Kate Hudson on Being ‘Pretty Happy’ and the Importance of Self-Kindness

(Photo: Getty Images)

When it comes to walking the talk, there are few like Kate Hudson. The Golden Globe-winning, Academy Award-nominated actress, who’s also the founder of the activewear line Fabletics, has just come out with her new book Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body. But unlike many other celeb-written tomes, which proclaim the XYZ secrets to insert-name-here’s enviable figure, Hudson wants her book to instead encourage and empower readers to find the healthy paths unique to them — and to embrace their bodies while doing so. 

Yahoo Health talked with Hudson about Pretty Happy, how her upbringing helped shape her outlook on wellness, and why everyone should make their own “drawing board.”

For me, this is something that I grew up learning. My parents put me in dance class when I was really young, and I think that because as a kid I was so active and because I grew up with parents who are health-conscious, there was always a real awareness of health and activity in how I was raised. So, I think this is something that was instilled as a tool for me when I was younger — and my curiosity still remains heightened when it comes to new and fun discoveries about health and wellness. But, I recognize that a lot of people didn’t have that growing up and are looking for guidance and understanding of things they can do to shift their lifestyles.

My parents were so important in shaping how I think about health. I never felt like their expectations were too high; they always felt reasonable when it came to food and diet in our house. They gave us [me and my brother Oliver] freedom to make our own decisions, but would still find a way to guide us to making good decisions. So instead of, like, depriving us of Oreos, they would say, “OK, there’s the Oreo. But it has a lot of sugar, so maybe let’s hold off on that.” It didn’t make us develop any weird or bad food habits, but it helped us understand that there’s a lot out there that’s not good for you, so try to make an effort to eat healthy. It was coming from a place of health, versus anything else.

It’s hard because we’ve got all of these images we’re bombarded by. As women, it’s hard not to go there. It’s hard not to say, “I don’t look like that, and it doesn’t feel good.” I think it’s OK to have goals, but at some point, you have to accept where you’re at. And I think the second you do, your whole brain chemistry starts to shift.

I think people become more motivated when they start to be kind to themselves and honor themselves. They begin to take care of themselves differently. I know that’s been the case for me, especially after [the birth of my son] Ryder. It’s more about letting go of this perfect idea of what I “should” be. And here’s the other thing: No matter what you look like when you’re younger — we all get older, and it all starts falling. We’re all going to die eventually, so we might as well enjoy life while we’re here, no matter what we look like, and have fun with it.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Honestly? It’s thinking that we’re all going to die — so what’s the point in being negative? I hate to be morbid, but at the end of the day, it’s like that Fight Club quote, “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” At the end of the day, am I really going to sit here and sweat this moment, or am I going to go and live life?

Negative thinking is a huge problem, and it’s actually quite rampant now in young kids. We do it a lot, and we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. That’s why tuning in is so important. You have to ask yourself why you’re choosing to feel badly about yourself. That’s why it’s so important to draw it out, on a “drawing board,” how you feel. Tuning in like that is really important because it does inform all the other steps. You have to find the thing that’s not making you want to make changes. Ask yourself, “Why am I stuck?” And then whatever that reason is, you then have to ask yourself, “Is that real?” Because if it’s not real, then you’re just talking yourself in circles.

I write. Putting pen to paper makes things stick for me. I always write out my lines, over and over again. Your brain actually processes very well when you write pen to paper. So, I’ve always used that as a tool, and then I started doing it with more and more things — with my emotions, and then my meditations. And then it just became my “drawing board.”

Some people are more creative and visual, and do mood boards. But I like to write. I think it’s so important to really sit and express and explain where you’re at, so you can get an understanding of your baseline. It’s important for people to know what they enjoy doing, because in the moments when things get tough, having an awareness of that baseline is what can get you re-motivated.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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