Taylor Swift's Rules for Healthy Living
The chart-topping singer-songwriter talks about how diet, exercise, and writing help her stay happy and balanced.
Healthy Approaches to Food and Fitness
Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, CDE, lauds Swift's simultaneously practical and celebratory approach to food, praising her for being a role model in an insanely dieting world. Swift also earns high marks for not depriving herself, although as Politi points out, "Taylor doesn't have to lose any weight, so maybe someone who does would have a treat once a week, and after exercise."
Swift's philosophy is perfect, says Politi, who is the nutrition director of Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center. "Evidence shows that binge eating is connected to frequent dieting. Depriving ourselves leads to eating out of control. What's crucial is having a healthy relationship with food," Politi explains. "Food is not the enemy, and Taylor is really to be commended for enjoying what she eats. We should all be eating in a mindful way and enjoying every moment that we do."
As for following common sense rather than calorie charts, Politi is all for it: "Our grandparents had so much less information than we have; they only listened to their common sense, and we were a leaner country then." For people who would rather rely on facts than intuition about what makes a healthy diet, Politi suggests going to the American Dietetic Association web site.
The Importance of Giving Back
To keep a balanced lifestyle, Swift is a homebody when she's not touring. She recently moved out of her parents' house and into her own apartment in Nashville, where she hangs out with friends and writes. "I'm not a party girl, because that's not where my interests are," she says. But she's also aware that in making the choice to stay away from the nightlife she's sending an important message to her fans.
"I really do factor that into the decisions I make," she says, "And it's always a huge part of my thought process. In the last two years while I've been on my first headlining tours, I look into the crowd and I see all of these faces, and some of them are little. I remember when I was that age, and the choices that my favorite singers were making really mattered to me. I can't block that out, and I don't want to."
Swift is also cognizant of helping those in need and is a generous donor to groups like the American Red Cross. "My contributions hit me like my song ideas," she says. "It's just a gut feeling about who needs help, whether it's a flood in Nashville or a town that I'm in that has had some horrible tragedy or a letter I get from a family. Giving back like that makes you feel so incredible." She believes the amount of time or money given is unimportant: "If you have the opportunity to put something good into the world, that only does good for your own life."