Cheryl Hines may play the superficial single mother Dallas Royce on ABC’s Suburgatory, but in reality she is 180 degrees from her character, who once considered Botox injections for her teenage daughter.
“Suburgatory is so over the top that people, hopefully, can’t think we’re serious,” says the 48-year-old actress, recently honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for a career that includes two Emmy nominations for HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.
A real-life mom to 10-year-old Catherine, Cheryl works hard to promote a positive body image at home.
“I try to make sure Catherine understands that it’s not about how you look,” she says. “It’s about how you feel and how healthy you are.”
Cheryl also spreads the healthy living message in a more public way, through her work with the American Heart Association (inspired by her father, who suffered a near-fatal heart attack several years ago) and United Cerebral Palsy. Here, she dishes on staying fit, aging well and getting your priorities straight.
Spry: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women when it comes to their health?
Cheryl: We as women are so busy trying to take care of everybody else—our children and husbands—that sometimes we don’t make ourselves a priority. When it comes to your health, you have to. It’s like they say on airplanes: “Put your own oxygen mask on before your help your child.”
Spry: How do you encourage good health habits in your daughter?
Cheryl: We do healthy things together. I try to get her to jump on our trampoline, or we go skiing. One New Year’s, we gave up French fries for six months. It wasn’t easy, but it was good because we had each other! Now she doesn’t eat fries much. I think it’s good to set an example—I can’t be eating a candy bar and have her eat an apple.
Spry: How did you get involved with United Cerebral Palsy?
Cheryl: My nephew was born with cerebral palsy (CP). I didn’t know anything about CP. I called the local chapter here in Los Angeles and said, “My family needs help, and I don’t know how to help them.” I met an amazing group of people who immediately pulled their resources together and helped my nephew get the care he needs. I have been with them ever since. Now, I’m on the board of directors. I go to Capitol Hill and fight with the policy makers for people with disabilities.
Spry: How do you stay fit?
Cheryl: I like to take yoga and Pilates classes. If I can’t make a class, at the very minimum I’ll do a mile on the treadmill, some sit-ups and lift some 8-lb. weights for my arms. I also like stand-up paddle boarding and skiing, so I do lots of physical activity.
Spry: What do you believe is the secret to aging gracefully?
Cheryl: I think it’s about controlling your stress levels, which is not easy, especially the older we get. That’s why I do yoga—it makes you slow down for an hour and breathe. If you have a good instructor, you’re doing really challenging poses and you feel like your legs are going to fall off. They tell you to keep breathing through it, and you can do it. It is good for life because you have those moments when you think, “I’m not going to make it to the next moment.” But you will!
Spry: What else helps you relax?
Cheryl: I like to play poker with friends. It’s great—you can’t really concentrate on other things when you are playing poker! I also get massages. Being in that tiny, dark room and forcing myself to slow down clears the way for good ideas to come to me. Anytime I need to “change the channel” in my mind, I imagine being with my family, at the beach, on the ski slopes, or doing something really fun outside together. That always helps.