June 3, 2023

The "Firefly Lane"  actress gets candid about body image and aging.  (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Yahoo Life)

The ‘Firefly Lane’ actress gets candid about body image and aging. (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Yahoo Life)

It will is Yahoo Life’s body image series, which delves into the journeys of influential and inspirational figures as they explore what body confidence, body neutrality and self-love mean to them.

Katherine Heigl made her screen debut decades ago, launching a hugely successful on-screen career — most notably as the “it” girl for rom-coms of the early 2000s. Looking back, one of her biggest regrets is the way she treated her body.

“I can’t believe how mean I was to myself. It almost makes me cry because it breaks my heart,” says the Firefly Lane actress tells Yahoo Life. “I was so damn mean. And I said the most horrible things to myself and I was so hard on my body.”

The 44-year-old recalls “hating” the way she looked at the time and often comparing herself to those around her. “I always felt like I was so much bigger and heavier than everyone else,” she says.

People in the entertainment industry weren’t shy about commenting on her looks either. “I’ve been doing Botox since I was 25,” she says. “I had a co-star tell me to do it, so I did.”

While she’s never been against making small changes to look and feel her best, she acknowledges how much she was influenced by the superficiality of the industry.

“I’m vain enough, I’m not going to pretend I’m not, and I’ve been told for a whole career that it’s one of the most important things about me, if not the most important thing about me,” she said. say.

In retrospect, however, she has noticed how skewed her perception of herself was as a result.

In the past year, Heigl has looked again The ugly truth where she co-starred with Gerard Butler. She recalls being upset with her appearance at the time of the film’s release in 2009. More than a decade later, her perspective has changed.

Heigl at the Los Angeles premiere of the film.  (Photo: Getty Images)

Heigl at the Los Angeles premiere of the film. (Photo: Getty Images)

‘You looked great. You were in great shape. What was wrong with you? Why were you so hard on yourself?’ she thought of her younger self as she watched. “What did you expect? What more could you have wished for? You were healthy, fit, slim, thin. How thin did you want to be?”

Heigl says this kind of reflection was “really eye-opening,” though she acknowledges that it’s “still really hard for me to stop the cycle of negative self-talk.”

“I think it’s a really bad habit that I need to break,” she explains. “But I expect something from myself right now and then look back years later and think, ‘What? Why?'”

It’s something Heigl is aware of as her figure evolves. However, aging has presented her experience with body acceptance with new challenges.

“February or so [in 2021], I inexplicably started gaining weight, like a lot of weight, like I think I gained 20 pounds. And I couldn’t figure it out. Everything I used to do in the past just didn’t work,” she says, noting that she was returning to old habits. everything I like and literally not lose a pound. Nothing moved.”

She went on to say she was “intermittent fasting,” which she compares to “starving yourself for 16 hours a day.” When she brought her concerns to the doctors, Heigl felt rejected.

“I started going to doctors and a lot, like regular GPs, ob-gyns [told me]”Oh, you know, just move more and limit calories.” And I would say, ‘I do those things. I’m on 1200 calories a day. Any lower and I’ll pass out.’ And they’d say, ‘Ah, you know, this is just part of getting older.’ And I was like, ‘Really?'”

Heigl explains that she’s learned to ask herself questions about how she feels in her body, in an effort to stay grounded and focus on her health, rather than her appearance.

“‘Katie, if you weren’t on camera, would you care? Would you care about your weight?'” she asks. “The answer was yes, I would care. Because I don’t feel well. And I’m tired and I don’t have energy and I’m super moody. My body doesn’t feel like mine.”

Most importantly, she wanted the chance to handle the weight gain “the healthy way,” she says. “It can be done holistically, it can be done mindfully, you know. But this idea, like living with it or stopping eating, really pissed me off.”

Now that she’s found the means to approach her body in a more mindful way, she’s tried to apply the same mindset to other areas of her life. The hard part is coming to terms with how she wants to see herself age compared to what others might expect of her.

“I’m not against someone doing what they need to feel their best, to wake up in the morning feeling confident and feeling what’s best for them. It’s so individual and so personal” , she explains. “I want people to understand that I’m in the public eye. I chose to be. I feel it’s part of my job to look my best, within reason. But if I’m not in I think I want to look and feel my best for my age.”

And she wants to be as transparent as possible as a person in the spotlight going through it.

“I’m getting a little tired of the idea that like actresses have genetically superior DNA. Maybe some have, I don’t know. But I know I made choices to keep, as one will. I made choices too not to go too far because it hasn’t been worth it for me,” she says. “I don’t want to change my face, and I’m not interested in looking 25 anymore. That was a good time, it’s over.”

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