Flaunting her slim pins and defined cheekbones, a newly slim Gemma Collins beamed with confidence in Dubai this week.
Grinning from ear-to-ear, the bubbly blonde showed off her long legs in a thigh-skimming satin mini-dress alongside TOWIE co-star Billie Faiers.
And her stunning display comes of the back of the three stone weight loss she’s achieved this year, which was kick-started by an infamous stint on Dancing On Ice.
She’s now hoping to lose another six stone to reach her goal weight.
“I’d be really happy if I lost six stone as that would bring me down to 12 stone and a size 16,” the star said recently, having dropped from a size 24.
But Gemma hasn’t always had to battle with her weight.
As a teenager she was a slim size 10 with a healthy approach to food. That was until a quick succession of heartaches sent her eating spiralling out of control.
“Every time I felt an emotion I would eat to block it. Food gave me a high,” she wrote in her 2013 autobiography, Basically… My Life As An Essex Girl, admitting that in her darkest hour she started self-harming.
“I had always been slim so I never felt guilty,” she explained, admitting she would think nothing of eating three chocolate bars in a row followed by two burgers from McDonalds.
“I started to fixate about food. It became a focus away from the grim reality of my situation. I would think about it from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed. I had low self-esteem. I was suffering and without realising I morphed into a bigger person,” she said.
“I went from being a thin girl who never had a weight problem and was a constant size 10 to a girl who couldn’t stop growing.”
Within a year she had ballooned from a svelte 11st to a size 18 and was tipping the scales at more than 17st.
Desperate to shift the pounds, she tried everything she could to slim down, including The Cambridge Diet, the Dunkan Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet.
“But I didn’t exercise and once the weight was on it stuck. I found it hard to resist temptation and I craved the comfort I found in food,” she admitted.
Instead, Gemma embraced her curves and carved out a niche as TOWIE’s bubbly diva.
But behind the scenes her health problems were stacking up.
“Food became my friend,” she said, admitting she would eat up to 3,000 calories a day .
“I would use it as an emotional crutch. Some people have a blanket or a teddy – for me, when I was eating I felt safe,” she continued.
“Once I couldn’t breathe because I was ramming food down so quickly,” she says. “I’d have loved to have been sick, to get it all up. But it didn’t work for me.”
Desperate to cure her ‘obsession’ with food she tried hypnotherapy and lost three stone at Jason Vale’s Juicy Oasis retreat in Portugal – by consuming nothing but liquids for four weeks.
“I’ve done every diet out there, there’s nothing I haven’t done,” she told This Morning of her despair and desperation.
“I was obsessed with food. And life revolved around food and eating. There was no brain space in my head for me not to think about food, it was a living nightmare.”
Then in 2016 Gemma was dealt a crushing blow when doctors discovered her egg count was low and her weight could stop her conceiving.
In a bid to turn it around she signed up to Dancing On Ice and started burning a whopping 1,000 calories a day during training.
“I was told I needed to lose weight (to have a child) so that’s why I decided to do the show to better myself in the long term,” she said.
“I’ve definitely struggled with (not having a baby) because a lot of my friends that I’ve been on TOWIE with have all gone on to have children.
“And everyone’s like ‘when are you going to have a baby?'”
By the end of the show she’d lost two stone and she’s since lost a further 14lbs, showing off her dramatically slimmer figure in a sparkling suit at a SkinnyJab launch last month.
She’s cut out sugar and red meat and won’t eat carbs after 6pm. She’s also hired fitness instructor Vicky Young to keep her on track.
“For breakfast she’ll have poached eggs, avocado, tomatoes on sourdough, then lunch will be a big salad with kale, peppers and avocado, with either chicken or tuna steak,” Vicky told new! magazine.
“For dinner, I make her vegetarian curries, or sometimes it’s chicken and halloumi kebabs with peppers on a skewer with tzatziki salad.”
However, it was recently revealed that there’s more to her new figure than diet and exercise, with Gemma turning to SkinnyJab appetite-suppressing injections.
“It’s time to rein all the excesses in and get healthy again and @skinnyjab are going to help me do just that!” she tweeted in June, admitting she’d been “indulging in fantastic food”.
A three-week plan costs £250 with repeat injections priced at £135, and promises to reduce a patient’s desire to eat in just three days.
However, Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director at patient.info, told The Sun Online that the programme should only be used by obese people or the seriously overweight.
“It clearly is not a ‘miracle cure’ – there really is no side-effect free miracle solution for obesity,” she said.
“This injection should only be used under close medical supervision, in addition to effective diet and lifestyle changes.
“Like any other licensed drug, it has side effects – among the most common are feeling sick or being sick and diarrhoea.”
Moving forward, the 38-year-old now plans to have her 38GG breasts reduced in light of her weight loss.
“My boobs are so big and I want to get them reduced in January, but I have to lose three stone before they can operate,” she said.
“My boobs are 38GG now and I think I will go down to a C or a D-cup. The operation is all booked in. I think when you have big boobs, they can make you look bigger and I would just love to never ever wear a bra again.”