Tell us about your new campaign that’s launched this New Year with Activia.
It’s the brand new campaign for 2013 and it’s all about feeling good from within, the campaign is completely on point with everything I’ve been doing for the last 10 years on television. It’s about getting women to feel good about themselves and not succumbing to the pressures of yo-yo dieting, hard-core campaigns or the plastic surgery side, it’s all about treating yourself and making sure that you’re ok and looking after yourself and everything else will fall into place.
Why’s it important that women take time for themselves and make themselves feel good on the inside?
I think that women are under more pressure than they have ever been under, and that’s down to lots of things like the economy, work, keeping up with your lifestyle, families and so forth and I’ve found that a lot of the women that I’ve worked with over the years the person who comes last in their lives is themselves because they spend so much time caring about other people. That is brilliant and that is great, I do believe in looking after the people around you but at the same time, health and wellbeing is about looking after yourself. It isn’t about having expensive massages or going to weekend spas it’s about you looking after your standard of living and your health is a massive part of that. As everybody knows I don’t promote diets, I don’t tell people that they should lose weight, what I do do is I tell women that they have to look after themselves, whether that’s a manicure once a month or eating the right food which gives them a level of energy to get on with their lives or being kind to themselves and putting themselves first for once.
Do you get to take much time for yourself and treat yourself?
Well this is one of the reasons why I’m doing the campaign because I feel like I’m going on this campaign myself because I definitely need to introduce that more into my time. I’m very lucky because I have people that look after me and manage my time for me. I’m lucky enough to look after myself because it’s part of my job to do that, but the idea of getting more rest and taking time out and having more headspace is definitely going to be a New Year’s Resolution for me. I also don’t want to be one of those people that just puts my face to a campaign and walks away from it; I want to make sure that I’m involved with doing it as well.
What sort of things will you be doing in the New Year to help you relax?
Seven hours of sleep a night, I want to read a book every month, I’m not going to put so much pressure on myself, I’m going to try and have as many of my weekends free as possible, I have a dog so I’m going to be quite strict that I do the dog walking and my new one which is going to be switching my mobile off, which I’ve never done. I’ve had a mobile for many years and I’ve never ever switched it off, so now it is going to be switched off from 9pm till 6am. That’s a big thing for me.
How can women make themselves feel good on the inside?
Obviously a lot of it is diet, not lose-weight-diet, but what you eat. Just make sure that you’ve got some balance in your life. I don’t think it’s right for anyone to turn around and say stop drinking so much, don’t eat fried food. What fuel you put into your body is very important. It’s not just about dresses, shoes and handbags, it’s about what fuel you put into your body and again I reiterate that this is not about weight loss, it’s about making sure that you feel as healthy as you possibly can. If you are going to splurge out and have a month of bad eating and drinking, that’s absolutely fine as far as I’m concerned but what you need to do is get some balance to make sure that you are looking after yourself and you are getting your five-a-day, making sure you’re getting your minerals, protein. That’s been a huge part of me growing up in catering, my mum, dad and me we fed people so we had to make sure that we were giving people the right amount of portions, things aren’t too heavily fried because it doesn’t make you feel very good about yourself.
You battled with your weight when you were younger, so how do you control it now?
Well, I still battle and I think that anyone with a disease will continue to have the disease and whether that’s over-eating or under-eating I think that’s just something that I’ve learned to live with over the years. I make sure that I’ve got a very healthy perspective on what I look like and what I should look like and what makes me happy. This year I’ve gained weight because I’ve not been very well with my back so I haven’t been able to go to the gym and stuff, so what I’ve done is get some balance with the rest of my life. So I know that when I’m exercising I have slightly more leeway with what I’m eating and drinking. I try not to deny myself anything, but I also know that when I overeat I’m doing it for a reason, either I’m not very happy or I’m stressed out, so it’s about recognising all of these things and making sure you have the tools in place to combat them.
What diet tips do you have for people who want to lose weight this New Year?
I don’t, I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I don’t give diet tips out. There are so many diets out there, whether it’s Atkins, Dukan or your diet clubs, the way I stand I would be slightly a hypocrite to give out tips telling people to lose weight when I’ve always told people to celebrate the body that you’re in and afterwards your body will start celebrating you. A lot of the time when I’ve done the TV shows women have felt better about themselves and naturally they’ve lose weight because a lot of the times people overeat for security, for comfort or because they’re very unhappy. When you feel better about yourself and you feel healthier in your overall aesthetic and when you look in the mirror you get a pleasant feeling as opposed to a feeling of dread you won’t need to find comfort in food as maybe you did.
Exercise is a great way to make you feel good, what do you do to stay in shape?
My job as a stylist is very active, but up until February last year I was going to the gym about 4 times a week and I really enjoyed that part of exercise, I’d never enjoyed exercise before in my life but I really got into it, but then my back got bad and I had to stop. I do plan on going back to the gym this year when my back has healed.
If you could suggest a couple of New Year’s Resolutions for women to make to make them feel better on the inside, what would you suggest?
I would say definitely look at alcohol, alcohol is a big contributing factor to women not feeling good about themselves. Drinking water is huge and something that we all need to do more of. And limiting yourself to splurging. Then of course don’t deny yourself, just make sure that you’re aware of what you’re drinking and eating. Anything in excess can become quite harmful. Give yourself a new haircut, a new colour, looking after your skin, maybe speak to someone at a beauty counter and ask for advice on new make-up or a skincare regime – all of that stuff can be quite inexpensive and make a huge difference as well. I think if you can afford it just once a month having a massage done, getting a manicure or a pedicure, letting someone do your grooming instead of having to do an at-home job, all of those little treats can help. I think working out a budget as well is important because you can only do what you can afford. Whether you’ve got £10, £50 or £100 a month, making sure that you spend that money wisely and you’re getting the most from it. It might be a new lipstick and it could be as simple as that or it might be a weekend away with your girlfriends at a spa.
Other than this Activia campaign, what other things have you got going on in 2013?
I’ve got the new makeover show which started last night, Gok’s Style Secrets on Channel 4, which takes singletons and gets them ready for the dating market, there’s a documentary that will be shown this spring that I can’t reveal anything about and then my regulars, the Sainsbury’s collection, beauty products, glasses, underwear all of the stuff that I design, so yes, there’s going to be lots going on once again.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies
Gok Wan is the new brand ambassador for Activia’s Feel Good from Within 2013 campaign. Activia and Gok are on a mission to change the way women feel good this year, and help women all around the UK feel good from within. Activia is a source of calcium. Calcium helps maintain healthy bones. Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle
Check out www.facebook.com/activiaUK and on here you’ll be able to access Activia and Gok’s top feel good tips for 2013 by clicking on the “I pledge” button