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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion  

MH370 debris: A breakthrough, but only when the fuselage is found will the relatives find closure

Simon Calder
 

Racism in Britain: Labour's leadership candidates explain how they’d tackle racial inequality

Independent Voices
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'