Time to follow Adele’s lead and lose the lockdown pounds, says Christa Ackroyd

Singer Adele, seen here in 2016, has transformed her appearance. (PA).Singer Adele, seen here in 2016, has transformed her appearance. (PA).
Singer Adele, seen here in 2016, has transformed her appearance. (PA). | pa
I have deliberately avoided lockdown messages from celebrities on the basis that I have no interest whatsoever in seeing pictures of luvvies in lockdown with their perfect bodies sunbathing in skimpy bikinis, or sharing public meltdowns from their luxury pads.

They neither uplift nor interest me. Give me a Facebook post about cookery, cakes or cocktails and I am in. But this week there was one that caught my eye. Probably because it balances my rather unhealthy interest at present in the above.

I do love a good diet. I should do, I’ve been on enough of them. From the egg diet to the grapefruit diet, the Cambridge to the Atkins, you name it I’ve tried it, knowing all the while that the secret to losing weight is to eat less and move more. But trying to remind my lockdown brain of that these past few weeks has been easier said than done.

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Enter my latest body transformation queen just when I needed her. At seven stone lighter, singer Adele looks a different woman. She was always beautiful and, of course, gifted. But behind the bravado of being the poster girl for those of us who are, shall we say, less than sylph-like, Adele was clearly unhappy about her weight.

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She has chucked out the junk food and embarked on a rigorous regime of exercise to such an extent that if you passed her on the street (if you happen to live in Beverly Hills) you would not recognise her. Which of course has led to the trolls having a field day. Too skinny, too haggard, say some. (Probably the same people who previously labelled her too fat, including Chanel’s fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld). Well, good on her.

Adele has not lost weight to revamp her selling power. Her talent has proved she has no need to be skinny to be a success. No, she has changed her lifestyle for the best of reasons, her health. And her happiness. As she said way back in January: “I used to cry. Now I sweat.” Oh, to discover her discipline in these difficult times.

So indulge me in my lockdown days of overindulgence. I need to write this column to stick on my fridge. If I don’t I will waddle out the front door and kick myself when I can’t get into anything but stretch trousers and baggy tops. So step away from the biscuits, Christa. Put down the chocolate and put away the baking tins. And get a grip if you want to step into the real world in any sort of shape (whenever that may be).

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I have always had a difficult relationship with food. If I am fed up I eat. If I am anxious I eat more. If I am happy I eat to celebrate. If I am bored I can eat for England, and at the moment I am bored to tears. So half a stone on, having celebrated both my birthday and wedding anniversary this week, I am now writing this to remind myself that being fat is bad for my health.

This country is fat and getting fatter. We know that, it’s just that until now we have chosen to ignore it. More than 30 per cent of all adults in the UK are not just fat, they are clinically obese. Twenty-five per cent of children are overweight and 60 per cent of us carry too much weight. The figures have quadrupled in the last 25 years.

As we speculate why, disastrously, we have the highest Covid death rates in Europe, the scientists have hardly dare whisper that one of the reasons could be that we are not only the most densely populated, we are also the fattest. And if underlying health issues, age, gender and ethnicity appear to be significant when it comes to the impact of this dreadful virus, then so, too, might weight.

Obesity kills in normal times and it is now believed it could be killing even more during these dark days. And if we can’t change when we were born or to whom, we can do something about that.

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The findings so far are only tentative as the experts struggle to understand this new virus. One initial study in New York found obese people were more likely to be hospitalised with coronavirus than even cancer or patients with lung disease. And in the UK, initial data suggests it could be one factor in being unable to fight off the illness.

So it’s serious, and unlike genetics, it is something we can tackle ourselves. It has not been definitively proved but it is now considered a significant enough potential risk to be part of a study here in Britain which is expected to report back within a month. So I am giving myself a month not to be like Adele, but to get on track.

I know it’s not easy, but 15 years ago I made significant improvements to both my arthritis and lupus by changing my diet and losing some weight. And I am not prepared to make lockdown an excuse to undo all the hard work and the benefits it brought me. Virus or no virus.

I will never be slinky, nor will I make juices out of kale. But I can do better than I have been doing these last couple of weeks. So upstairs hanging up on the outside of my wardrobe is an outfit I can no longer fit into. My goal is to wear it when we are finally allowed out to go see friends.

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My fridge is once again filled with a rather more balanced mix of food that is both good for me and yet can still be a reward for surviving another week in this strange new world. But I will not be two stone heavier. Because when this is over, and I fear whatever Boris has to say tomorrow it will be a long time yet, I want to be both happy, nay ecstatic... and healthy.

And ready for the mother of all parties to celebrate... in my not so little black dress.

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James Mitchinson