Shirley Ballas has struggled with some health issues, including a hormone imbalance (Picture: Laura Lewis)
International dance champion turned Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, 61, has made changes that have made her feel much more vibrant. And she’s even found time for a holiday…
What problems have you had with your gut health?
It can be an embarrassing thing to talk about but in the past I’ve suffered with bloating and chronic constipation.
I found this product Symprove on my social media and I gave it a try and it really worked for me – it helped my gut and helped me feel better in myself.
Do you get your five-a-day?
I do – I have fruit in the morning or a smoothie. My mother lives with me and she makes sure I get my vegetables.
We’ve been reading the book The Plant Paradox and she started baking me vegetables in the oven. They came out rather black at the beginning but we’ve mastered the art now.
Shirley sometimes has a smoothie to get her five a day (Picture: Shutterstock)
Have you ever broken any bones?
I broke my foot when I was a child doing high jump at school. The kids would say, ‘You’re never going to dance again,’ which was awful at the time.
And during lockdown when I couldn’t go to the gym I started running instead, overdid it and broke my ankle. I was in a boot for six weeks. It was a worry but it’s healed well.
The doctor did a marvellous job and I don’t have any problems with it. I don’t run on concrete anymore, I run on a running machine.
Have you ever had an operation?
I had breast implants and then I had them removed – it was quite a long operation as I wanted everything that had grown around the implants taken out as well.
It looked like an octopus – there were these tentacles growing in different directions. I had them removed because I went for a mammogram and was told they couldn’t see behind the implant.
I read up on it and got them taken out. I couldn’t have made a better decision. My whole health has changed. I feel much more vibrant now, I used to feel quite tired before.
Shirley says she feels so much better since getting rid of her breast implants (Picture: Shutterstock)
How often do you exceed NHS drinking guidelines?
I have an occasional drink, maybe once a month, if I’m out with friends.
When I was a teenager my friends would say, ‘Let’s go for it’ but I don’t like alcohol – I don’t like the taste and I’ve never exceeded those guidelines.
I do try to drink two litres of water a day, which is easy at home but more difficult when I’m travelling on the road as I need to stop for the toilet every two minutes.
I have a driver on Strictly. When I was getting used to increasing my water intake he’d ask, ‘Do you need to stop, Shirley?’ Every 15 minutes.
Have you ever Googled any symptoms?
One night after I’d done Strictly a viewer contacted on me via social media saying she’d seen a lump under my arm – I had lifted it to demonstrate a cha-cha-cha move.
A couple of other people contacted me later to saying the same thing. I went to see my doctor who did tests who then told me all my hormones were off – so I’m very grateful to those people for contacting me.
It’s taken over a year but all my hormones are in the right place now – I had too much testosterone and not enough oestrogen. It’s all balanced out now.
Shirley’s very active, doing hot yoga – sometimes twice a day – plus teaching dance (Picture: Shutterstock)
How many hours dancing do you do each week?
I go to hot yoga every morning and sometimes in the evenings as well.
I’m late to television, I started when I was 57, and I didn’t want to give up my day job so I still do dance teaching as well.
I did a TV show a few months ago living with some other women and I got them all out on the lawn stretching and doing yoga in the mornings.
I do yoga, Peloton and I dance with students each day. I’ve got good strength and stamina in my body for my age.
How do you look after your mental health?
I struggle with anxiety. There have been times I’ve been so overwhelmed I’ve felt my heart is going to stop.
I have an overactive mind. I have a good ‘on’ button, if I’m doing something like Strictly I can just press that and away I go, but I don’t seem to have an ‘off’ button.
In the past I never found time to take periods off or go on a holiday but now I do – I’m going to a juicing retreat in a few weeks.
Do you get enough sleep?
Along with anxiety I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was a teenager.
I’ve overcome that with therapy but I also make sure I don’t look at my phone late at night and I read instead of watching TV before bed so my brain isn’t so stimulated.
If you’d like to try out Symprove, which Shirley says has helped her, check it out.