Like a breath of fresh air with your morning coffee, Lorraine Kelly always seems chirpy, happy and brimming with energy when she appears on screen.
But like so many people, the pandemic took the wind out of her sails – and “mindless comfort eating” plus a lack of exercise left the breakfast TV presenter feeling sluggish and low in confidence.
Now, feeling more like herself again, she is delighted to report she’s back in her size 10 clothes after losing nearly a stone-and-a-half.
“During lockdown, so many of us ate for comfort, and weren’t able to go to our exercise classes,” says Kelly, 62.
“Before the whole thing, I honestly thought I’d cracked it, because I was going to my exercise classes two or three times a week, I was really healthy with my eating, I was a size 10. And then when the pandemic hit, like so many of us, I just went completely off the rails.
“It was a combination of comfort eating, not getting enough exercise, and probably drinking a little bit too much – not to excess, but more than I would normally,” she adds.
“I was feeling really sluggish at the start of this year – lack of energy, not sleeping properly, eating late at night and having far too many snacks and crisps and chocolate. That’s not to say I don’t ever snack now, but I just don’t do it every single night, piled up, as a sort of mindless comfort eating.”
After deciding to do something about it, Kelly downloaded the WW app to her her get on track again with healthy eating, sleep, exercise and hydration. She’s dropped two dress sizes as a result – although the best part, she insists, is that she feels so much better.
“I found it incredibly easy, and I certainly don’t feel in any way that I’m missing out on anything,” says Kelly, who has one grown-up daughter – Rosie, 28. “It’s not a diet, because diets don’t work.”
She hasn’t got any scales at home but was weighed by her WW coach in January, when she was 11st 10lbs. The last time she was weighed she was 10st 4lbs. “That means I’ve nearly lost a stone-and-a-half. Now for me, it’s all about maintenance,” she says.
“You shouldn’t get hung up about how much weight you lose, it’s all about how you feel in yourself and whether you can fit in your favourite clothes.
It’s really lovely to be able to get into clothes that I wasn’t able to get into for a while, and to buy clothes because you like them, rather than because they cover your bottom.
“I feel a lot better in myself, I’ve got my confidence back, my energy levels are back up, I’m drinking enough water and I’m monitoring that,” Kelly shares.
“I just watch things – instead of having steak and chips, I have some nice lean chicken with some roasted vegetables. It’s about making small changes that can really make a difference. I’ve got down to the size I want to be and back into a size 10 from being a size 14 heading very, very quickly to a size 16.”
She’s quick to point out there’s nothing wrong with being a size 14 or a 16, if that’s your natural size, but says: “I’m unhealthy and overweight if I’m that size, whereas with some people, that’s their weight and they’re healthy and happy.”
As with most things in life, what’s key to health and happiness is getting the balance right, notes Kelly, who fronts her own ITV show, Lorraine. “You’re in charge, you just have to balance it.
If you’re going out and you want to have a glass of wine, you can have one, of course you can, and of course you can have a pudding. But it’s all about trying to eat in a really healthy way, and not skipping meals and being on a stupid restrictive diet, because they just don’t work.”
Eating healthily, she believes, involves planning meals and regularly buying fresh food – just like her own mum used to.
“You need to think a bit more about what you’re eating, and plan meals, which helps you to not waste food. I’m buying as and when I need food – buying on a day-to-day basis like my mum used to do when I was growing up. It definitely cuts down on waste, and makes you think more about what you’re buying and right now, I think that’s really important.”
Kelly also exercises regularly, walking her dog every day and doing online workouts as often as she can. She loves taking a dip outdoors too.
“I love wild water swimming – I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, but now the weather’s getting a wee bit better, I’ll try to do it once a week, for sure. It’s good for you physically, and really good for you mentally too.”
She stresses it’s important to be careful and really respect the water when you’re swimming in lakes or lochs, and always swim with other people.
“I wouldn’t do it on my own,” says Kelly. “Be with a gang, which is fun anyway, and know your limitations – if you need to wear a wetsuit, wear one.
Be sensible – you have to be careful and don’t underestimate the water. But it’s fantastic when you’re in, and when you get out you feel totally revitalised. It’s wonderful.”
It might sound like Kelly’s back on the straight and narrow as far as her healthy lifestyle goes, but she stresses: “Of course you can fall off the wagon sometimes – you just pick yourself up and get back on, and it’s fine.
Cut yourself a little bit of slack and you’re OK. It really is about how you feel in yourself confidence-wise and, much more importantly, health-wise.
“I’m 62 now, and I want to be healthy for as long as I possibly can,” Kelly reflects. “You’ve got to start looking after yourself, and the healthier you are, the better. I want to enjoy life for as long as possible.”
Lorraine Kelly is an ambassador for WW (weightwatchers.com/uk)