Editor’s letter: Let’s be honest…

There’s a recurring theme running through this issue – people who are prepared to open up about the subjects that many of us find uncomfortable. Like grief, for example – who isn’t terrified of putting their foot in it around a bereaved friend? Have you ever worried about asking a simple ‘How are you?’ for fear of sounding trite? We are so scared of getting it wrong, it stands in our way of getting it right.

Stand-up comedian Jack Rooke learned about grief at the heartbreakingly young age of 15 when his father died of cancer; and then again at 21 when his best friend took his own life. He shares his experience of losing the two most important men in his life and how this inspired him to talk more openly about death and to raise awareness of suicide prevention. His tips for supporting a loved one going through loss are written with such warmth and honesty, they will doubtless help many of us when we might need it.

Our cover star, nutritionist Gabriela Peacock, tackles the very thorny issue of Britain’s weight problem. Despite what we know about the health risks of being overweight – and never more so than now when figures show that at least two thirds of people who have fallen seriously ill with coronavirus in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were overweight or obese – it’s a subject that has become harder and harder to discuss openly. The fear of being accused of fat-shaming silences even health professionals, but Gabriela talks with such clarity on the benefits of shifting some of those lockdown pounds (anyone else developed a serious biscuit habit?). I hope her no-nonsense approach will kick-start a conversation that saves lives.

And over the page, our brilliant columnist Elizabeth Day shares the view that while youth seems to be valued above all else, the achievements we make in later life are way more impressive. So while I know I can’t put off my healthy eating regime any longer, at least it might help me live to a ripe old age – and that’s when I’ll get around to writing my groundbreaking debut novel.

Enjoy the issue!

Jo Elvin is away

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

All the money I saved while staying in is going on these luxury PJs. Pyjamas, £176, the-sleeper.com

If in doubt, chuck on a pair of leopard-print shoes – that’s my style motto. Slingbacks, £120, boden.co.uk

A thriller set in the fashion industry that’s a proper page turner. Book, £12.99, waterstones.com