"It was lovely, having cheesecake and chopped liver and spaghetti and all the things I shouldn't have," the actress said
Speaking with host Elizabeth Day, the outspoken British star — who appeared nude in British Vogue for Pride month this year — talked bluntly about how her diet has impacted her health, and said it’s contributing to her deteriorating spinal condition.
"I've limited my life because of my longing for fudge or chopped liver, cheesecake,” the 82-year-old said. “All these absurdities. I shouldn't have been so greedy. I should have been stronger.”
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Margolyes has spinal stenosis, which occurs “when the space inside the backbone is too small. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine,” the Mayo Clinic says. Sufferers experience pain, numbness, and tingling.
"It's such a defeat,” the actress said. “A cream bun, a chocolate, or a helping of chopped liver is more important than your health, than your aesthetic presentation? No it isn’t. It’s not more important. It’s just greed, lack of discipline, all the things that I’m embarrassed by in myself.”
"It is a major failure, and because of that, I've got spinal stenosis. I can't walk. I'm going to be in a wheelchair before I'm much older.”
Treatment for spinal stenosis can include steroids — either oral or injected — and physical therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic. More severe conditions may require surgery “to create more space within the spinal canal.”
And “excess weight can worsen the pain of spinal stenosis,” the Cleveland Clinic says.
“The one thing I have not conquered and should have conquered is my weight,” said Margolyes. ”I am a blubber mass. I am fat. And to be fat and 82 is truly pathetic."
Margolyes compared herself to Queen Camilla, who is 6 years her junior.
"Look at Camilla, our Queen,” she said. “She's a good-looking woman; she's got her body in trim. I like her as a person...I know her a bit. She's splendid and she took care of herself and I didn’t. It wasn't joy; it was laziness; it was greed – and I regret it."
As she reflects on her diet, the BAFTA winner says, "I f— everything up by greed. I think it's shameful."
Magolyes says that she never cared about fashion, explaining, “I just wasn’t interested in my presentation. I knew I had good eyes, vivid hair, and a lovely smile. And I thought it would carry me through life…So f— dresses and handbags. But it’s not about that. It’s about preserving the body that you were brought into the world with.”
“I f—ed up. I really f—ed up with my body. I’m sorry for that, because I did the wrong thing. It was lovely, having cheesecake and chopped liver and spaghetti and all the things I shouldn't have. I did enjoy it.”
But in her trademark blunt style, Margolyes — whose second memoir, Oh Miriam!: Stories From An Extraordinary Life, is due in January — said that while “I would like to be better looking; I would like to have a flatter tummy, and a stronger back and longer legs," she's decided, "F— it. Here I am."
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