Illness played havoc but just look at me now - Martine
Actress Martine McCutcheon has told how she has got her figure back after ballooning as a result of depression and fatigue illness ME.
The former EastEnders star piled on an extra two stone but has now shed the weight with a combination of exercise, diet changes and improving her mental well-being with anti-depressants.
The star is now so comfortable with her body she has posed in a vintage negligee for Hello! magazine as the 37-year-old told about her fight back to health.
She said: "The illness made me lose all my muscle tone and my skin became loose and dry. I had the body of an old woman. I would think, 'That's not me'.
"Because ME is an illness that affects the brain and nervous system, your hormones are all over the place, which makes you prone to bloating and sporadic and sudden weight gain and loss."
McCutcheon, who has been unwell for seven years, said it left her full of self-loathing.
Getting the chronic fatigue under control has helped her to start exercising again.
She said: "I go to the gym, I walk, I do Pilates and whilst I won't deny that I would love to be slimmer, I have realised that short of living on fresh air, I'm never going to be a skinny Minnie.
"If I work out hard one day, I have to make sure I rest up the next. But my jeans fit nicely now, so that makes me happy. I feel like I'm getting there again, which is wonderful."
She said she and husband Jack McManus are hoping to be parents, or at least expecting their first child, within a year.
"It's what I want more than anything, but I'd been so scared that I wouldn't be able to. I thought, 'How can I bring a baby into the world when I'm not well enough to look after myself?' Now I feel I could," McCutcheon added.
The full interview is in the new edition of Hello! magazine.