As one of the eight famous faces who travelled to India for the BBC documentary The Real Marigold Hotel earlier this year, Rosemary joined forces with the likes of Miriam Margolyes, Wayne Sleep and Jan Leeming to recreate the premise of the all-star film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, where a group of Brits see if they can find a better retirement in India than in the UK.
While Rosemary is by no means planning to retire to India anytime soon – if anything, her work schedule is busier than ever – she reveals the trip had a deep and lasting impact on her.
“It was quite spiritual for me personally and it made me reflect on myself and want to change things.”
For the documentary, Rosemary visited an Indian doctor, who told her that her health was in serious trouble. “Basically, he said ‘you are morbidly obese’, which is something I would never normally allow anyone else to say to me, not even my local doctor. I know I’m big and I always will be to a certain extent because it’s in my blood. But that really struck a chord. I realised that at this age things can go wrong and, you know, I needn’t be this big.
“It’s not that I feel large, I just don’t feel comfortable. So I thought, get a grip. Do something about it. I decided rather than not looking after myself, I would start taking care of my body.”
And that’s exactly what she’s done. For the past three months since she’s been back in the UK, Rosemary has embarked upon a brand new lifestyle that’s left her feeling on top of the world.
“I’m in a mindset where I’m feeling really good about myself and that’s not happened before. I’m in a place where I don’t drink. Don’t get me wrong, I love my drink, but I decided it didn’t really suit me anymore. I’ve decided to give up dairy products except milk in my coffee and I’m doing lots of yoga, which is something I took from India as well.
“Although I’m not doing it for weight loss – I’m doing it to feel better – I’ve noticed I am losing my weight. When I watch myself on my daytime show, The Chopping Block, I can’t believe it. I’m a different person. I feel marvellous.”
She’s adamant about getting fit enough to rediscover a favourite past- time. “My ambition is to take up tennis again. I used to be a great player, but I’ve been too fat to play. The determination to get back on the tennis court is helping spur on my change of lifestyle.”
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Did you know...?
- Having grown up with a love of food, helping her mother dig up fresh produce, Rosemary learned her trade by pluckily offering her services to London restaurants free of charge, until eventually famous chef Jean-Christophe Novelli took her under his wing
- After opening a restaurant in Cornwall, Rosemary then sadly lost everything in the Nineties when her business collapsed and her marriage broke down
- She rebuilt her life, later finding her way into television – she really made her name on the series Ladette to Lady – and then in her 50s, opening up her own business, The Rosemary Shrager Cookery School, which offers cookery courses and apprenticeships
- She has been a judge on Soapstar Superchef and also appeared on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
- She presents daytime show The Chopping Block with Bake-Off star John Whaite
- Rosemary has two children, Tom and Kate