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Michelle Obama Loves Exercise, Hates Beets, and Wants Your Kids to Be Healthier

Wed, August 4, 2010 5:37pm EDT by 1 Comment

The First Lady works hard to stay in shape, getting up at 4:30 in the morning to exercise, but it’s a sacrifice she’s happy to make if it means she can still eat pie!

Michelle Obama will be the first to admit that she loves deep-dish pizza and French fries, but she also knows she can’t live on them, especially if she wants to keep those stellar biceps of hers! Her new initiative, the Let’s Move Campaign, is designed to get you and your kids to eat better and exercise more. The key, she says, is getting kids to step away from the TV and computer. “We have to think about [exercise] not as another activity but as play,” Michelle says. “I tell my girls it’s as simple as running up and down the hallway with the dog.”

“I wanted to open a dialogue about healthy eating that wasn’t accusatory, that didn’t place blame, because that doesn’t make parents feel better,” the mother of Sasha, 12, and Malia, 9, tells Ladies’ Home Journal in the issue now on newsstands. “Parents are doing the best they can.”

For the First Lady, it’s all about leading by example. She doesn’t claim you only have to eat healthy foods — she’ll be the first to admit that she doesn’t — but if you do it in moderation and mix it with exercise, you’ll take better care of yourself.

“What is life without the things you love to eat? For me, it’s pie. So what I tell my girls is, ‘treats are special.’ They’re not something you have every day,” says Michelle, who also insists that she finds time to exercise just about every day. Still, she knows that people’s lives are just too busy these days to commit to a set schedule. “Telling a busy mother she’s got to prepare a home-cooked meal every night is gonna shut her down. I couldn’t do it.”

And it’s not like Michelle doesn’t have a sense of humor about her mission. Even she will admit that there are certain vegetables she hates. Well, one vegetable in particular and, as luck would have it, President Obama doesn’t like it either.

“Beets,” she says, much to what is assuredly the collective heartbreak of beet farmers everywhere. “I am a believer in the beet gene. People who love beets love them and people who hate beets can’t stand them. Neither the President nor I have the beet gene.”

It’s OK, Michelle. Lots of people don’t like beets. Or zucchini, for that matter!