Poorna Bell on the unexpected power in being 40 - THE SHIFT REVISITED

Over the Christmas period and into January I'm going to be replaying some of my quiet favourite episodes of 2022. This week's, journalist, power-lifter and body image and mental health activist, Poorna Bell, is just the tonic if you're having a January moment. This episode first aired in July.


By her own admission, today’s guest, award winning journalist Poorna Bell, wasn’t looking forward to 40. She feared, as society had taught her, that it might be the beginning of the end. And so, she set out to prove herself wrong. 

Poorna has written two memoirs about grief and mental health in the wake of her husband, Rob’s death by suicide. And followed those up with Stronger, an inspiring reevaluation of women’s strength interwoven with her own discovery of power lifting (I kid you not. This woman could bench press Johnny Depp - but I fear she’d have to join the queue.) It’s no surprise that Poorna has become an advocate for diversity, mental health and body image. 

Now she’s turned her hand to fiction. Her debut novel, In Case Of Emergency is a warm, funny, immensely entertaining story of friendship, sisterhood, being single in a couples world and a brown woman in a white world.

Poorna joined me to talk about taking back power, finding her strength and how fitness changed her. Why she’s all in favour of marriage but has no plans to get back on the relationship escalator, why ageing is her superpower, finding clarity post-40, her search for midlife role models as a brown woman and embracing being a 40something goddess.

You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including IN CASE OF EMERGENCY by Poorna Bell, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!

And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/

The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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