The Only Way Is Essex star reveals the painful secrets behind her battle with the bulge

It’s 2pm and, after five hours being transformed into a buxom glamour queen for Now’s photo shoot, Gemma Collins has only nibbled on two digestive biscuits.

‘It’s all I’ve eaten today,’ she tells Dan Wootton proudly.

‘I’m taking herbal slimming pills at the moment.

‘They help control my appetite.’

It’s the latest in a long line of desperate quick-fix attempts Gemma’s made to shed weight.

And while the 31-year-old blonde is much smaller in person than she appears on screen in The Only Way Is Essex (‘They film me at terrible angles,’ she groans), she simply isn’t happy being a size 18.

But weight wasn’t an issue until Gemma split up with her first serious boyfriend five years ago.

‘I wasn’t big until then,’ she says.

‘But I don’t smoke or drink a lot, so I turned to food.That was the way I coped.

‘My self-esteem was so low that every time I felt pain I’d eat.

‘Food became my coping mechanism and I’ve never been able to break that cycle.

‘The way I was gorging on food was a sort of self-harm.

‘I was a size 14 when we split up and I put on 3st in just a year.’

Gemma realises food is an addiction now.

‘I just never used to be aware of that. I don’t think I need counselling about it or anything.

‘I just know I get comfort from food the same way a drug addict gets comfort from drugs.’

Read Dan Wootton‘s full interview with Gemma Collins in Now magazine dated 7 January 2013 – out now!

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