Sara Rue on Raising a Daughter Who's Not Diet-Obsessed

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It’s been five years since Sara Rue debuted her 50-pound weight loss. (Getty Images)

Sara Rue’s weight-loss story is a successful one. She dropped more than 50 pounds — with the bikini photo shoot to prove it — and, now five years later, has kept it off with exercise and clean eating. In that time period, she also became a mom, so she’s been tasked with the additional challenge of raising a daughter — Talulah, 2 — who’s not obsessed with every morsel she puts in her mouth.

“I never say, ‘This is good for you, this is bad for you’ — ever,” the Impastor star, 36, told Yahoo Celebrity while promoting her new weight loss initiative, Resolve Now: Stay Ahead of the Curve. “I try to gently steer her away from things I don’t want her to eat too much of, but I also don’t want her to be the kid at the birthday party who eats the entire cake because mommy never lets her eat it at home.”

Finding the right balance is difficult.

“There’s a lot of diversion,” the Less Than Perfect alum admitted. “She’s 2-and-a-half, so I can still get away with, 'Hey, look at that pretty butterfly,’ which I do sometimes [laughs]. But it’s all positive. 'Yes, that does look yummy, but you know what else looks yummy? This apple. Want to share it with me?’ … I find that keeping everything positive and focusing on: 'Mommy loves this broccoli. Mmm, so good,’ creates that example for her.”

So far, Talulah is a good eater.

“I am so proud of my kid — she loves a green smoothie. My husband [teacher Kevin Price] makes this big pitcher of green smoothies pretty much every day,” said Rue, who doesn’t keep much sugar in the house opting instead for plant-based offerings. “I’m not going to say there aren’t nights were she has mac and cheese. There are. I’m a working mom. I live in reality. I don’t have a personal chef. But I try to buy the organic kind and sometimes that is just the best I can do.”

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Rue with her daughter, Talulah, and husband, Kevin Price (Getty Images)

And mom is not above sneaking healthy ingredients into a recipe.

"For a while I would chop up spinach really fine, but now she’s like: 'What’s this green stuff?’” Rue said. “But she does like broccoli, so I always try to make sure there is a big side of a healthy steamed vegetable. What I’ve been doing recently is buying the colored heirloom carrots, which I steam, and say, 'Do you want a purple carrot? Isn’t that cool?’ Tonight we’re having the yellow ones. It’s just trying to make the healthy food fun.”

So how did Talulah’s first birthday play out: Did she go into sugar shock consuming her first piece of cake — or was it a cake-free experience?

“I made a small cake and everyone was like: 'You have to let her smash it.’ I was like: 'Ugh, I guess I’ll let her smash it.’ It turned out that she wasn’t interested in it and I was like: OK, cake time is over,” she laughed. “I know there are a lot of parents who really want that picture of their kid smooshing their hand into the cake and putting it on her face. I just — I don’t know. I made it, she wasn’t interested, and I certainly wasn’t gonna say, 'Hey, put this sugar in your mouth.’ But I also didn’t want her to not have the opportunity if she wanted to do it.”

Right now, Rue is promoting this Resolve Now campaign to encourage people to work on their diet and health goals now instead of putting them off to a future date — like after the holidays.

“Basically it’s designed to encourage those who are struggling with their weight to take action now rather than waiting until the New Year,” she explained. “You can talk to your doctor and start a weight loss plan now as opposed to… making yet another new year’s resolution that frankly not all of us are able to keep. There were many years where I certainly wasn’t! Instead of going with the flow during the holiday season — eating things that aren’t healthy, putting things in our bodies that we don’t necessarily want to be there — take action before it begins to get a jump on it.”

As for what she does over the holidays to help maintain her weight loss, which was achieved when she was the Jenny Craig spokesperson, it’s simple: sweat.

“I find that upping my exercise over the holiday allows me a little bit of wiggle room with the food,” she said. “Another thing is I try to just be very conscious about what I eat. I try not to judge it, because that takes all the fun out of everything, but when you’re sort of aware of everything you’re eating, you want to make healthier choices, and you want to maybe watch your portion sizes, which is very helpful.”

Another rule is not to give up — or give in to temptation —when she suffers a small setback because she’s not just doing it for herself.

“It’s more about staying aware and not going into that, 'Oh, screw it mentality. I’ll start in a month.’ Keep the things that are important in sight and, for me, it’s stay healthy so I can be a good role model for my 2-year-old.”