She may have put on a stone during the lockdown, but TV presenter-turned-life coach Andrea McLean has learned to love what she calls her “corona-curves” and is in a much calmer place than she was two years ago.
The 52-year-old mother-of-two, who quit Loose Women after 13 years in December 2020, has now retrained and is a fully certified life coach, as is her husband, businessman Nick Feeney.
She had a breakdown before quitting the show and left to focus more fully on her female personal growth business This Girl Is On Fire and has recently brought out You Just Need To Believe It, a self-help guide on how to conquer your fears to take control of your life.
Here, she explains some of the ways she has helped to improve her health and wellbeing.
What’s your mindfulness routine?
“I don’t think of it as a routine, it’s like brushing your teeth. When I get up in the morning I go into the spare room, shut the door, put up my Do Not Disturb sign I bought from Amazon and I meditate for 10 minutes, sometimes less, sometimes more.
But everyone knows when that sign is on the door I do not care if your world is falling apart, you can do something else for 10 minutes. Don’t knock.”
What about exercise?
“I’ve done yoga since I was in my 20s and I’m really bad at it. Everyone thinks that doing yoga would mean I’d look like some sort of yoga bunny but I don’t. I look like a middle-aged woman who can’t even bend over.
“It’s like a weird groundhog day for my body when my alarm goes off but I’m still the same person I was and I still can’t bend over. But I like the way it feels. Everything sort of clunks and clicks back into place.
It’s not a workout – no one’s shouting at me. I just put my headphones in and do it. If I start the day doing yoga, I feel so much calmer. What I used to do when the alarm went off was, ‘Bang, Crash, OK, out the door!’”
Do you do any other exercise regularly?
“I’ve really got bad at exercise. I don’t go to the gym as much as I did. I think lockdown got me out of the habit. I used to go a lot and then we got out of the routine when we couldn’t go and I realised, this is really nice.”
Did you put on weight during lockdown?
“Yes, I put on a stone. I laugh about my ‘corona-curves’ and I’ve got the best boobs I’ve had in my entire life. I just keep thinking, Wow! Do I really want to lose weight because I’ve never had boobs before?”
You say when your husband looks in the mirror, he pats his six-pack proudly. How do you feel when you look in the mirror?
“It depends on the day. Some days I’ll look and think, ‘You’re 52 and that is not bad’. A lot of that has come from the ‘I love you’ exercise in my book.
The first time I did that I was shocked at how angry I was when I looked at myself. All I could see was a face that had got older and a body that wasn’t what it had been.
I felt snarly at myself. The first time I looked in the mirror and said ‘I love you’, I cried. I realised I’d been so mean to myself. Now, I look in the mirror and I’m a lot more chilled.”
Have you had any cosmetic surgery?
“I’ve had Botox and I’ve always been open about that because I think it’s disingenuous to pretend that you haven’t. I’ve also been on the TV when it’s gone wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it.
You just need to wait for it to pass. There’s no point sitting there with these really strange eyebrows with the whole world looking at you going, ‘What the hell’s happened to her face?’ Own it. Laugh about it. It’s one of those things.”
Would you consider any other cosmetic procedures?
“I’m not there yet, but yes, if it came to it and it was really bothering me. But I feel I don’t need to anymore. I think people are more forgiving and in lockdown they got used to seeing real faces.
Even when you look at the news, people are doing reports over Zoom, not with fancy lighting, using wonky-angled laptops.”
You went through early menopause following a hysterectomy in 2016. How are you now?
“I’m on HRT and am really vigilant about it. Every now and again if I run out there’s a little bit of me that’s curious about what would happen if I stopped. But the sweats and the brain fog do come rushing back – and then I go back on it.”
Do you have other health issues?
“Everything creaks and groans but that’s normal.”
Do you feel different in your 50s?
“I do feel different. Your 40s are a really incredible decade because you are just starting to figure out who you are, but nothing has started to drop yet and you think that’s how you will stay.
Then you get to your 50s and you’ve really figured out who you are and, annoyingly, all these bits of you start falling off. What you have to develop is a sense of humour and start being able to laugh at yourself a bit more.
“I now get people coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh my God, it’s you! My mum loves you on the telly, can I have a selfie?’ I love it.”
You Just Need To Believe It: 10 Ways In 10 Days To Unlock Your Courage And Reclaim Your Power by Andrea McLean is published by Hay House, priced £12.99. Available now.