Face the morning with a smile

7th May 2004 at 01:00
So says Gaby Roslin, veteran of the early shift on morning TV. Adi Bloom reports

The alarm rings, cutting into precious hours of sleep. Grunt. Roll over.

Begrudgingly struggle out from under the blankets. And smile. For Gaby Roslin, TV veteran of The Big Breakfast and Children in Need, this unnaturally perky piece of advice is the key to good health and well-being.

"Force a smile on your face when you wake up and you're going to laugh," she said. "You can't help it. You should also put cold water on some cottonwool, and rub it over your face. You'll feel awake and invigorated."

Ms Roslin, 39, believes that a healthy mind is vital for physical well-being. And she is lending support to The TES Get Active campaign, in the hope that others will also understand the importance of fitness and healthy living.

Ms Roslin hated sports at school. "I'm actually a deeply lazy person. I don't do competitive sport and never have done."

But in 1996 her parents were diagnosed with cancer. Her father survived but lung cancer killed her mother one year later.

"It made me more aware of my health," she said.

"I took up yoga, which changed my life. I realised it's about mind, body and spirit."

She now exercises regularly, boxing, lifting weights and performing sit-ups. And, after a recent sunny day when she walked eight miles to see a friend - "I didn't mean to. I just started walking and kept going and it was lovely" - she now intends to take walks on a regular basis.

In 2002, Ms Roslin took on the role of jailer Mama Morton in the stage musical Chicago: "Singing is a very physical thing. If you're singing two belting numbers every night, you have to be fit."

She is about to begin touring with the National Theatre's production of Dinner, by Moira Buffini. Ms Roslin eats only vegetables, dairy produce and fish, refuses to eat proteins and carbohydrates together, and avoids wheat entirely.

She gave up turkey and duck at the age of 11 ("I didn't like the idea of eating cute animals") and red meat at 18. "A number of people have said to me, do a book, do a video about your diet. When you're on TV, you have to look good. The press either say, look how big she is, or isn't she thin.

But it's about being right for me.

"So much bullying in schools comes down to body image. But it's how you feel inside that's important."

Gaby Roslin will be touring with the National Theatre production of Dinner in June and July

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