Fed up with being a diet icon, Natalie balloons from size 8 to a 12

Natalie Cassidy has given up on her diet and put on a stone and a half in just eight weeks.

Recently spotted enjoying a boozy lunch in central London with boyfriend Ben Porter, 40, puffing on a cigarette, Natalie cut a very different, chunky figure from the one seen on holiday last March.

Back then, dedicated Nat – whose fitness DVD Then And Now was the fastest UK fitness DVD of all time – was bragging about fitting into a pair of size 0 jeans.

Now it’s emerged that she’s ballooned from a size 8 to a 12.

It’s Natalie’s worst nightmare. Only last month she admitted that the pressure not to slip up was immense.

‘Unfortunately, there are people who want to see you fail,’ she confessed.

But Now can reveal that former size 16 Natalie, 25, got fed up spending all her time exercising.

‘It was a vicious circle in the end,’ a friend tells Now. ‘Natalie wanted to maintain her weight loss, but she isn’t naturally that size.

‘Also, remember that she’s been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which makes losing weight even tougher.’

Desperate Natalie had even upped her exercise regime to two hours every single day after the PCOS diagnosis.

Her regime initially included working out three to five times a week. But it wasn’t sustainable for the actress.

‘She’s been enjoying life more with Ben and the weight crept back on,’ explains the friend.

Natalie’s agent Maureen Vincent says: ‘I don’t know if she’s put weight on – I don’t weigh her every day.’

See the full story in Now magazine – out now!

Check out our Natalie Cassidy photo gallery (before things went pear-shaped again)>>