Rosemary Conley interview

Rosemary Conley CBE, is one of the most recognisable faces in diet and exercise. She’s sold over five million books, made 30 fitness videos and has even had her own TV shows. She’s also a Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire and was the first woman to ever be granted the Freedom of the City of Leicester.

Despite turning 72 this year, she’s still working hard, involved with Rosemary Online, acting as the UK brand ambassador for Facial-Flex® and even writing her autobiography. We chatted with her about what inspired her to get into fitness and wellbeing and how she stays motivated

“My career was born from personal experience. When I first got married I gained weight – I put on two and a half stone and absolutely hated being overweight. So, I learned about calories and began to lose the weight.

It was then I decided to set up my own slimming club. I wanted my clubs to be different, incorporating making the most of yourself as well as weight loss, and that’s where ‘SAGG’ came from (Slimming and Good Grooming Club) in 1971.

Exercise pays dividends

“When I began suffering from a gallstone problem in the mid-80s I had to move to a low-fat diet and I found that the inches were melting away, which is when I wrote my Hip and Thigh Diet book.”

Rosemary’s book was an international best-seller in 1988, selling more than two million copies. Since then, she’s never wavered from her belief that a low-fat diet and regular exercise is the most effective way of losing weight and staying healthy.

“Fat has twice as many calories as carbs or protein, so cut down on the fat and you’re automatically cutting down on calories. Exercise is then like investing in a super saver bank account that pays double dividends, it burns fat and it makes the body less likely to store fat. Exercise is key to keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it.

Goose bumps

“Although I am incredibly proud of all the honours and accolades I’ve gained across the years, for me there is no better feeling than meeting the people that my methods have helped – when they tell me about how the weight loss has not only transformed their bodies, but their lives – I get goose bumps.”

Rosemary went on to write many best-sellers, reaching millions of people across the UK and worldwide with her diet plans, exercise routines and TV programmes.

Today Rosemary is working on a new project as the brand ambassador of Facial-Flex®, a clinically proven, natural alternative to cosmetic surgery.

“I first became aware of Facial-Flex® in 2000 – it’s a simple device that uses latex bands attached to a device that exercises 30 facial muscles. Clinical trials have shown that, during an eight-week period, there was a 250% increase in muscle strength – I’ve been using it every day for almost 18 years and absolutely swear by it.”

I love Leicestershire

Rosemary has never felt the draw to London or LA, but instead stayed true to her Leicestershire roots, still teaching her Monday night diet and exercise classes that she first set up more than 45 years ago.

“I love Leicestershire, we have great connections to the rest of the UK, beautiful parks, a rich history, great shopping and activities. It’s also where the charity I’m patron of is based – Steps."

Based in Shepshed, Steps Conductive Education Centre provides specialist nursery services for young children with motor disorders.

And her advice for staying healthy, with Christmas around the corner?

“Use the run-up to Christmas as motivation, just like you would a summer holiday. Think about looking good in your party outfits and try making exercise a social event by meeting friends, don’t use work or the dark evenings as an excuse!”