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Me and my health: Playwright Lata Sharma on her lifestyle

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Write stuff: Lata Sharma

Write stuff: Lata Sharma

Write stuff: Lata Sharma

The former actress and broadcaster turned playwright was due to premier her debut play Sausage Sodas and Onion Bhajees at the Lyric Theatre in April but it was postponed due to the pandemic. Since then she wrote a short drama, Anniversary Lockdown, for the Lyric's Splendid Isolation series. Married to pilot Paul, Lata lives in Bangor and they have three children, aged 22, 20 and 17.

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: I absolutely hate fresh air and exercise. I'd rather have a mug of coffee and a muffin any day of the week. I probably gained a bit of weight, having had children and staying at home. I ate my way though my three pregnancies.

About five years ago I did start to take it a bit more seriously. I joined a gym and I've gone on and off over the years. I tried the treadmill and stair climbing and I would do a little bit of weights. Resistance exercises would be important as my mother had osteoporosis.

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: I experienced the flu about seven years ago. It's probably the sickest I've ever been and that was 10 days in bed. Apart from that I broke my ankle once - I couldn't believe how restrictive it was, especially doing all the cooking, washing and looking after three children.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: A few years ago I did a lot of different diets, the ones where you're counting every morsel you put in your mouth. In the last couple of years I started following the 5-2 fasting diet. It's a very gradual weight loss and it allowed me to fast two days a week and the other five days I was able to pretty much eat what I wanted. I got back into clothes I haven't worn since the children were born and going shopping for new outfits was the best thing.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I'm spending far too much money on clothes since losing the weight. I think shopping has become far too easy for me since I discovered you can do it online.

Q: Do you drink and smoke and if so, how much?

A: I don't smoke at all, never have. I don't drink at home - I'm a social drinker and I love to meet up with friends, go out with my husband and have two or three glasses.

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: In the last couple of years, I've started to take more care of myself. I take probiotics, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, fish oils. I think my immune system should be as healthy as possible, so with my ethnicity I've been taking Vitamin D for a while. The more melanin you have in your skin, the more vitamin D you need.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Time out for me has been my journey back to work, writing my play and doing what I loved, rekindling a lot of friendships and spending time with my husband and kids.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I sleep quite well - in a good night I'd get about six and a half hours.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: My mother was very sick and spent 16 years with Parkinson's. It was difficult to watch and difficult for her as someone who was a very strong Indian woman who ran businesses with my father and was left falling physically apart. I don't mind getting old, but I don't want to get old that way.

Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Kefir, a fermented milk drink like thin yoghurt. My grandmother had it in India and we grew up eating live yoghurt as a natural accompaniment to everything. I would take a lot of live bacteria - it's good to have in your lower gut because it helps to absorb nutrients.

Anniversary Lockdown by Lata Sharma is available on BBC iPlayer as part of the Splendid Isolation series produced by The Lyric Theatre and BBC Arts and filmed under lockdown restrictions

Belfast Telegraph