If Vanessa Hudgens is feeling unhappy about her body, she doesn’t sit back — she takes it as a challenge.
The actress, 29, likes to try out new workouts and diets — like intermittent fasting and eating pescatarian — to change up her body.
“If I ever get to the point that I’m not happy with my body, I’ll do something about it,” she tells Women’s Health for their December issue. “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.”
And Hudgens sees the biggest difference when she changes up her workouts. Over the course of a week, she’ll work out at least six times, doing everything from SoulCycle to Pilates, ballet, HIIT classes, yoga and hiking.
“Working out is like moving meditation,” she says. “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.”
Her diet is similarly varied, and Hudgens is always looking for something healthy but fun.
“I love finding things that are good for you and also taste amazing,” she says. “I try to get enough healthy fats, protein, and foods that give me energy.”
Hudgen’s current body mindset is something that took years to build. She first realized that she couldn’t just eat whatever she wanted at age 18, when she was touring for High School Musical and discovered her costume didn’t fit thanks to a diet of Hot Cheetos and beef jerky. But over time, she transformed her body and her confidence, which often took a hit because of her height.
“Because I’m very petite, I’ve always felt that women who are taller are smarter and more powerful,” the 5’3″ Hudgens says. “I would feel less than because of my size. 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?’ ”
That confidence extends to her romantic life, and her 7-year relationship with boyfriend Austin Butler.
“We both respect, trust and admire each other. It’s so solid now because I feel strong as an independent woman,” she says. “I am very self-reliant, but it’s nice to have a best friend you can share victories with as well as losses.”