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

Application Support Analyst (SQL, CRM, CMS)

£25000 - £29000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Application Suppor...

SEN Teacher - Cerebral Palsy

£75 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education are looki...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Nursery Nurse - Melton Mowbray

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education are current...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments