Penny Lancaster, 49, has revealed she put on a stone of weight during lockdown after she turned to food for comfort when her menopause began during the pandemic.
With a mixture of healthy eating and exercise, the model has lost 17lbs in eight weeks.
Lancaster shared photos of her weight loss on Instagram, explaining that the side effects of the menopause had been exaggerated by the anxiety and fear for the virus and the unknown.
‘I turned to food and drink as comfort and gained over a stone,” she wrote.
‘As a wake up call I shamed [myself] by taking a photo.
‘It worked and with a new diet and exercise, I lost 17lb and 4in off my waist in eight weeks.’
Lancaster isn’t alone in suffering from an increased appetite during menopause. While it isn’t a typical symptom provided by the NHS, it is something many women note.
Watch: Julie Graham on finding empowerment in the menopause and tackling food poverty
Menopause and midlife expert Marie Teevan shared a similar experience.
She said: "At the early stages of my menopause journey, one of the first things I noticed was a change in body shape and, being someone who was physically active, I found this difficult to come to terms with.
“The comments from people about my ‘weight’ made me want to hide.
“Due to a complete lack of education around how the change in hormone levels was affecting my emotional, mental and physical well-being and appearance, I found myself craving certain types of food and I would say I felt more hungrier throughout the day than I did before.
“The biggest struggle for me was losing the weight.
“What I used to do as an exercise routine, when I wanted to lose a few pounds, suddenly didn’t work.
“Hormones - especially during menopause – day-to-day stresses of life, and the other challenges we face in midlife can all have a massive impact on the way we eat and the way we look and feel.
“Be kind to yourself. educate yourself and introduce lifestyle choices that work for you.”
Watch: Celebrities reveal their mental health struggles
During an appearance in ITV’s Loose Women in August, Lancaster admitted she was finding curbing overeating during the menopause a struggle.
Speaking about her experience of menopause during lockdown, she explained: “I was in the kitchen, it had been one of those days where everything had been going wrong.
“I ended up throwing the dinner across the kitchen. I just screamed and burst into tears. The boys came and hugged me.”
She credits her husband, Sir Rod Stewart, 75 and sons Alastair, 14, and Aiden, nine, for helping her out.
“I've explained to them about the hormones I'm experiencing since March, my last period.
“I've been having the really hot sweats, and then freezing cold… my body temperature is fluctuating all over the place. It affects your mood swings, I've been putting on more weight.”
Common symptoms of menopause
Common symptoms include:
vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
low mood or anxiety
reduced sex drive (libido)
problems with memory and concentration
For more information about menopause, visit the NHS website or consult your doctor.