Heart FM DJ Lucy Horobin used to exercise to get into a special dress for a celeb shindig – but all that has changed.
Now 42, Lucy says she loves fitness and mindfulness at this stage of life, to stay healthy rather than skinny – and she doesn’t mind giving in to the temptation of a bit of cheese or cake.
The presenter chats fitness and wellness tips to get you through the dark winter months.
Are you a gym and health nut these days?
I used to be massively into gym workouts, but now mix it up with lots of long walks, so I don’t get bored. I’m pretty healthy in general, but also have a bottomless appetite, so tend to eat as healthily as possible in the week and treat myself more at the weekend.
That said, if there’s cake on offer any day of the week, I’d never turn it down. I also can’t go a day without cheese. It’s a lifelong addiction and one I’m very happy to have. Perhaps I was a mouse in a former life…
So is walking your new hobby?
Lots of walking. I often get off my train at London Bridge then walk to work at Heart in Leicester Square. It’s about 40 minutes door to door and I love wandering all the way along the Embankment, particularly on a Saturday morning when it’s just me, a few runners, and some friendly dogs.
Do you also walk on days off?
There’s loads of forests and woodland around where I live. I love nothing more than going on a long walk first thing. It keeps my anxious mind calm. I love listening to the birds sing on my way and watching the sunlight stream through the trees. You can’t beat fresh air and nature.
There’s a little stream nearby with a small bridge over it. My partner and I call it ‘Fairy Bridge’ and we like to just sit there sometimes and watch the sunset.
Has your attitude to fitness changed over the years?
Definitely. When I was younger, I cared so much more about fitting into a size 8, so I’d exercise more because of that. Unfortunately, it’s a reality for so many women.
We’re under that kind of pressure from the moment we’re born, and it really shouldn’t be the case. Now that I’m in my forties, exercise is less about fitting into that dress and more about maintaining a healthy, well-functioning body and mind.
Is there a misconception that skinny is better than fit?
It’s going to be a long time before that misconception is challenged for good. Firstly, for women, we are born into a sexist, misogynistic world which has long told us we’re sexual objects.
Apparently, on top of that, to be considered desirable we must be thin, too. It’s been perpetuated massively by the digitally altered images we see on magazine covers, billboards, our TV screens and online.
I imagine men feel the pressure, too, when they see an Adonis staring at them from a giant billboard. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have rippling abs. Equally there’s nothing wrong with a dad bod – but we never see that.
Do you think this can ever change?
We now have many more health and fitness experts educating us on the importance of looking after ourselves, spreading the message that you don’t have to be skinny to be healthy. There are more public-facing ambassadors championing the cause, too.
However, until we stop using terminology such as ‘plus size’, and just accept the fact that healthy can be any shape or size, it’ll continue to be a problem. Yes, obesity can be incredibly unhealthy, but so can being dangerously thin… it isn’t a case of one size fits all.
Do you always try to stay in shape?
Occasionally I’ll go an entire month without setting foot in the gym because I just don’t feel like it. I don’t ever let it be longer than that, but once in a while I give myself a break. It’s mostly in winter when it’s cold, wet, and windy.
Sometimes, I’d just rather be in my PJs on the sofa, eating macaroni cheese and watching Come Dine With Me.
How important is mindfulness?
It’s incredibly important to me. I speak with a counsellor every two weeks and have done for the past decade. I sought help at a traumatic time and decided to carry on with it.
She’s amazing and recommended the Calm app to help with my anxiety. I use it whenever I need space from my cluttered mind. It’s brilliant.
What is the most stressful thing for you, day to day?
At the moment it’s trying to buy a house. It’s a roller coaster. The market isn’t in a good place and we were let down by someone pulling out of buying my partner’s flat at the last minute.
I live to eat! I will always eat my fruit and veg, good carbs and lean protein. But I also adore cheese, cakes, burgers, roast dinners, pizza, pasta and practically any kind of takeaway.
Baking cakes is a favourite hobby and I love sharing them with colleagues, friends and family. Anything I bake must pass the ‘made with love’ taste test, so of course, I have to try them.
I’m also the Head of the Cheeseboard at Christmas in my family. I balance out the hard, soft, blue and stinky varieties. And I always bring home-made piccalilli and mulled wine jam to accompany them.
Any fitness goals?
A triathlon would be an amazing achievement. I do love a good hike – I’d quite like to take on the Three Peaks Challenge.
Best health and fitness advice?
Work out what works for you. Don’t spend time trying to do exercise you aren’t comfortable with. Don’t deny yourself anything, either. Eat that steak bake, enjoy a cream doughnut. Nothing is off-limits in moderation. Eat well, exercise, take time to just breathe and think, and you’ll be all right.
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