Emmy Rossum covers the February issue of Shape, and inside, she opens up about her wellness philosophy and why she decided to leave Shameless (a move that devastated fans).

ON SHAMELESS

Rossum’s reasoning for leaving her Showtime series will be relatable to anyone who’s left a job they loved right as it was beginning to wear thin. She says: “I made 110 episodes playing the character of Fiona, and it's been an incredible journey. I've learned a lot about myself as a person and as an actor. I want to leave the show while I still love it, and I know the door is open to come back if that feels right. I'm also extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish off-screen, with my negotiation for equal pay and the effect that had on other women in the industry and in general.”

She’s referencing her successful 2016 move to lobby Showtime so she could make as much as her costar William H. Macy.

Next up, Rossum is directing an episode of Amazon’s anthology series Modern Love, and she’s hoping to do more behind the camera. Rossum says: “The way I look at it is that the end of one thing is the beginning of something else. I couldn't be more thrilled to spend time writing, directing, and seeing what other characters I want to play. It's both scary and wonderful.”

ON WELLNESS

Rossum has long been a body positive wellness advocate; she publicly criticized Kim Kardashian in August for bragging about her weight.

The 32-year-old explains her philosophy: “I think it’s vital that we stop focusing on unimportant things, like a number, and start thinking of our real worth as what we’ve accomplished, as well as the things that make us unique and strong. Your appearance is just one part of you. It doesn’t determine who you are or what you’re capable of.”

Rossum says her views have evolved: “Last year I did an overhaul. I started listening to my body about what exercise and food make me feel good and how much sleep I really need. My relationship with exercise has always been a very healthy and committed one, mostly because it has helped me reduce stress and anxiety.”