Mary Berry has made a name for herself as a chef, writer, television presenter, and national treasure – and yet, like so many other women in the public eye, she is constantly asked deeply personal questions incessantly about her weight and diet.
Now, in an interview with new! magazine, the octogenarian has reminded thoughtless people why they should stop praising others on their ‘weight loss achievements’.
Asked how she stays in shape – despite her self-confessed fondness for cakes and boozy bakes – Berry reflected on the question for a moment.
“I’ve got smaller,” she admitted.
However, she went on to add that her weight plummeted after the death of her beloved son, William.
“Sadly, we lost a son,” she said.
“William died and I lost a stone and a half and I never put it on again.”
Berry’s son was just 19-years-old when he passed away in 1989.
Speaking about her son’s untimely death on The Mary Berry Story, the talented food writer and chef said: “Will came back from [university] on the Friday night and he hadn't been home for a few weekends, so I thought I'll do roast lamb, because it's his favourite.
“I can remember Will walking through the door on that Friday and asking ‘Mum, who's coming?’ And I said, ‘It's you, it's so lovely to have you home and Annabel and Tom too’, so we had a lovely family meal.”
Berry went on to describe the events of the next morning, explaining that William asked his parents if he could borrow their car for a trip into town.
Heartbreakingly, he never returned home again.
“It was a glorious January day,” reflected Berry. “And it was sort of one o’clock and he wasn’t home.
“The doorbell rang and there was a policeman there and immediately then I knew why.
“And he said there’s been an accident and I’m sorry to say your son is dead.”
Berry is not the first to challenge interviewers over their obsession with celebrity weight loss: Lena Dunham, in a lengthy Instagram post, recently addressed every member of the press who dared to comment on her “weight loss transformation”.
The 30-year-old said: “Right now I'm struggling to control my endometriosis through a healthy diet and exercise. So my weight loss isn't a triumph and it also isn't some sign I've finally given in to the voices of trolls. Because my body belongs to ME – at every phase, in every iteration, and whatever I'm doing with it.
“I'm not handing in my feminist card to anyone.”
Holly Willoughby, similarly, declined to answer any questions about her dietary or fitness habits during an interview with Prima.
“I actually avoid talking about my diet and exercise regime because I have interviewed so many people affected by eating disorders,” the 36-year-old told the magazine. “I know that some people in chat rooms can really fixate on other people’s diets. I just can’t contribute to that.”
When pressed for more information about her daily eating habits, Willoughby’s response was blunt and to the point.
“I love food,” she said. “It’s a celebration, something to be talked over, shopped for, cooked and enjoyed.”
With so many women in the public eye prepared to challenge body-shaming and the media’s obsession with weight, we can only hope that the narrative will be changed soon.
Images: Rex Pictures