The Shape I'm In: The power of now with bestselling author Caroline Foran

Interview by Esther McCarthy

Bestselling author Caroline Foran has plenty to look forward to in 2019. Not only did she get married recently, but the author of Owning It and The Confidence Kit has secured a US publishing deal.

Her honest and humorous books about managing anxiety and fear have already struck a chord with thousands of Irish readers — now she’s excited at the prospect of moving into the American market.

Having lived with crippling anxiety and finding ways to pull herself through, Caroline’s books come from a place of empathy and understanding and are practical and relatable.

In terms of her plans for 2019, she asks herself the question:

“How do I want to live?” rather than setting herself resolutions and goals.

“I feel that by setting yourself up for goals, you’re not enjoying the moments in between. I also think January is a time when you should be really good to yourself, with comfort food and comfy nights in. It’s about getting off the roundabout and doing your own thing.”

What shape are you in?

I’ve always been slim but I would say I am in better physical shape now in my 30s than I was in my 20s. Probably because I actually exercise now.

I lift weights in the gym two times a week — three on a very good week. I haven’t lost weight or changed a dress size but I feel stronger and better mentally too because I actually enjoy it.

Caroline Foran.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I eat small and often, not so much by choice but because I have learned to be that way as it suits my digestive system far better. I don’t feel great if I load up on a big meal. I also don’t drink coffee or much tea, I prefer to drink hot water — I swear I’m fun though.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Chai lattes, must be from Starbucks, laced in syrup and E numbers. Hallmark movies. Eating through advent calendars in November. Superquinn sausages.

What would keep you awake at night?

Anticipation of something good or bad — my body can’t tell the difference and any kind of anticipation is a pain for me. If I’m excited about something positive I won’t sleep. In the same way, I’d find it hard to drift off worrying about whether or not a talk I have to give will go well.

How do you relax?

I put my phone in a drawer, I tidy my living room, I lie down and either watch some utter drivel on Netflix or I read. Reading slows me right down and the only trouble I have is staying awake. My body now associates reading with bedtime so I rarely get through a few pages.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would love to have dinner with older couples who have been happily married for over 50 years. Older people are the most interesting people we could talk to, they have the best stories, have more experience than we could ever read about and give the best BS-free advice. Either that or all of my ex-boyfriends around the table, I reckon I’d get a good book out of that.

What’s your favourite smell?

Real Christmas trees, garlic and ginger on the pan, freshly washed bed sheets, my dad’s coat.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

Honestly, I would rather not change anything about my appearance and change how I perceive my appearance when I look in the mirror. To love the body and the skin I’m in and treat it lovingly and nurture it physically and mentally rather than as something to constantly tweak and perfect — that’s something to strive for.

When is the last time you cried?

Last week when I saw an old man walking his very old dog and I just got very sentimental about life and treasuring the moment.

What traits do you least like in others?

Spitting. Always ordering first in a restaurant without even looking at the other person or people. Selfishness and stinginess — not necessarily money related but asking for more than you’re willing to give — a chancer.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

My unwavering impatience, my laziness and sometimes my impulsiveness.

Do you pray?

I don’t pray to any particular god but I do find myself putting things out into the universe. I would consider myself a little bit spiritual without that spirituality pertaining to any one religion. I believe in karma and fate and things happening for a reason.

What would cheer up your day?

New PJs and when my dog Bear gives me what feels like a human cuddle.

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