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Christina Hendricks on Loving Your Body

Most famous as curvalicious Joan on Mad Men (and starring in two new movies), Christina Hendricks reveals her secrets for enjoying life.

Christina Hendricks' Body Image

Hendricks attributes her down-to-earth values to her parents and the nurturing environment of her childhood home in Twin Falls, Idaho. "It was just a nice place," she says.

It was there she developed her ease with her own looks, mirrored by the attitudes of those around her. "I never even heard people talk about body types," says the actor. "When I was in high school, I would read magazines, but I was just looking at the clothes and the hair," she insists.

"Even now, it's never been a focus in my life. I've always been fit, I've always been active, and I've always been healthy, but I've just tried to live my life the way I live it. It's nice that I've gotten a lot of positive feedback about it lately," she says with a smile, her voice both higher in pitch and quieter than Joan's, "but I'm just doing what I normally do."

Her role on Mad Men has only helped her get her message across: Far from eschewing the figure-flaunting costumes (corsets and garter belts required), Hendricks praises their sexiness and how they make her feel.

Indeed, Hendricks seems to avoid the trap so many people find themselves in when it comes to judging themselves by their appetite or a cultural standard. "Be nice to yourself!" she says. "We all need to look in the mirror and see the things that are beautiful in ourselves, and to remind ourselves of what those things are. And it's nice to have the people around us remind us, too."

Amy Pizer, PhD, a psychotherapist in New York City who praises Hendricks' healthy attitude, notes, "No matter what, you can look in the mirror and find something you like. We have images of what we 'should' look like that aren't realistic. Instead of focusing on what you don't like, practice focusing on finding things, or one thing, that you do."

Having loved ones' admiration is helpful as well, says Pizer, especially if we can internalize those voices. "We are bombarded with images that make us feel substandard, so when you look in the mirror, try to hear friends' voices. What do they say? That you have a beautiful smile, or you glow? Listen to that voice until it is integrated into your own healthy voice."

Hendricks' Daily Routine

With 15-hour workdays and constant travel, Hendricks finds that keeping up a healthy routine -- let alone a "normal" life -- requires great discipline. A dancer until she was 19 years old, Hendricks never worried about getting additional exercise or watching what she ate. Now, "I have to constantly remind myself to check in and be good to myself, to take vitamins, and exercise," she admits. "I'd always be happy to just snuggle in bed with a book."

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