I love Nigella. She is an English journalist, television personality, and food writer. Her second cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goddess, couldn’t have been written by anyone more fitting of such a title. If you’ve never watched her on television, her voice is incredibly soothing – I often listen to clips of her on YouTube when it’s late at night and I’m stressed out! I like that she focuses on simple, fuss-free recipes (although she tends to use ingredients that are hard to come by where I live).
I also admire her for being a realistic and honest role model when it comes to her body image and lifestyle. Her approach to life is, in a word, refreshing. Here are some life lessons I have drawn from the ever elegant and inimitable Nigella Lawson.
- Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
That saucy photo of Nigella at the top of the page? You’ll hardly ever see her wearing a dress like that in public. She’s famous worldwide for her voluptuous curves and ample bosom, but she chooses not to put them on display every day. She always looks classy and tasteful, yet there’s no denying how stunning she truly is.
- Thinness doesn’t equate health.
Having lost her ex-husband John Diamond to throat cancer in 2001, her younger sister to breast cancer in 1993, and her mother to liver cancer in 1985, Nigella has said, “I don’t equate thinness with healthiness, as other people do, because I’ve only ever seen people get thin and then die.”
- It’s okay to admit that you are trying to lose weight.
Nigella has been very open in interviews regarding her efforts to lose weight as she gets older. “I got to an age where it was either eat less or move more,” she says. She doesn’t do fad diets, but makes an effort to eat healthier and exercise regularly. She’s not afraid to admit how unpleasant exercising is and how frustrating weight loss can be, nor is she pretending that weight loss isn’t a part of her life (which is what most celebrities seem to do, with their “I never exercise” or “life’s too short to worry about my weight” taglines).
- There is no need to criticize the lifestyle choices of others.
Nigella: “I remember Elizabeth Hurley once said, ‘It’s either the cookie jar or the size six jeans’. Well, fair enough. She would rather the size six jeans, I would rather the cookie jar. In the end, you make that choice. If wearing certain clothes matters most to you, then that is going to be your priority, whereas I could probably do that for two days but my real priority is eating.”
- Wear what you are comfortable in.
She got a lot of flack for wearing a “burkini” to the beach, but why not? You don’t need to dress a certain way because you’re expected to. I like to wear loose-fitting tops not because I’m ashamed of my body, but because I’m more comfortable when I wear them.
- Eat what you enjoy.
Nigella: “The notion of a guilty pleasure is alien to me. People who feel guilty about pleasure don’t deserve pleasure in the first place. I feel that quite strongly. It ruins it. Why try and drain the joy out of life?”
- Do what you are passionate about.
Her newest cookbook titled Nigellissima (released in 2012) is all about Italian cooking. Nigella is as English as they come, so some critics argued that she had no authority to write recipes for Italian food. Nigella’s response? She is very passionate about Italian food, so she wanted to share her passion with others. Many people die never having indulged their passions for fear of what others might do or say. Doing what I am passionate about is my ultimate goal in life.