“I’ve had my weight problems but I think that makes me a normal person.”

Self-confessed yo -yo dieter actress Natalie Cassidy reveals how she finally learned to love herself.

Natalie Cassidy

Happy to be able to ease into a pair of size 10 jeans and at the weight she wants to stay forever, it hasn’t always been the same for bubbly ex-east Enders star Natalie Cassidy, 29. She worried fans when she ditched four stone for the launch of her best-selling DVD, admitting to taking laxatives to her drop  the last few dress sizes only to shoot back up to a size 16 months later and her weight has been on public display right ever since.

“It’s true to say I’ve never had an easy relationship with food, even as a teenager I struggled to maintain a regular weight and I suppose it suited me to play Sonia in East Enders as she was the “fat” one who didn’t have to look too glamorous. It still hurt when I saw pictures of me in a bikini with the headline “beached whale”

“After that I did lose weight. I tried everything from the Cabbage Soup to the Atkins plan but whenever something big happened in my life it affected my weight. When my good friend and co-star on East Enders Wendy Richard died people accused me of comfort eating but it wasn’t like that – I just lost the motivation to diet.”

It was when Natalie was at her slimmest that she really suffered. “I was asked to do a fitness DVD and I saw it as a way to get back into shape but I ended up getting out of control. I went from a size 16 to a tiny size 8 in just weeks.”  Natalie was living in a tracksuit and felt hungry all the time, and she admits she became obsessed with food, eating only an apple at meal times, and was “tired all the time.”

“One day I just snapped, went home, began to eat and piled the weight back on again.”

Months later Natalie got the chance to appear on Strictly, and for once she didn’t have to diet, she dropped two dress sizes naturally and felt fabulous.  “Just after the series I fell pregnant and did put weight on again but I think having Eliza proved the turning point when it came to yo-yo dieting:  I suddenly realised there was something in my life that was more important than me and how I looked.”

To help her lose her mummy tummy Natalie enlisted the help of personal trainer Rob Horslen who gave her a programme of walking, fitness and weights as well as a diet that’s helped her achieve her new curvy size 10 shape and made her feel sexy again. “I’ve lost 1 st 2lbs just by being sensible.  I prepared all my meals myself so I knew exactly what I was putting in. I stuck to a high protein and veg diet of 1,200 calories a day and cut out carbs completely.”

Natalie trains six days a week, working on her upper body one day and lower the next with a high intensity cardio in between and reckons she the fittest she’s ever been. “I’ve even found a herbal supplement called Thisilyn Artichoke that’s helped with my bloating problem. I might never have a totally flat stomach but this really helped when I’ve eaten too much pasta or bread. “

Natalie is Ambassador for the Health Lottery, something she’s really proud of: “I’ve had my weight problems but I think that makes me a normal person. I want women to be realistic about dieting, it’s not just something you start every January, a diet should be a way of life. I want to be a role model for women who’ve had the same problems as me, I’d like to think they can look at me and achieve their goals, too.”

Natalie uses Thisilyn Artichoke which has helped her to beat the bloat and maintain a healthy digestion. Available from Boots, (7.99 for 30 capsules for 30) visit www.thisilynartichoke.co.uk for details.

Thanks to Abby Knight for this interview, which was scheduled to appear in the March issue of Inspired Magazine…another one that wasn’t published!

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Filed under Celebrity, Food and diets, Media

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