Diet confessions of a prime minister

By Ruth Addicott

Tony Blair has confessed he has only been on a diet once and was advised not to do it again because it made him grumpy. At least, that is what he told Best magazine editor Louise Court during a visit to Downing Street.

Court and a group of Best readers were invited to join the Blairs for tea at No10 as part of the magazine’s “Best of Health” campaign.

The campaign, which has received support from the Department of Health, has been running in the magazine for the past six months and focuses on ways to fit exercise into busy lifestyles, giving up smoking, losing weight and reducing stress.

Readers were asked to send in their New Year’s resolutions, with the winners being given a chance to discuss their progress with the PM.

Four groups of readers were invited along to Downing Street but the visit had to be cancelled twice because of the war. In the end, only two groups of readers were able to attend – the Pennyfeather sisters (otherwise known as the “shrinking sisters”) from Birmingham, who collectively lost five stone, and the “checkout girls” from Cornwall, who collectively lost 20 inches from fitness regimes.

Blair told the readers he found time to exercise four times a week. “He said he’d only been on a diet once and was really grumpy so everyone had begged him not to go on one again,” Court told Press Gazette. “But he enjoys working out and finds that very important.” Cherie said the key to her success was having a personal fitness trainer and chatted about the importance of keeping healthy, doing exercise and eating well.

Best received a huge response to the campaign from readers. “It was a great success, it went down really well,” Court said. “The readers found the Blairs very approachable and easy to talk to. There was no pomp and ceremony and it would be fantastic to do it again next year.”

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