Everyone asks me how I stay in shape, and my answer to that question has been misquoted so many times. People say I work out two and a half hours a day, that I work out 20 minutes a day. That I eat vegan, that I follow a raw diet. Some of it’s true, some of it’s not. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter exactly what I do. You can’t find your way to a healthy, happy, full life just by copying what I do—and changing your lifestyle isn’t something you can just condense into a sound bite.
The biggest thing I can tell you about getting and staying in shape is that consistency matters. Health and wellness isn’t something that just happens; it takes time. It happens when you don’t put too much pressure on yourself and you feel yourself getting stronger and stronger and then you start to actually enjoy it. And I mean that with everything: With food, with health, with working out and with mindfulness.
That’s why setting attainable goals for yourself is so important. If you set a goal of losing two pounds a week, that can be very discouraging because you’re going to have to eat 1,200 calories a day and work out all the time, and who wants to do that? I don’t want to do that. If you start with little things and stay consistent, you’ll eventually get to a point where you enjoy the process. It just takes some time for your brain and your body to get on-board together.
Of course, to do all of this, you have to throw the idea of perfection out the window. You have to realize that we have a choice to give in to this idea that women are supposed to be “perfect”—or to reject it. I love that more women are finally starting to realize there’s no such thing as perfection and that it’s subjective.
I was raised with a mother and father who always reminded me of that, and I grew up with three brothers who were always on me—so I developed a tough constitution early on. But I’d love to see more women feel empowered by their health and happiness.
I think we all have a responsibility to say to ourselves, “Do I feel good? Am I honoring myself? Do I feel healthy? Do I feel strong?” Kind of tuning into the things that you feel yourself and hopefully feeling more connected to your individuality and your individual strengths. With that comes a clarity emotionally that’s really important. So if I can send some supportive energy out to women to help them do that, that would just make me feel really happy.
Kate Hudson is an actress and author of the new book Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body.