Julianne Hough talks about learning to love her curves after restrictively eating as a teen in the new issue of SHAPE

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated August 10, 2016 11:55 AM

Abs and pizza CAN go together!

Julianne Hough says both are part of her life now that she’s learned to love her curves, and relax the restrictive eating habits she had as a teenager.

“I love my shape because I feel strong and fit, and that makes me feel confident,” Hough says in the new issue of SHAPE magazine, on newsstands Aug. 16.

“When I look at pictures of myself when I was 19, my body was bangin’, but I was killing myself. I was working out two and a half hours a day and eating the bare minimum to survive. I was so miserable. I wasn’t healthy. To be honest, I looked like a kid. Now I’m embracing the fact that I’m a woman with curves.”

And that means indulging in her favorite cheat food – pizza – even if people may not believe it because of her ripped abs.

E! News recently posted a picture of me coming out of the gym, and there were all these comments about the photo, like, ‘We could have abs like this, but we love pizza too much.’ I started laughing because pizza is my favorite food. I eat it a lot!” Hough says.

“I want everyone to know that I’m not Miss Perfect. You can cheat every once in a while, and that’s okay. You can still have a fit body as long as you work out regularly and eat relatively healthfully throughout your life.”

For Hough, healthy eating means staying away from packaged foods.

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“I try to stick with foods that don’t come in boxes. I don’t want a whole paragraph of ingredients in my body,” she says. “Brooks [ her fiancé, Toronto Maple Leafs player Brooks Laich] and I generally eat protein and veggies. For a boost of energy, I mix in quinoa or rice sometimes.”

“If Brooks had his way, we’d have steamed chicken and broccoli every day. That’s too boring for me, and when I get bored I tend to binge eat. Last night we made baked salmon with rosemary and lemon and broccoli, onions, and cherry tomatoes. It took only 20 minutes and was really delicious.”

Protein-packed meals plus her typical workout routine – five days of hard-core classes like Tracy Anderson or Body by Simone – are key for Hough’s fitness. But she makes sure to leave Sunday as a “reboot day.”

“I relax, enjoy the day and get mentally and spiritually prepared for the week,” she says. “It gets me excited for what’s ahead.”