Life was a triple disaster for Conley
Life was a triple disaster for diet and fitness expert Rosemary Conley back in 1986 she told a packed audience in Norwich. John Breeze reports.
“My marriage had failed, my business collapsed and now I was in hospital – sick in my stomach.”
Rosemary Conley recounted her life story from this low point to recovery to full physical, emotional and spiritual health to a packed Holy Trinity Church in Norwich earlier this year.
Rosemary had developed a successful slimming and fitness regime which had resulted in her becoming a household name in the late 70s. Now happily married and with her nation-wide network of slimming and fitness clubs, a magazine and electrical kitchen ware and food products to her name everything is going swimmingly, but back in 1986 is a different story.
Her business had collapsed, her physical problem was due to gall stones which caused Rosemary to collapse, faint and feel extremely ill, resulting in admission to hospital where the diagnosis was made.
“We will have to operate,” said the surgeon. “But I cannot possibly take ten weeks out of my busy schedule – what’s the alternative?” replied Rosemary. “A fat free diet!”, said the doctor.
“That had a remarkable effect on my figure! I decided that I could write about that, The Hip & Thigh diet was published and so my new career was born.”
But something else had happened as well. While in hospital, Rosemary had sent for a book which contained the life stories of some well-known people. Lord Tonypandy, Speaker of the House of Commons, pop singer Cliff Richard and tennis commentator Gerald Williams. The book was called Power for Living.
“I certainly needed that,” said Rosemary. “And as I read I discovered some new things about Jesus and what he had done. Of course I knew about Christmas and Easter and all that. I’d learned that in church as a child, but now I discovered the truth about the Holy Spirit and how He comes to live in us and to make the presence of God and of Jesus real in our lives.
“I knelt by my bed and prayed that Jesus would forgive me for all the wrong things in my life – my selfishness and self-centredness and how I’d made a mess of everything.
“I prayed. ‘Make me new. Let me live my life your way and not mine. Forgive me for all I’ve done wrong. Make me the person you want me to be.’
“While nothing seemed to happen – no flashing lights – yet I felt brand new. As if someone had taken out the old DVD of my life and put in a new one, ready to start recording afresh.”
Rosemary went on to explain that even though life is full of ups and downs God is always there.
“He is amazing. He is always ready to give grace, patience and help. He knows every single one of us. He knows every single thing about us. He knows about our problems, our health, our money and He loves every single one of us and He just wants to help and guide us.
“He can change your life in a way you cannot imagine. I’ve proved that because I could never have imagined what God has done in my life over the past 19 years.”
There are Norwich groups running Rosemary Conley Programmes and they can be found at www.rosemary-conley.co.uk and, locally, with Sarah Skelton on 01508 531893.