links–I’m aware of the studies.

        FWIW, I never meant to insinuate that there wasn’t a correlation between poverty and obesity. My boyfriend’s a paramedic in the some of the poorest parts of Eastern Mass–he spends a lot of his time hauling overweight people around on stretchers. I know that there’s an obvious connection between poor healthcare, poverty, and obesity.

        But I’m saying fitness is not entirely contingent upon wealth. It’s just not. Just because it’s more likely that you will be obese if you struggle economically doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be overweight and suffering from Diabetes for the rest of your life. And interestingly enough, NCHS studies show that beyond the relationship between weight and income, obesity rates rose overall. They even found that socioeconomic background has less impact on obesity if you’re a man than if you’re woman. Women who were better educated and wealthier were less likely to be obese than their less educated and poorer counterparts. But for instance, with men of color, higher income actually increased the odds that they were obese.

        My point being that within the broader studies you cite are some interesting variables that actually contradict the larger idea that poverty is an *automatic* recipe for obesity.

        Because if poverty was solely responsible for obesity, then we wouldn’t have rising levels of obesity among American children and adults across all income and education levels.

      • Veronica S. says:

        It’s not an automatic promise but it is a strong contributing factor. There are variables, certainly, but the general trends remain intact. Obesity is increasing across the general population, and understanding why is a significant part of public health. Exercise and better eating do help – but primarily in the short term, with long term weight loss being notoriously difficult to sustain.

        My intent is not to rob people of their sense of agency but highlight my frustration with the disconnect between media portrayals of healthy and the economic reality a lot of Americans are facing. I’m pursuing a Masters in Public Health, and the more I learn, the more I begin to become uncomfortably aware of how industrialized nations weaponize income disparity to control and degrade lower income communities. And it’s a major issue in America, in particular, because so much of our lower income bracket contains people of minority origin, which undercuts their ability to socially mobilize.

        The increase in obesity across American society probably has its hands in a number of different factors. The increased amount of preserved food on the market. The fact of its consistent availability. The evolutionary mechanisms of our bodies that prefer to retain fat stores than lose them. The widening gap between middle class and the ultra wealthy, as well as the lack of socialized health care, child care, increased costs of living, wage stagnation (despite increase in hours worked), etc. that are sucking up the time and energy of the middle class. My point is more that weight gain and weight loss are complex issues in industrialized nations. Magazines like “Women’s Health” bother me more these days as I become increasingly aware of how simplistic and frankly problematic a lot of their “solutions” are to what is a multi-faceted issue.

      • tealily says:

        Listen, all I know is that my fitness level took a real nosedive when I was in a bad financial position and living in an unsafe neighborhood. You just have other sh-t to worry about. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s more that there’s only so much bandwidth in a person’s brain and when it’s filled up with things like “how am I going to pay my bills this month?” and “is it safe for me to walk home from the bus stop in the dark?,” driving across town after job #2 to go run in a safer park (after sundown) just drops a little lower on the list. Was maintaining my weight and cardiovascular health within my control? Mostly, yes, but it sure didn’t feel like it. It felt like one more thing I couldn’t handle at the moment.

      • MarDelSur says:

        Hi, Kitten.

        I have an academic background in health psychology, and I’ve given talks at work on ‘willpower’ and the like. In that context, I’ve frequently come across comments along the lines of ‘it’s not automatic’ like you remarked. Personally I think, and I say this very respectfully, while it’s true these things are not “automatic’, it’s also ultimately an unhelpful and unedifying comment to make.

        So yes, being poor and very stressed, working all hours, living in a e.g. cold apartment with screaming neighbours does not automatically result in reaching for the chips and sitting on the couch. It will just make it a lot more likely (or conversely, it will make taking care of oneself less likely, not just because of how much trainers cost, but primarily because of being psychologically ground down and in need of more immediate feel-good relief). And people only have that much energy.

        So in my talks whenever I suggested reducing stress (which is in itself hard to do, lol) to help with willpower, people routinely responded with ‘but it’s not automatic, even stressed you can still make the choice to this or that’. Sure, you can, but it’s a lot harder, and that’s actually the whole point of this.

        In my opinion, most people don’t actually benefit from being told that they can ‘just choose’ to whatever. They’ve already heard and thought that themselves. In fact, most humans are extraordinarily resistant to the idea that their every act is NOT a conscious, deliberate choice. Hence my audience dismissing my suggestions about reducing stress and insisting on solutions about how to ‘make better choices’ (perhaps I’m a very poor speaker, lol). Humans sooo don’t like to think of ourselves as ‘automatons’, though of course to an extent we are that.

        So if you want to help people, truly, don’t tell them that they can just choose. Instead think about what’s stopping them making good choices now and seek to change that. Many governments don’t like to dwell on that, because it involves pesky issues of poverty and because, truthfully, most people like to claim their own moral superiority is the sole reason for their ‘good’ behaviour, instead of admitting they’ve been lucky in some respects.

        Anyway, cheers and hope you don’t mind the rant.

    • Nicole(the Cdn one) says:

      Veronica;

      Thanks for pointing out the articles. Another aspect of the privilege of wealth is the privilege of time. Most economically disadvantaged individuals do not have the time for an exercise regime and to spend time on making whole foods from scratch (if they can be afforded). A local study in my jurisdiction found that lower income individuals actually work longer hours, spend more time in transit to and from work and to and from stores (they can’t afford to drive and park and low income areas tend to be food deserts) and so they have less time to exercise, grocery shop and prepare from scratch. Between working, childcare and housework, they were not only economically impoverished, but significantly lacking in “spare” time. It was an eye opener for me to read and it convinced me to check my privilege.

  15. Doodle says:

    As a woman who has tried everything to lose weight just to gain it back at the drop of a hat, doesn’t eat poorly and gets injured every time she works out, I find her comment pretty one sided. It’s great FOR HER, but she hasn’t walked in my shoes. I hate exercise and have killed my self in the gym to get mediocre results and hated every second of it. I did not find a second of it to be meditating. But give me a paintbrush and I am in heaven, my mind will clear. She’s young and hasn’t had enough life experience. Someday maybe she’ll get it that not everybody walks through life the same way she does.

    • meme says:

      I feel your pain! I was an exerciser like Vanessa all through my teens and 20′s. I was a machine.

      After turning 31/32, the weight has come on (and hormonal zits!!) and injuries stack up. It’s hard. My energy levels have dropped significantly and I can no longer work out and still eat whatever I want – it takes so much more work once you hit your 30′s +. I recognize that completely!

      I would suggest yoga as a great low impact exercise. :-)

      I’ve let go of having a perfect body and just do the best I can now in my 30′s.

  16. Snowflake says:

    I dont have a problem with what she’s saying. She’s not saying be a certain size or do xyz. You do have the power to change your body.

  17. Shelby says:

    I currently am on a medication that makes me hungry, and slows my metabolism so some weight gain was inevitable. When I was first put on it I worked out like crazy but didn’t really get results so I stopped. Not good either, but exercise is less fun when you don’t get results and it affected my muscle recovery so I would be sore for 4 days. It was disheartening because I have always been so fit and now it really is out of my power to change my body.

  18. CatMom says:

    Why do people have to pick apart every statement? I mean, it’s true that *almost everyone* can do something about their body if they are unhappy with it. Like Kitten said, why should everyone have to issue ten caveats to cover every possible situation? It’s exhausting.

  19. Lisbon says:

    I understand what she is saying, I came as a poor immigrant with two changes of clothes in my back-up and my four most favorite books.
    I stayed in a refugee camp before immigrating, didn’t speak the language, didn’t understand the culture…it wasn’t easy.
    Never had money for gym membership or running shoes, but I went everyday for one hour walk in my regular walking shoes, cheap jeans, T shirt, hoodie and my one coat I owned.
    I didn’t do it to lose weight or maintain weight, just to clear my head and solve some problems that were piling up in my new life, in a new country.
    I did what I could, I always cooked my own food from very simple, but healthy ingredients. (lots and lots of soups)
    She is an actress, obviously a very big part of her job is how she looks and she has to spend time, money and effort to look in a certain way to be gainfully employed.
    Be the best possible you, there is no point in comparing yourself to someone else, because it’s APPLES AND ORANGES.

  20. Reeses Addict says:

    I think she is ignoring some of the challenges some people face. Gland malfunction and thyroid malfunctions and necessity of a knee or hip replacement without health insurance or money. Losing weight is very difficult for lots of people (diabetis, thyroid problems, digestive problems…) Or living in an unsafe area with nor sports facilities. Hell, if you are poor you ain’t gonna waste some money on a transport ticket to visit some park for jogging or walking. You aren’t gonna buy tasty and expensive quality veggies when you are poor expecially as those shops selling that stuff aren’t in your quartier when you are poor.
    Try to lose weight when you are poor and stressed and clinically depressed and when you need comfort food. Really sometimes comfort food is the better alternative to dealing with problems as the other “alternatives” are: substance abuse or suicide and everything inbetween.

    Have some compassion and understanding with the conditions some people live in and don’t put up the “must do something else you lazy fucker”.

    • Bailie says:

      Oh, come now, should now celebrities use caveats for everything they say?
      Sounds exhausting and ridiculous.

      • tealily says:

        Maybe just don’t make broad, sweeping generalizations? Probably a good guideline for everyone.

      • lucy2 says:

        I don’t think it needs to be anything more than “I know it doesn’t apply to everyone, but…” or “speaking for myself…” or “in my experience…”
        Not exhausting.

      • Ashby says:

        @ Bailie, I agree with you completely, it’s very exhausting to constantly have everything dissected like you are out to hurt the world. Too many people take things too personally, just chill a bit. Don’t be so quick to jump to the negative nearly ALL THE TIME.
        Goodness, it’s an interview with a 20 something year old actress.
        Do you expect wisdom from someone who has barely been around in this world for a quarter of a century?
        Of course being healthy is more complex that cooking your own food from simple ingredients, limiting empty calories like sugar and alcohol to only very, very special occasions and going for an hour run nearly every day.
        Genetics should be a huge consideration, not an excuse, but a serious consideration, if someone is born into a family with very short people, how can they realistically expect to be 6 feet tall???
        Same with weight, if someone’s relatives are not size 0 or 2, is it reasonable to expect to be size 0 or 2???
        People should read these articles with a grain of salt and seek advise from a health care professional or medical publications, not a magazine trying to sell as many copies as possible with a pretty young actress on the cover whose job is to look nearly perfect in Hollywood.

    • Alyssa Calloway says:

      There are also multiple articles and studies about how once you reach a certain level of being overweight (basically obesity), it becomes almost impossible to lose weight and keep it off permanently. In fact a lot of people who have extreme weight loss gain even more back. A lot of the articles point out contestants of Biggest Loser etc.

      No diet (Atkins, Keto, and WeightWatchers are the big ones they point out) is going to make you “thin” again (if you ever were) bc your body is going to fight you every second to get back to it’s perceived normal. Slowly taking it off helps, but doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll keep it off even if you don’t fall back on bad habits. And this is backed by science, not just anecdotal evidence. Your metabolism and other functions just change.

      Not saying there is absolutely nobody that can’t lose a large amount of weight and keep it off. Surgical intervention often helps with this, but is not an option for everyone, especially bc a lot of insurance doesn’t cover it or if it does you have to meet very specific criteria. AND I’m not saying you can’t make positive lifestyle changes and eat better and exercise. You might even lose some weight, but most likely not what you might want. Just saying that it’s not always possible to have complete control of how your body looks (and obviously, functions).

      I totally get what she’s saying and that she’s coming from her own experience, and that’s great. But when she makes what seems like a blanket statement, people are going to apply their own experience and take it how they will. In any case, you can’t control how people feel about or react to a public statement, rational or not.

  21. CityGirl says:

    “Has she ever had health problems or gone on medication that makes you hungry all the time” – This!! Thank you for saying that because when I read the headline all I could think was, “says the 20 something actress who makes more money than most of us and doesn’t work the hours that most of us have to”. Talk to me when you have a life like us regular folk….
    I must have woke up on the wrong side this morning.

    • Patty says:

      Medicine may make you want to eat more – because it increases your appetite but it didn’t mean you have to eat more. I’m in that boat right now, due to medication I’m on but I make the decision not to eat more calories than I need. The choice is still there.

  22. NYCTYPE says:

    She makes a good point, some people just enjoy finding a fault in everything.

  23. Mo’ Comments Mo’ Problems says:

    She could’ve had a meteoric rise and a different kind of star power, but she really pulled away from the limelight for a few years—totally understandable. I think we all forget that she was a victim of revenge porn and leaked nudes that was so unfairly damaging to her at a time where people weren’t caping as hard for women. I’m glad she’s in a better place and has been able to return to acting, which is what she loves.

  24. BANANIE says:

    As someone who takes medication that makes me both hungry at all times and fatigued – not great, but after years of tweaking this has shown the best results – I actually can get behind her message a bit. She should not speak in absolute terms. But I like that she talks about growing self-confidence and about the power you have. I may not have as much power as other people, but I still need to try. And I think maybe sometimes I let my illness called me back. I know that is not true of everyone. Just my perspective.

  25. LoveBug says:

    I see so many excuses in these comments.
    My cousin plays wheelchair basketball and he works full time, has a wife and two children, plus he volunteers.
    It’s very, very inspiring.
    Just watch Para Olympics and the Invictus Games and tell me that people can’t accomplish amazing things against some really harsh odds!

  26. Patty says:

    I think some of this comments are dangerous because they perpetuate hopelessness. Judging by these comments only rich people can afford healthy food (not true), we apparently lose the ability to take care of ourselves and our bodies due to issues at the drop of a hat, people with regular jobs don’t have time to workout or take care of themselves apparently. I’m flabbergasted.

    With a few exceptions. We have agency in our lives. We all have the ability to eat heathly food and take care of our bodies to the best our ability. Anyone who says otherwise is making an excuse.

  27. Cantgoogleme says:

    Anyone try intermittent fasting? Curious to see real life accounts as I’ve read it isn’t safe for women. She looks very lean these days Imo (like more than usual)

    • Patty says:

      @cantgoogleme I’ve been doing IF off and on since 2016 (after reading The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung) and I love it. I do more of an eating window of 4-6 hours and try to fast for 18-20 hours. Basically, I drink lots of water and unsweetened caffeine free tea to stay hydrated. I usually have a light snack (fruit, nuts, and cheese or a smoothie to break my fast) I’ll eat whatever I want for dinner but always try to eat a mix of protein, healthy fats, and veggies; and if I’m still hungry I eat dessert or a snack. I have been trying to do more low carb because too many carbs make me bloated and give me headaches but I don’t have any weird food hang-ups.

      For me good food is something that I enjoy, nourished my body, and doesn’t make me feel like crap. I’ve been trying to cut out processed foods because they cause bloating for me.

      For me anyway, fasting has helped with my bloating, headaches, energy levels, etc. I would encourage you to read the following if you are interested:

      The Obesity Code
      The Complete Guide to Fasting

      You may also be interested in The 5:2 Fast / Diet depending on what type of fasting you are considering and then of course there’s OMAD!!!