Lifestyle

Thursday 28 August 2014

'There's no secret, I just ate less' – four stone lighter, Twink is a new woman

SHOWBIZ: Twink with her daughter Chloe at a party for the ‘Sunday Independent’s’ ‘LIFE’ magazine. Photo: Kieran Harnett
SHOWBIZ: Twink with Brendan O'Connor at the ‘LIFE’ party. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Twink with Lorraine Keane, right, in 2012. Photo: Paul Sherwood

WHEN the sharp-tongued comedienne Kathy Griffin was asked what the magical secret behind her dramatic weight loss was she deadpanned: "stress and worry."

Given her financial troubles over the years Irish entertainment legend Adele King, aka Twink, would seem to have had a surplus of stress to work with but still her transformation has been truly astonishing. Four stone and two pounds lighter, she is now a new woman. A tiny new woman.

So how did she do it? "Really there's no great secret to it," she tells me – ironically on a break from filming one of her cake decoration classes.

"My father was a great horseman and Sligoman and he used to say to me about diet, 'you get the nose out of the nosebag'. But it's any version of the adage you like. Push back from the table. Buy yourself a smaller plate. Basically, just eat less."

Six year ago, Adele looked quite different. One commentator described her looking on the Late Late Show as "tired, plumper" and "not well".

The true story was rather more complex.

"The basic skeleton of the story is I had started to put that late middle-aged weight on," Adele tells me.

"The pounds slipped into half a stone. And it was almost like, 'Ah sure the other stone is a good next door neighbour for the first stone'.

"I had a desperate fall last year", she adds. "I fell into this manhole – it was extremely dangerous. I was severely injured – both my hands and legs. And there I was sitting at home having a pity party myself. I was looking at my hands, thinking I might never walk again. So I'll just have a meal and a glass of wine. In October, my producer Robert P Kelly was standing in the kitchen and he reminded me that the costumes were coming in from Berman's and Nathan's. The rule with them is 'you fit the frock.' But the frock is not touchable because it's thousands of pounds worth of bone and lace. To me they looked like these costumes wouldn't fit an anorexic cat. And so I was heading back upstairs with my large supper and wine.

"I thought: 'I'm starting tomorrow.' And then I just said: 'No. I'm starting tonight.' I put the food back in the fridge and that was where it all began. It clicked something in my head. I'm the biggest slob when it comes to putting on the weight but when it comes to taking it off, I do it with equal determination. I'm like Alexander The Great. There is no deviation."

She didn't work out, she says, but thanks to "muscle memory" she is now very toned.

Given her famous skill at decorating cakes and her love of food generally, exercising such heroic willpower must have been particularly difficult for Adele.

"I am a great cook", she tells me matter-of-factly. "I love good wine. I look at it and admire it but I haven't eaten what I call actual food since October. I haven't really been working out. I haven't had a lot of time."

Adele's two daughters Chloe and Naomi have also lost weight – and Adele says all three of them are now eight stone. "I didn't do it for them or anyone else," she tells me. "I did it because I hated how I felt. It wasn't as much even the visual thing of how I looked. It was how I felt on the inside. I felt it wasn't fair to my public who pay to see me. I did it with the usual gusto I take things on with."

Weight has always been a sore point for Twink. "My dilemma was that I was the chubby one, whereas the other two were enviably thin and so I would freak at some of the skin-tight outfits they suggested," she once wrote of her time in girl group Maxi, Dick and Twink. "Granted I was seen as the most multi-talented of the group but when you're 15-years-old and in a girl band, who wouldn't want to be the thin, beautiful one." Dick would taunt her about road signs: "Oh look maximum weight, 250 tonnes. You'd better get out now Twinkles."

Such taunts must seem very distant now. "I haven't a stitch to wear." Adele tells me. "Beautiful clothes were given to me over the years which never fitted me, now they fit me. But when you're the right size, a bin bag looks good on you."

What about keeping the weight off – something so many women struggle with? "I have a wonderful lifelong friend in another country who just did AA – she says one day at a time – I really think that applies to food. At my age it seems like an awful lot of huff and puff and bother to put it all on and lose it all again."

Twink laughs and gives a flash of that famous wit: "When the time comes, it will be cheaper to get a smaller box with brass handles."

Sunday Independent

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