Theresa May, weight loss, and what to do for Lent when you've nothing left to give up

Keith Vaz invited charges of sexism commenting on the Home Secretary's weight

Share
Related Topics

It's not only Theresa May who's lost a little weight recently. I, too, have shed some excess baggage. Eight kilos, to be precise. That's a bit more than a stone, for those who prefer to look at it that way (it does sound more dramatic in the old denomination). I don't kid myself that this is anything more than a drop in the ocean, but people do notice the difference. The comments range from “you look well” - from those who are being polite and supportive - to “blimey, you've lost at least two of your chins” - this was said by someone I was paying by the hour to give me professional advice.

I understand that all such remarks about the small transformation of my personal appearance are meant as compliments, but it's hard to know exactly how to take them. I generally just thank people for their kind observation, but part of me is left to wonder: did I really look that terrible before? We do not know what Mrs May, who has always looked rather splendid, thinks of the comments about her weight loss made by fellow MP, Keith Vaz, on Twitter.

It is hard for Mr Vaz to avoid a charge of sexism. Were he to lose some weight - not a bad idea, if you ask me - he could expect a positive reaction. But what did he say about Mrs May? “A bit worried about Home Secretary,” he wrote. “She is looking a bit thin these days. A new diet or pressure of work?” Was he trying to score an obscure political point? Or was he just being offensively patronising?

Why is a woman's weight loss a source of worry, while a man's is cause for rejoicing? What's more, it is hard to imagine a situation where a male Cabinet Minister's weight is commented upon (oops, forgotten about Nigel Lawson.) Mrs May watches what she eats, is a regular at the gym and goes on vigorous walking holidays in Switzerland. No wonder she looks good. I'm not aware of anyone being concerned about me, and, as far as I know, no one has suggested that the pressure of work has wrought this change in my physical shape.

But, like the Home Secretary, I've put the hard yards in, too. I've given up drinking. I had my last alcoholic beverage on New Year's Eve, and I'm not sure when my next one will be. In truth, I'm enjoying waking up and not having to gather my senses together. However, it means that I'm now running out of things I can give up. I quit smoking more than three years ago, and as an experiment, I gave up red meat for Lent last year. Despite one or two lapses, I have managed to keep this up ever since (there's no chance of an inadvertent mouthful of horse meat on my diet).

So when Lent came round this time, I had very little to give. I liked the answer of a friend of mine, the editor of a men's magazine, who stayed in character when asked what he was giving up for Lent. Broccoli and women I don't find attractive, he said. Have a great weekend.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst, Retail Bank, £375-400p/d

£375 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Embedded Software Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + V. Competitive : Progressive Recruitment: Embedded...

Senior SAP HR Business Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a Global Professional Service...

SAP FICO CONSULTANT/BUSINESS ANALYST

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP FICO CONSUL...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Are we politely looking the other way when it comes to Kate, the ever-shrinking Duchess?

Grace Dent
 

The daily catch-up: art of the unapology, a bet on UKIP and printer ink molecules

John Rentoul
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game