While promoting her upcoming second memoir, Oh Miriam!: Stories From An Extraordinary Life, the famously blunt actor, 82, talked to podcast host Elizabeth Day about how her diet has affected her health, joking: “I’ve limited my life because of my longing for fudge or chopped liver, cheesecake.”
“It’s such a defeat,” the Bafta winner 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,” she continued.
“All these absurdities. I shouldn’t have been so greedy. I should have been stronger,” she added, noting that her choices have unfortunately contributed to her deteriorating spinal condition. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), spinal stenosis “happens when the spaces in the spine narrow and create pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.” Those with spinal stenosis reportedly experience pain, numbness, and tingling.
Spinal stenosis can be treated with steroids and physical therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic. More severe conditions, however, may ultimately require surgery “to create more space within the spinal canal.” The Cleveland Clinic says that those with “excess weight” can potentially “worsen the pain of spinal stenosis.”
“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.” She continued to illustrate her point by comparing herself to Queen Camilla, who is six years younger: “Look at Camilla, our Queen, 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.”
The actor continued to reflect on her dieting habits, lamenting her decisions, “I f*** everything up by greed. I think it’s shameful.”
From a young age, Margolyes says she didn’t care about fashion or looking a certain way, 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,” she added. “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.”
Margolyes bluntly admitted, “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.”