Loose Women’s Andrea McLean drops two dress sizes: “I’m the most body-confident I’ve ever been”

When a stranger recently asked Andrea McLean when her baby was due, she was absolutely mortified. Aware that she’d gained weight, but in denial, the Loose Women presenter had gone from a size 10 to a 14, and didn’t feel great getting naked in front of her builder hubby, Steve Toms, 45.

Speaking to this week’s Closer magazine about that fateful comment, she says: “It was hideously embarrassing. And, to make matters worse, my parents saw a newspaper story speculating I was pregnant and phoned to ask if there was something they needed to know. It didn’t help that Steve had seen me on TV and made a comment about my bingo wings wobbling. I knew it was time to take action,” adds the 41 year old.

Now Andrea is looking hotter than ever as she shows off her tiny tum Closer’s exclusive photo shoot – after losing a stone in four weeks, going from 10st 7lbs and a size 14 to 9st 7lbs and a size 10.

She says: “Steve loves seeing me have confidence in my body rather than covering up all the time, and knowing your partner finds you attractive also makes you feel sexier.”

Andrea blamed her bulging belly on a combination of hitting her 40s, a hernia problem (which made her stomach stick out) and a serious Jammy Dodger addiction. But, determined not to let her weight get out of control, Andrea went on the cabbage soup diet – and roped in Steve, who lost a few pounds, too. Andrea reveals: “Now I’m the most body-confident I’ve ever been. For me, sexiness means being happy in your own skin.”

“I’ve never thought of myself as a babe,” admits the 5ft 7 star. “When I was young I was too insecure and now I’m too old!”

Andrea’s generally always been a size 10-12 and 9st 7lbs, apart from when she gained 4st during her pregnancies. So when she weighed herself two months ago and found she’d gained a stone and gone up to a size 14, she was horrified. “I knew I’d put on weight as I couldn’t do up the buttons on my ‘fat day’ jeans,” she says. “I’d been unhappy with my tummy since having my kids. I know a size 14 isn’t big, but I do feel my best at a size 10.”

The first thing Andrea did was tackle her unhealthy eating habits. “I’m a terrible nibbler,” she admits. “I’m a normal mum, so we have Wotsits and mini Mars Bars around the house that I can’t help picking at. I could easily polish off half a packet of Jammy Dodgers.”

In May, she and Steve started the cabbage soup plan – a low-fat, high-fibre diet – which they followed for a month as a quick fix. “Steve wanted to lose a bit of weight and get healthier too, so we did it together,” says Andrea.

Andrea had a headache and felt grumpy for a few days, but there were no other side effects, and she lost 5lbs in the first week. Now she’s got her new flat tum and boosted her energy levels, Andrea’s continued with her healthy eating. She’s started exercising more, too. “I’ve never been a gym bunny, as life’s too short,” says Andrea, who did the 26.2-mile Moonwalk last month and goes for daily walks with her dog near her home in Surrey. Instead, she follows celeb fitness DVDs – including Nadia Sawalha’s – a few times a week. She says: “My tummy’s definitely flatter and it’s nice to have some definition back in my arms.”

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