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Sep 2

Janette Manrara: Its important to let go of strict diets on holiday and not feel guilty about it – NewsChain

Its over a year since Janette Manrara announced she was leaving Strictly, after nearly a decade as a professional dancer on the hit BBC show and shes happy to admit her body changed as a result.

I fluctuate often I can tell when Ive not been dancing on tour, or Ive not been doing shows.

I noticed my body changed because I wasnt doing the physical activity I was doing every single day when I was dancing, explains the 38-year-old, who would previously be in the dance studio for up to 10 hours a day. I think I used to watch what I ate even less when I was dancing, but now I balance it out a bit more.

Ive started really getting into weight training. Im doing a bit of running, and I like to be at home and just do 25 minutes of body exercises, just here with my yoga mat, as much as I can. Thats helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep an eye on my weight, because I did feel the difference, in my muscles especially, when I stopped Strictly.

Cuban-American Manrara who is married to fellow Strictly dancer Alja korjanec, and took over from Zoe Ball hosting Strictly spin-off series It Takes Two last June is keeping a level approach though, and steering clear of rigid diets.

At the moment, Im really allowing myself to just relax and enjoy the holidays and sunshine and spending time with loved ones. I think its important for our overall health and wellbeing to do that, and let go of that super-strict diet and enjoy the holiday and not feel guilty about it and having a few cocktails and a dessert at the end of the night.

Dont feel guilty about it, youre on holiday, this is good for you as well, she enthuses.

It Takes Two will return to screens soon, and right now Manrara says shes kind of in holiday mode Im working but Im holidaying a lot.

She adds: I just came back from Mykonos with my friend Ashley [Roberts], Alja and I went to visit our families, and I was in Ibiza with my brother, and in the midst of that Ive been doing bits and bobs of work.

Those 20-30 minute workouts I can squeeze in even when Im on holiday have been really helpful. I try and exercise at least three times a week, if Im really good then four times a week, even if its on my own in my hotel room if Im on holiday, or here at home, and be careful with what Im putting into my body. But not too careful either, because its good to relax and have a break.

Shes all about balance when it comes to what she eats. I wouldnt say I eat healthily, but I think Im very balanced with my food. If Ive been very good in the day, I allow myself a little treat in the evening, or if Ive been naughty in the day then I try to eat not too bad later. I also watch my portions I dont have big portions of anything.

But Im not a crazy fiend about eating super-healthy, I just try and keep my plate balanced, with a little bit of salad, a little bit of veggies, some protein and some carbs, and if I want a little treat afterwards, then a piece of chocolate or anything like that, she adds.

But Alja and I love a pizza or a burger, and this weekend we had friends over, so I didnt really look at what I ate and I enjoyed myself. But this week Ill be a little bit more conscious, because I ate a bit more relaxed at the weekend.

I dont think its about cutting things out completely, its just about balancing it out, and watching what you put into your body.

Manrara, who got a diploma in the science of wellbeing last summer, adds: Wellbeing is everything. Its about finding a way to be physically active and mentally stimulated and happy. There are so many different ways we can look after our mind and our body and put that into one.

Theres no one solution for anyone I learned that through my wellbeing courses. Its about finding that balance thats right for you, not trying fit an image, profile or a certain type. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and finding what works for you is what I think wellbeing is all about what makes you ultimately happy and feel good.

As for ageing, Manrara, who has become a brand ambassador for New Nordic Collagen Shot, says: Ive got nothing against Botox maybe one day I will do it, who knows but if I can find natural, easy ways to look after my skin and body, then Id rather do that now.

She says shes been taking the Collagen Shot sachets for about a year. Its such an easy way to look after yourself, without having to apply a thousand creams and everything else we try to do to look after our skin. I take a multi-vitamin for women in the morning, and that and my Collagen Shot are my two saving graces.

Whats her secret when it comes to working with her husband? korjanec announced his departure from Strictly earlier this year but the couples careers remain closely entwined.

All Alja and I have known since the day we met has been working together, she says. When were not together, thats when its more weird for us than when we are together, because its what were used to.

Theyve just recorded a really fun TV show that took them across the UK, and Manrara says it was great to work together on something non-dance related. Theyve also got a show coming out this winter that shes not allowed to say too much about although she does reveal shell be dancing with her husband on stage again.

When we worked on Strictly together, we rarely saw each other, she adds. It was nice oh, that sounds awful well, it was different, because wed come home and share each others experiences and talk about how the day went, and at the same time try not to talk about work too much. Because we both do the same job, itd be very easy to make our lives 24/7 about work.

I think its important, especially as a married couple, to always be very honest and communicate and discuss when lines are crossed, in the sense of weve been at work and rehearsing together all day lets not come home and spend the next three hours talking about work again, she adds. You have to disconnect and get your mind off it, and sometimes thats tough with Alja and I because were both passionate about what we do.

Are there any plans to start a family?

Manrara says theyre thinking of getting a puppy, although she adds wryly: A friend of mine said you should have a baby before you get a puppy.

Obviously, I dont want to say were planning for a family, all I want to say on that is I definitely want to be a mother, and we shall see what happens.

Janette Manrara is a brand ambassador for New Nordic Collagen Shot (newnordic.co.uk)

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Janette Manrara: Its important to let go of strict diets on holiday and not feel guilty about it - NewsChain

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