"Own your look. Own your shape. Don't compare yourself. Take charge and take your crown back. You tell society what's sexy."
With a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actress under her belt, you'd think Taraji P. Henson wouldn't have doubts about any of her decisions. We'd say she's doing pretty damn well! But not even the Empire star and author of Around the Way Girl: A Memoir is immune to feeling guilty over her food choices—something women spend over an hour every day second-guessing, according to a survey from Kellogg's Special K. As part of her new #OwnIt campaign with the brand, we chatted with Henson about ditching her food doubt, the workout that makes her feel like a total badass, why it's so important to stop comparing yourself to others, and more.
Here's what we learned:
She doesn't let her cravings make her feel guilty.
"I love chocolate. I love sweets. Every time you pick up a doughnut or chocolate or anything, you feel guilty. But why feel guilty about food? Food should be enjoyed. We shouldn't walk around with such guilt about the nutrition that we need and that our body craves. Special K helps me with my choices. The protein bites with the chocolate in them? I mean that's a smarter choice than a candy bar. It's a win-win, because it's not empty calories, it's a food choice that's giving me the nutrients and enough energy for me to work out and I still kill my craving for chocolate."
Upping her food smarts makes her feel confident...
"If I'm confident about what I'm eating, that's one less thing on my plate as a woman I have to worry about. Some people just give up—they feel like they don't have the willpower [to make smart food choices]. When you let people know that they have better, smarter choices, it's like once you know better you do better."
...and fuels her workouts.
"You can't have a great workout without a great diet. You have to be loaded with protein because [a tough workout] takes all of your strength. That's why working with Special K was an important collaboration for me. When you set a goal and you reach it, it boosts your confidence."
She uses one workout in particular to feel like a badass.
"I really really got into boxing earlier this year. I love it because it's a full-body workout—you're working every muscle, you're working muscles you didn't even know existed. And you have no weights. It's all body. It makes me feel confident. I feel like I can go out into this world and really kick ass—literally."
She wants women to write their own definition of "sexy."
"Own your look. Own your shape. Don't compare yourself. Take charge and take your crown back. You tell society what's sexy. That's why comparing yourself is a trap. As long as you're making better choices for you, and know what works for you, then you can own it. If you know you are making better, healthier choices for yourself, what's not to own about that?"