updated 05/20/2009 AT 8:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/21/2009 AT 10:30 AM ET
There are many things Mandy Moore loves: her dog, Joni. Her husband, musician Ryan Adams. Her new album, Amanda Leigh. Peanut butter. One area on which she admittedly has mixed feelings? Her hips.
“I still have a love-hate relationship with them,” Moore, 25, tells PEOPLE. “I’m not a swizzle stick – I’m not 14 anymore.”
But the singer-actress, an accidental poster child for being beautiful the healthy way, says she has learned to embrace all her womanly curves – even those hips. While the 5’10” beauty tries to stay balanced by eating “colorful foods,” getting acupuncture and exercising regularly, she doesn’t get hung up on dieting.
“I appreciate when there are other women out there who are beautiful and aren’t, you know, a pound,” she says. “I feel lucky that I don’t feel pressure … to have my whole life be controlled by whether I fit into a certain size.”
Moore says moderation – and allowing for indulgences from time to time – are among the keys to staying fit.
“If I really want something, I don’t feel like it’s worth it to deprive myself,” says Moore, whose weaknesses include french fries, cookies, and pretty much anything containing peanut butter. “I’ve never said, ‘I want to look like this’ or ‘I want to look like that’ or ‘I’m not good enough.’ … To me it’s about feeling good, feeling healthy.”
Moore abandoned all vanity while recording Amanda Leigh, which drops May 26. “I didn’t have to wear makeup or feel like I had to present myself to anybody,” says Moore, who often stayed in her PJs all day while co-writing and recording the eclectic, ’70s-inspired collection of songs at a friend’s home near Boston. “I loved it.”
Moore, who wed Adams, 34, in a quiet ceremony in March, cautions that the beauty standards set by Hollywood are unattainable – even for celebrities themselves.
“[As a star] you have professionals who make you look a certain way … I can’t roll out of bed and look that way,” says Moore. “I’m very comfortable with the way that I look, but it’s not fair for women to use someone or something as a bar. It’s not reality, for anyone. I am happy to be myself and represent something different for women.”