Lorraine Kelly: Nobody's perfect – and that's ok
After more than 30 years together, keeping her marriage healthy and self-care go hand-in-hand for Lorraine Kelly.
“You’ve got to have a wee bit of ‘me time’, just to breathe, just to exhale,” says the Glasgow-born TV presenter.
“Me and my husband – we obviously get on well, we’ve been together for such a long time – but he needs his own space and so do I, and I think that’s absolutely vital,” adds Kelly, 63, who’s been married to cameraman Steve Smith since 1992.
“He’s really sporty and goes off to football, golf, he goes for giant walks and does all of that, and I’ll sit curled up with a book.”
She admits prioritising time for herself is “relatively new” though – “because I’m a bit of a workaholic”, says Kelly, who’s been fronting her eponymous ITV morning show since 2010.
“But I love what I do, so I don’t consider it working. [I get to] read books before they’re out, see movies before they come out, interview interesting people. I learn something new every day, which keeps you mentally active, and that to me is a joy.
“But I was very guilty in the past or just work, work, work, work, work, without taking a breath.”
These days, she also makes time for regular online workout classes and plenty of walks with beloved border terrier Angus, near their home in Buckinghamshire (“He’s a great listener!” she notes, with a laugh). As well as being precious ‘me time’, it’s part of her commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Kelly joined WW (WeightWatchers) early last year, unhappy with her weight after gaining a stone-and-a-half during lockdown. Continuing her role as an ambassador for the brand, she’s just filmed a cook-along with chef Zena Kamgaing, which sees the duo whip up healthier versions of some of the nation’s favourite comforts foods: a hearty Sunday roast and gooey cheese toastie.
A survey by WW (which quizzed 2000 people) found four out five people want to eat healthier in the new year but don’t want to sacrifice fun and flavour. Two-thirds also admit it’s hard to resist their favourite foods – especially right now when it’s cold, dark and gloomy, with over half (53%) saying they comfort-eat to help beat the January Blues.
Kelly can relate – which is why she’s all about taking a gentle approach to the new year.
“I think it’s crazy in January all of a sudden to say, ‘I’m going for a 10-mile run’, or going on a stupid, faddy diet, because they don’t work. We know diets don’t work – you will lose weight, but you’ll just put it all back on again because it’s not sustainable.
“It’s great to have goals,” she adds, “but make it realistic. Because so many people towards the end of [January] are just like, ‘Oh forget it’, and that’s sad.”
For her now, it’s about an ongoing “lifestyle choice” – which includes room to “cut yourself a wee bit of slack” here and there, and to enjoy life.
“Like everybody over Christmas, we do indulge ourselves a bit more than any other time of the year and we hunker down and make excuses a little bit. I have continued with the plan that I’ve been on – but of course, when I’ve been totting my points up, I’ve been over it a few times, that’s just how things are.”
She says she’s getting “back on track” now but it’s “not as dramatic” as when she first started on her WW plan in early 2022.
“This time last year, I really needed help,” says Kelly, adding she finds the WW app particularly helpful.
“Also, for me, one of the big things has been the community. Social media gets a really bad name, but on the app and using the fact there’s so many of us embarking on this together, sharing experiences and tips and lifting each other up is really, really good.
“I think that’s what it’s all about these days – supporting each other. We all just want to be as healthy and happy as we can be.”
One thing she doesn’t like about social media however is the “unrealistic expectations” it can set in terms of body image, especially for teenagers.
“I was lucky because my daughter [Rosie Smith] is 28 now, so she kind of missed a lot of that – Instagram filters, unrealistic expectations – and I’m very glad about that because I think that’s absolutely toxic for young kids, I really do.
“For girls and boys – that whole thing of perfection, because there’s no such thing!” she exclaims. “And what you think is beautiful, somebody else doesn’t – it’s so subjective. But this is the one thing I think is very dangerous about social media, that whole idea of perfection.”
Besides, Kelly’s job has taught her that everyone has their share of insecurities anyway, regardless of how ‘perfect’ they might appear.
“I remember talking to [Nineties supermodel] Cindy Crawford, who is gorgeous – she was on the show and she’s like, ‘Ohhh I don’t like my thighs’, and you’re like, ‘What?! You’re a Goddess!’
“So even people that we think are perfect, they’re not, and we’re all different,” she reflects. “I think it’s about accepting your body. I’ve got lumps and bumps and scars and all the rest of it – but it’s OK, it’s alright. It’s about feeling healthy.
“It’s about feeling better in yourself,” adds Kelly. “There really isn’t one size and that’s what you’re supposed to be. But there is a size that you are at your best.”
Lorraine Kelly is a brand ambassador for WW. Losing weight with WeightWatchers just got easier with an updated, simplified program that helps you to lose weight, keep it off, and still enjoy the food you love. Visit weightwatchers.com