The reigning queen of breakfast TV she may well be, but there’s always been something wonderfully warm and so unpretentious about Lisa Wilkinson.
Delightful, chatty and wise, her way of instantly putting you at ease lets you know the Today co-host is someone who’d make a great friend.
As the ever-stylish mother of three also says, she’s “very much a glass-half-full kind of person”. And this positive outlook on life’s ups and downs has been a clear blessing over the last few trying months.
In July this year, Lisa’s Italian getaway with her husband, author Peter FitzSimons, 56, “went to hell” when she slipped on a wet hotel bathroom floor, resulting in two broken bones in her right arm.
At the time, Lisa described the pain as “more agony than I’ve ever felt, outside of childbirth”.
Months later, she reveals she is still undergoing three hours of physiotherapy every day, musing: “It’s a long, slow road.”
But Lisa is far from feeling sorry for herself. The way she sees it, she’s one of the lucky ones.
“I feel incredibly grateful for the fact that my injury pales into insignificance compared to what a lot of other people are going through,” she says.
“I think I have got a renewed understanding and compassion for people who go through chronic pain and have long-term injuries and chronic illnesses. I feel I’ve gotten off very lightly. It’s the first time I’ve broken a bone and the first time I’ve ever spent any time in hospital since giving birth to three very healthy children.
“I’m sure I’ll recover fully; I just have to do the work. It’s like anybody recovering from an injury – it’s just a reminder that you cannot take your health for granted.”
Indeed, Lisa has always had a proactive approach to health. While her father, who was a smoker, died of lung cancer, her mother Beryl is “still going strong, and she’s about to turn 89”.
“There’s a good constitution on Mum’s side,” she says. “For 89, she’s amazing! She’s had a few scares over the years, but she keeps bouncing back. I’m inspired by that.
“I’ve always been blessed with good health, but I’ve always been very proactive about it. I’ve become more aware that if I don’t take care of myself – if I don’t make sure that I head off at the pass everything I possibly can – then time will wield its inevitable hand and good health may no longer be a given.”
Certainly, Lisa couldn’t be prouder of hubby Peter, who recently shed 46kg.
“He’s kind of passed me by in the fitness department,” she says. “I was always secretly thinking, Well, at least I’m looking after myself better than my husband is! But we started going to the gym together, and he gave up sugar and alcohol, and [that was when] everything came right for him. I’m particularly happy for him because I can see he’s enjoying every day so much more.
“I think that’s the real message of good health – you get a lot more out of the day, you sleep better, and I think you have better relationships as you don’t have the aches and pains that can come with getting older.”
However, Lisa admits to one weakness. “I can’t imagine a life without chocolate. But I’m a little more measured than I used to be. I’m a great believer in moderation,” she says.
“I love the term of eating the rainbow every day – foods that have colour and good nutrition, and are as close to the way they’re meant to be as possible. I do a lot of cooking at home.”
So it makes sense that Lisa has agreed to be the new face of Vitaco Health, and will be spreading an important health message for Nutra-Life Kyolic Aged Garlic, which helps lower raised blood pressure and cholesterol.
“That’s a problem my mum has had: high blood pressure,” Lisa explains.
“So it’s one of those things that I really want to ward off. I’ve always had good blood pressure, despite Mum’s history, so it’s something I want to keep control of.
“As long as I can continue doing what I love, hang onto my health and know my kids and my husband are healthy, I have nothing to complain about.”
And it seems that another Italian getaway isn’t off the cards, either.
She says with a laugh. “I think Italy owes me a holiday!”
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Good HealthYesterday 11:00am