September 08, 2009 02:01 PM

Robert Galbraith/Landov

When First Lady Michelle Obama sat down for exclusive interview with Women’s Health, she revealed not only why she takes good health (and healthcare) so seriously but also her grounded attitude towards fashion and dieting. “My father had multiple sclerosis, so I never took health for granted, because I saw a father that at the prime of his life was struck with an illness that completely changed his life,” the First Lady reveals. But she recounts happy childhood memories with rare and fun nights eating out with her family. “We couldn’t afford to go out to dinner, so [it] was a rare treat. We would have a theater class on Saturdays, and [afterward] if Dad turned left we were going to McDonald’s, and if he turned right we were going home, and we’d always go, “Go left, Dad! Go left!” The few times he went left, it was like Christmas!” Michelle also sees the value of eating pizza and ice cream more rarely due to economic need. “Those values — even though they were the result of economic circumstances — were really good, and they created some pretty healthy boundaries about food.” Not that she doesn’t love the occasional diet-breaker. “I do love a good burger and fries. French fries are my favorite food in the whole world. If I could, I’d eat them at every meal — but I can’t. My whole thing is moderation. If I make good, healthy choices most of the time, then having what I love every once in a while won’t hurt.” And she values the importance of eating together as a family, even at the White House. Mrs. Obama explains, “Dad’s office is just downstairs, and it’s rare that we don’t have dinner together. No matter what’s going on, he sets aside that time. Dinner time is at 6:30 p.m., and he comes in, we sit down.” That’s not the only way the First Lady works to feel good. She says of her famous fashion choices, “For me fashion is fun, and it’s supposed to help you feel good about yourself. I think that’s what all women should focus on: what makes them happy and feel comfortable and beautiful. I wear what I love. Sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t. I’m fine with that.” Read more from the First Lady, including tips on her workout from her trainer, in this month’s issue of Women’s Health.

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