Singer and actress Martine McCutcheon flaunts her figure in her most sensuous photo shoot in over a decade in this week's HELLO!, as she reveals how she has got her body back to its best following a seven-year battle with crippling depression and the neurological condition ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
The illness saw Martine gain over two stone in weight and left her full of self-loathing, especially when she looked in the mirror.
Posing in HELLO! in seductive vintage lingerie, Martine, 37, tells the magazine: "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.
"The illness made me lose all my muscle tone and my skin became loose and dry. I had the body of an old woman."
Through a combination of anti-depressants, alternative therapies such as homeopathy and adjusting her diet, Martine now has her condition under control and has regained her energy sufficiently to start exercising again.
Happy to pose in underwear for the first time since she was in her early twenties she adds: "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," the Love Actually star tells HELLO!
"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 also reveals how she and her husband Jack McManus are hoping to be parents, or at least be expecting their first child, within the 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.
"Jack so deserves to be a dad, he'll be wonderful."
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