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As most people rid their home of every unhealthy treat in sight as they step into 2020, Andrea McLean had already made preparations to stop herself from the fall that follows a binge.
‘If you overindulge in partying and start again in January you just feel awful,’ admits Andrea.
‘I still have my blowouts – my biggest weakness is a biscuit – but massively crashing and having to pick yourself back up again is exhausting. So I try and keep on top of it the whole year round then there’s not this massive kick-start in January,’ she said.
Like most, Andrea has her body hang ups, including her waist, legs, bum and tum, and at 5ft 6ins her weight fluctuates between nine and 10 stone.
She explained, ‘I call it my happy half a stone, when I’m content and everything is ticking over nicely the happy half a stone comes on and then you work your butt off to get rid of it, which makes you deeply unhappy.’
She continues, ‘It’s really demoralising when you can’t zip your jeans up anymore, so it’s finding that balance. When I go down to nine stone I look ill and withdrawn and not healthy so I’m quite happy at 9.5 stone.’ To lose weight, Andrea immediately cuts back on sweet popcorn and wine and, within a month, she’s back to her happy size.
In fact, a few lifestyle tweaks throughout the year has helped her keep on top of her health more than looking for a quick fix. A big change she’s made recently is cutting out meat from her diet. ‘I only eat fish and a high plant-based food. It wasn’t a deliberate choice, it happened really organically and now it’s working much better with my digestion and I feel less sluggish.’
She tells us that her new year always begins in September. Andrea, 50, explains, ‘Starting the mind-set in September helps me stop overindulging at Christmas. I always see it as a new term, that’s when I come back and think, “What’s my new [thing]?”’ This year, she set and completed her first 10k run and sticks to a daily regime of waking up early, meditating, followed by 20 minutes of stretching because she’s ‘stiff as a board’.
But the Loose Women star isn’t frightened of ageing, instead it motivates her. She added, ‘It’s great because the alternative is being dead. Just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I need to take the foot off the gas and wait to die. I still want to feel healthy, vibrant and be attractive. It’s not about looking young, it’s about looking good for my age.’
✱ Andrea McLean is working with ACUVUE, makers of 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL contact lenses to highlight the long-sightedness condition presbyopia