Debbie Flint

Photo copyright Debbie Flint

Hi Debbie, Happy New Year to you and your family and friends. It is a while since our last interview and I think it is time for a ‘catch up!’

First of all I want to congratulate you on your new book which is now published. Till the Fat Lady Slims - Break free from Food Prison (2017) Can you tell us how this differs from your past hugely successful diet books?

It is a revamp and an update for 2017. The layout has been completely changed, so it is easier for a beginner to get to grips with freedom eating and the six principles that help you think and act like a slim person and make dieting a thing of the past. All the regular pointers are in there about listening to your body and picking up on what it needs genuinely, rather than putting yourself through endless diets and yo-yo weight loss and gain. No more last suppers, and no more beating yourself up if you transgress.

But the biggest thing is that there are extra chapters, quite a lot actually, about my own circumstances and what happened to me including some painful truths and incidents. I find it is this sharing that helps people to realise they are not alone as so many people tell me it was like reading about themselves!

Do you find it difficult to eat a healthy diet with working different shifts on QVC?

That is a really good question. And no it's not hard, when I get my act in gear and take my own salads and vegetable lunches in. Often I am actually using up what I made for myself the night before so it's not too bad but at the moment as I am in between running a writing retreat in Devon, half the week, and working at QVC in Chiswick half the week, I end up staying at my brothers where it is more difficult to do my own meals. Fortunately Qvc has an excellent cafe or restaurant which can usually serve healthy fayre.

The word SUGAR is described in many ways by people, but EVIL is the word often used nowadays. It is very hard not to eat sugar in some form as it is found hidden in many food and drink products. Do you have any tips on how to avoid it?

Yes there are several suggestions in my book, there are also many many really brilliant plans out there, some of which I list. The thing is, my book acknowledges the fact that to listen to your body properly you have to recognise a sugar addiction. If you can get off the need for sugar every day - and even the need for a breakfast of fruit, cereal, so-called healthy yoghurt et cetera can indicate a sugar addiction – then you can truly listen to what your body most needs, food wise, at each meal. It is the freedom of choice that makes it so easy to follow the principles in till the fat lady slims. As a dichotomy however it also means I have to tell myself I can have the sugar if I want it - if my body wants it. That way I don't want it if you get my meaning. Freedom eating is more about the mindset change surrounding your habits of a lifetime regarding food, than a diet. But we do recognise the need to get off sugar. One of my tips is to cut back gradually as I did with tea and coffee many years ago after watching 'sugar the bitter truth' on YouTube. The second recommendation is to watch as many videos like that as is possible, as it helps your brain make better choices when you really know what sugar is doing inside your body, There are lots more recommendations like that in the book and also on my website in a blog called 'aids to giving up sugar' which you'll find on the homepage. The third thing is to start drinking hot water with a tiny splash of lemon juice in it first thing in the morning definitely, and also several times a day. It actually helps in lots of ways but, If you can alter your palate, then other things taste too sweet anyway. It only takes about two weeks of going cold turkey - if someone can do it that way- before your body actually frees it self from the need to keep eating sugary things or even simple carbs like crisps and chips. It's quite a revelation once you realise how your body behaves when you are sugar free. No afternoon energy crash either. It really is evil!

You have an extremely busy life and yet always manage to look so happy and healthy, is this down to disciplined diet and exercise?

Yes, and mindset. Since one of the principles of freedom eating is to observe what happens to your body afterwards, I know that my mood changes when I have chocolate and too much sweet stuff for too long a time. I've become quite down. So avoiding that is important. However, Happiness is a choice. I think all the books and self-help resources I have used over the years have made me realise that you can be in charge of your own happiness, you just have to see joy in every day little things. For instance I am writing this sitting in my brothers Annex this morning, with the ability to just relax, no children to attend to, no responsibilities of any kind, and just having a cup of tea in peace, reading the morning newspaper, is one of my little joys. There is a brilliant author called Wayne Dyer, if anyone can get his books, and there are many, he is full of great advice. His morning meditations on manifesting your destiny are also very good. This will not be for everybody butwhen someone is ready for it can be a revelation.

Debbie Flint

Photo copyright Debbie Flint

I remember interviewing you about your role in Medical Detection Dogs. and also publishing an article about you at Crufts last year I see you are now an ambassador. What does the role involve?

At the moment, promoting and sharing on social media, whenever there is anything interesting going on. And then joining in in events and trying to publicise them. There is an event on 2 April called 'dogs day out' near the HQ in Milton Keynes, which I hopefully will be able to go along to. Turning up there and showing support is important. Also I do my own fundraising and I'm helping to buy the industrial freezers (£5k each, two so far) they need to store urine samples at minus 80 degrees for the prostate cancer research trials that are ongoing, they have about a year and a half left and they should be able to be part of the NHS screening service for prostate cancer, officially. How exciting is that. I also sponsor dogs myself, which anyone can do - just contact them, it's all on their website. A £2000 donation means you can actually name one of the puppies as well, I have named two so far after my mum and dad, they are called Derek and Lesley it makes me very proud to be associated with them. :)

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