Dolly Parton Talks Fluctuating Weight: 'I'm a Hog at Heart'

Dolly Parton has been known for her figure for years, and while the country icon's sparkling confidence has always shined, Parton admits that she's struggled with her body just the same as many others.

"I’m a hog at heart," she told PEOPLE. "I’ve been up and down with my weight through the years, so I can definitely relate to that."

Parton was referring to the upcoming Netflix film Dumplin', which follows an overweight teenage girl who decides to enter a beauty pageant. The main character in the film, which was based on the Julie Murphy novel of the same name, idolizes Parton, and Parton herself contributed six new songs to the movie's soundtrack.

Dumplin' stars Danielle Macdonald as Willowdean Dixon, who unwittingly starts a protest in her small town after entering the pageant, while Jennifer Aniston plays Willowdean's mom, Rosie, a former beauty queen.

“[This movie] shows that you don’t have to be physically beautiful,” Parton said. “You don’t have to look like a supermodel. I really worry a lot about young girls today because they think they have to look like the models or the people on television. We need to be accepting of ourselves in how we are.”

That acceptance is all about balance for Parton, who tries to stick to a "low carb diet" during the week but allows herself to enjoy some of her favorite Southern food on the weekends.

“I’ll make gravy and biscuits and fried sausage or fried spam. My husband loves my cooking, so I cook for him,” she said of husband Carl Thomas Dean. “I really cook just old Southern food.”

That Southern food also helps Parton remember her mom, Avie Lee, who passed away in 2003.

“If I think of Mama, then I usually cook what she used to cook that we loved so good,” the 72-year-old shared. “Mama used to make, it’s like chocolate pudding, really, but you put it in the skillet with flour and sugar and milk and you just make a pudding. Mama used to put it with biscuits. Mama’s gone now, but she’s not gone in our memory and in our cooking.”

In addition to Parton, the Dumplin' soundtrack features stars including Sia, Miranda Lambert, Rhonda Vincent, Alison Krauss, Mavis Staples, Elle King, Willa Amai and Macy Gray featuring Dorothy, as well as cameos from Aniston and Macdonald.

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The soundtrack will be available on Nov. 30 and Dumplin' arrives on Netflix on Dec. 7.

Photo Credit: Getty / Daniel Boczarski