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Maggie Gyllenhaal Says She Wanted to 'Be as Thin as Possible' When She Was Younger But Has Learned to Accept Her Body

"The older I get, the gentler I am on myself," the actress said on 'The Longevity Game' podcast

Maggie Gyllenhaal attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Maggie Gyllenhaal attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

Maggie Gyllenhaal is getting candid about her health journey and how her career as an actress has influenced her body image.

In a new episode of Tracy Anderson's podcast The Longevity Game, the 46-year-old actress talked about her early days in the industry, and revealed two different directors suggested she lose 10 pounds.

Reflecting on that time, The Lost Daughter star said, "When I first started auditioning and acting and stuff, it was a time when you could say all sorts of crazy things to actresses. I've always been pretty thin... it's a messed-up thing to say to somebody." She further adds, "I think that both of them said it as kind of a manipulation. They were trying to make me feel something, which they managed to do."

Despite the scrutiny that came with being an actress in Hollywood, Gyllenhaal shared that she never let those kinds of comments deeply affect her.

"When I was younger, my goal was to be as thin as possible, but I wasn’t ever able to go too far over there. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice all that much, I think, and thank goodness for that," she told the fitness guru.

Gyllenhaal also revealed how she learned that diet culture negatively impacted her mood and energy, stating, "I find that if I get too particular about what I eat and cleansing or whatever, it makes me anxious."

Maggie Gyllenhaal attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Maggie Gyllenhaal attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California

Related: All About Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal's Parents, Stephen and Naomi Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal also said that she didn't exercise much while growing up, mentioning her brief stint on the swim team in junior high. However, it wasn't until she moved to New York City that she began connecting with her body through dance and yoga.

Through this journey, she learned to appreciate herself better and accept her body for what it looks like. She said, "The older I get, the gentler I am on myself. I find, only recently really, that sometimes I'll look at myself and my body and I'll be like, 'I look good, I look fine.' "

"I'm not going 'Oh my god what is this.' Sometimes I do. But I have these moments of the clouds clearing where I'm like 'I look good....I'm happy with this,' " she added.

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<p>Kristy Sparow/FilmMagic</p> Maggie Gyllenhaal attends a red carpet ahead of the closing ceremony at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 09, 2023 in Venice, Italy

Kristy Sparow/FilmMagic

Maggie Gyllenhaal attends a red carpet ahead of the closing ceremony at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 09, 2023 in Venice, Italy

Related: Director Stephen Gyllenhaal, Father of Jake and Maggie, Files for Divorce from Wife After 11 Years

Elsewhere in the podcast, Gyllenhaal shared how she's become more comfortable in her body since she started using Anderson's workout program, which offers a variety of workout classes. For the actress, workout classes are one of her favorite ways to exercise.

"That’s the nice thing about going to class, when you see real bodies of women our age. Human, working hard, to me it’s friendly. It's the opposite of competitive, it's really inclusive and I love that,” she shared.

“When I’m around people who look human and healthy and like they care about themselves, but human, it makes me feel good. I feel like ‘Oh, you’re like me!’ "

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