My health habits: Katie Piper on turmeric shots and pep talks

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Photo credit: Dan Kennedy
Photo credit: Dan Kennedy

A bonafide national treasure, multi-hyphenate career woman and passionate campaigner for those with visible differences, Katie Piper radiates good vibes, personifies positivity and is a general ray of sunshine on our Insta feeds with her beaming smile.

And it’s been four years since she starred on our groundbreaking Women's Health cover, so we grabbed her for a long-overdue chat to catch up on where she's at with her wellness – including everything from cutting back on alcohol and caffeine to lifting weights on date night and giving yourself a pep talk via email...

Morning routines with no more caffeine

When we chat, Katie is six weeks into her new caffeine-free life and we're wondering exactly how she did it as we sit in front of our (third? eek) cuppa of the day... ' It was such a big part of my life,' she admits.

Now she starts her morning with a different kind of routine, 'I have shots of turmeric and ginger with hot water,' she says, 'I need something that really feels like it's picking me up.'

Then Katie heads out for a walk to the shops or puts on her workout gear for a 5k run if she has the time. 'Then I'll probably eat something at around 11am,' she says. 'I just don't eat until I'm actually hungry. And I am so rushed and stressed in the morning that it's not a mindful way to eat.'

When she does sit down at the table, she likes a colourful plate and tries to savour each mouthful, 'I love things like lentils and salmon, fresh veggies, salad, lots of flavour.' If she's on the go, she tries to avoid 'beige' foods like pre-made baguettes and sandwiches, which send her into a 'slump' after.

But sometimes there's a place for beige: 'it's good when you have a hangover,' she says with a grin.

Blocking out relaxation time like an appointment

After multiple lockdowns and cancelled work commitments, Katie admits that she's found it hard to get back into her stride. 'I've been really struggling with my sleep,' she says. 'If I am working late, I can't get home at 10pm and be in bed asleep by 10.10.'

So Katie has started being more strategic about it, and planning out time in her diary. 'I actually block out time for travel and bedtime, like I would an appointment because otherwise life gets too busy and it all escapes you.' And she never, ever, takes her phone to bed so she can avoid the dreaded doom-scrolling, 'invest in an actual alarm clock instead,' says Katie.

Photo credit: Dan Kennedy
Photo credit: Dan Kennedy

Give yourself a pep talk

We've all had those moments of doubting ourselves, struggling to love what we see when we look in the mirror and berating ourselves when we don't fit into society's ever-changing beauty standards or feeling that we've not achieved everything we want to in work/life.

Katie's advice for overcoming those feelings of self hate that can gnaw away at us? 'I'd write yourself an email,' Katie says. 'And write it like you're talking to a friend or colleague, and list all the ways you want to be treated and how you want to come across and be seen.'

Then when you read it back, read it like a set of 'instructions to yourself and start living like that. Some people do it every three months,' explains Katie, 'as a way of feeling accountable.' Email drafts at the ready...

Being consistent but flexible when it comes to exercise

We know it can be hard, but when it comes to keeping healthy, movement doesn't have to come in the form of a class. Katie likes to fit her exercise around her busy life. 'Always keep your trainers in your bag,' she chuckles, that way if you can't make it to the gym, 'don't beat yourself up about it, you can just get your steps in by walking instead of taking taxies or trains.'

Katie loves lifting weights too, which she says has really boosted her confidence. 'It's good to push forward and go into other spaces,' she says of the often male-dominated weights section at the gym where you should never feel like you don't belong. 'Lifting weights is a good break from cardio.'

She mixes it up to keep things interesting, sometimes going to the gym to do weight training on her own, but also occasionally having gym date nights with her husband – which we're totally here for.

Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images

Looking after your respiratory health

Perhaps it's something you've been thinking about more since Covid, but for Katie her respiratory health has been a high priority for more than 15 years after she acquired all of her injuries. 'My respiratory tract, my nose, my throat, were all really damaged and then reconstructed,' Katie tells WH. Katie has no hair inside her nose and she doesn't have a septum, so her ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon suggested that an air purifier might help her breathe more comfortably.

Since then she's thought a lot about the quality of our air, it's one of the reasons she's partnered with Blueair, as she's a believer in the power of using an air purifier in our homes. 'Indoor air is five times more polluted than outdoor air,' she exclaims. 'So it's really important that we understand different things we can do about that.'

It can feel like the air pollution that's getting worse in our cities is out of our control, but it's empowering to know there's ways we can change the air quality within our own four walls. 'When you change the filter, you can literally see what's floating in the air,' enthuses Katie.

She also points out other simple thing we can do: cleaning, vacuuming regularly. 'Not just hard surfaces, but also your sofa, curtains and rugs, and changing your bedding regularly,' says Katie. 'All of those surfaces have all the common allergens, you know, the dust mites and pet dander, that kind of thing. There's even microplastics from beauty products, hair spray or really harsh cleaning products as well.' Best get on it! Of course, it's also good motivation if you suffer from the dreaded summer hay fever...

Katie is working with Blueair to share ways to improve indoor air quality. DustMagnetTM is available to buy from Argos, Lakeland, Very, Wayfair and blueair.com/gb

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