Pop star turned gardening guru Kim Wilde beat her post-pregnancy bulge with a super-healthy new diet. She tells Top Sante how she got her figure back.
Kim Wilde's smoky voice floats through the hotel room door long before I see her. And when I'm ushered in to meet the Eighties pop legend there's no mistaking the blonde hair and bee-stung lips. Kim, 42, is gorgeous. But she doesn't seem to think so. Behind the black suit she's wearing there's a vulnerability that sits oddly with her sexy body, glowing skin and amazing success.
The truth is, Kim's never been completely comfortable with herself. Despite topping the charts in 1981 with her song Kids In America, selling seven million albums and touring with Michael Jackson, she suffered from depression and left the music industry in the mid-Nineties to retreat to the country and concentrate on her family - husband Hal and children, Harry, five, and Rose, three.
'When I met Hal, in '96, it felt like such a relief not to have to be blonde and slender anymore. I let my hair colour grow out, had babies and got fat! And I loved it. But now I've realised it's actually better to be slim and blonde,' she laughs. 'My bikini days are well and truly over - I'll never be a size eight again. But I prefer it when I feel good in my clothes.'
Kim's lowest point came in the summer of 2002. 'After having two children I felt totally disconnected from my body and had horrendous lower back pain,' she explains. 'I hadn't been able to exercise so I'd gained more weight. Basically, I was in a bit of a state.'
Then she accepted an invite from the Five show Celebrity Detox Camp to go to Thailand for a week of fasting and colonic irrigation. 'I needed something drastic. I'd hit 40. I felt run down and I kept getting chest infections. Thailand set me back on the right track. Now, I've lost a stone and dropped a dress size to reach a 12, my immune system is stronger and I'm full of energy. I love feeling this healthy.'
Kim admits she was worried about slipping back into bad habits. 'It's hard to fit healthy eating into my lifestyle. I'm a working mum and I still have to get the fish fingers, chips and beans on the table, just like everyone else,' she says.
Her solution is to eat a balanced diet - 'everything in moderation' - plus a 10-day detox, desigend by celeb naturopath Michael van Straten, which Kim does four times a year. It starts with freshly squeezed organic juice and hot water with lemon, then moves on to a week of meals based on organic fruit and vegetables, plus tofu, pulses, fish and herbal teas.
But Kim recognises that food is her downfall, especially bread and pasta. 'The first time I detoxed at home I'd just been on holiday with all my mates, drunk loads of wine and eaten lots of French stew, cheese and bread. Basically, a great gourmet experience. I realised I had to take myself in hand before I ruined all my hard work,' she says.
'So I stocked up on organic fruit and veg and planned everything for the detox properly. I set a juicer up in the kitchen and now, even when I'm not detoxing, I'f I'm craving for a cheese toastie I throw in fresh beetroot or ginger with veg and make a power drink instead. It gives me a real kick.'
Kim also makes a point of setting aside time to de-stress. 'I lock myself in the bathroom for an hour a day with candles and essential oils. And I make the most of the time I spend with my family. We've got a lovely outdoor eating area with hanging vines. We call it the snug. It's dripping with black grapes and as you walk through the arch you just grab a handful. We set a little stove going and put some music on, have our mates round and eat and drink. It's just a lovely thing to do, with the garden smelling beautifull and Harry and Rose hopping around. I love it. My family always comes first these days. But I do enjoy slipping into my rock-star leathers every now and again - even at 42!'
In fact Kim's been back in her sexy stage outfits this year on the Eighties revival tour, Here And Now, performing with celebs such as Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley. 'It's good fun catching up with the old crew. There's a lot of humour backstage,' she says. 'We all took ourselves fairly seriously in the Eighties because that's what you do when you're 20-something, but now we're 40-something we've all started laughing at ourselves. It's really nice. I wear tight trousers on stage and it feels so good getting back into them. It's a contrast to my other life, which is mostly digging now I'm a gardening journalist. It's great to get my hair and make-up done, too - I don't get to glam up much these days.'
Performing still gives Kim a real rush and being back in the spotlight motivates her to stay in shape. 'In the old days I used to go to the gym all the time but I got bored. Motherhood brings you down to earth. I mean, I'd love to have two breats that are the same size but I'm not going to cry over spilt milk. My wonky bits were part of having Rose and Harry, and I like that.' Now Kim sticks to daily yoga to keep herself feeling good and power walks to up to the local pub - although she swears she doesn't go in!
Another bonus of going on tour is that it's helped her beat old demons. 'I'm singing songs from the past but I'm in a different place now. My self-esteem used to be really low. Gaining weight was always an issue. And it haunted me during the times when I got heavier because I would be criticised in the papers and by my record company. Now I'm often confronted with old photographs and records and I realise I was far too hard on myself. I always felt a bit second rate. But I look back and I listen to the songs and they're . And I see the photos and I think, yeah, I looked good!'
Kim's 40s seem to have brought her contentment and perspective. 'If you asked me to choose, I'd pick the world I'm in now. I feel positive about the future and I'm full of energy. And that's because I'm looking after myself better that ever before.'
Kim's detox menu
Day one to day four
Breakfast: Hot water with a slice of lemon, one orange; half a pink grapefruit; slice of cantaloupe melon; fresh ginger tea.
Lunch: Mixed raw peppers, cucumber, carrot, radishes, tomatoes, celery and broccoli with chopped, fresh parsley, olive oil and lemon juice; large glass of apple juice; mint tea.
Supper: Large bowl of fresh fruit salad; handful of raisins; unsalted cashew nuts; unsalted mixed vegetable juice; camomile tea with a teaspoon of organic honey before bed.
Day five to day ten
Breakfast: Unsweetened muesli with low-fat live yoghurt, fresh berries and sliced banana.
Lunch: Wholemeal pitta filled with sliced hard-boiled egg, chopped tomato, cucumber, fennel and shredded lettuce.
Evening: Stir-fried tofu with green and red peppers, spring onions and noodles; a strawberry smoothie - blend some strawberries with milk, yoghurt, creme fraiche or soya milk.