Eastenders actress Tamzin Outhwaite on cooking from scratch, hot yoga and saying no to Botox, in an interview with Jane Oddy

Tamin Outhwaite’s diet

I’m pretty healthy and food is an important part of my life. I’m never hungry first thing, so I will throw ginger, apple, carrot and lemon into my cold press and have a juice for breakfast. I eat when I’m hungry, as opposed to feeling I need to eat by a certain time; however, I tend to have a box of fruit mid-morning, then a proper meal at lunchtime. I take my own food into work on EastEnders – a homemade chicken or vegetable soup and perhaps a substantial salad, with chickpeas, beetroot and quinoa.

l like to cook from scratch, using lots of fresh ingredients and superfoods. Pulses, spring onions and tuna are some of my kitchen staples. I love fish and one of my favourite suppers is a piece of salmon with broccoli and sweet potato mash. I don’t eat as much red meat as I used to and I feel better for it. If I have to eat cheese, it will be halloumi or feta.

I can get by only a few hours’ sleep a night and it works well for me. I don’t need the routine of eight hours. I have a rhythm of getting up early, and there have been times when I’ve been up all night with one of my daughters (Tamzin is mum to Florence, 10, and Marnie, 6) if they’ve been ill, and then done a full day’s work on set. I’ve always coped quite well. But I will then need a couple of nights with 10 hours sleep to catch up!

Tamsin during pregnancy

I have such a busy life. If I’m feeling lethargic, I try and hydrate by drinking lots of water and eating food to stay awake. Crisps are my guilty pleasure for a snack. I am a savoury addict and would never buy chocolate.

Tamsin Outhwaite on her weight

My weight goes up and down but I am happy with my body. I don’t go on the scales. I fluctuate between a size 10 and 12 but I can always tell by how my clothes fit whether I have been eating too many carbs or not exercising enough, but I don’t give myself a hard time about it. When I was growing up, I never saw my mum (Anna) on a diet and so it was instilled in me from very early age to eat good food. We didn’t really have sweets or biscuits in the house so I think, as a result, that’s why I haven’t got a sweet tooth. If I gained weight, I learnt to eat less and move more. I am very mindful of the messaging I give my own girls about weight. I don’t want them to pick up bad habits from me. It worries me that I society we focus too much on outer appearances. I bang the drum of beauty coming from within, and tell them it’s important it find a way to look positively at life – to turn the frown upside down!

I am aware of my appearance but am not obsessed by it. My late mum always looked great for her age so I hope I have inherited her genes. There are times when I think I’m looking good, and others when I don’t! I certainly don’t feel 48 but I’d love it if I could drink a magic potion to halt time. I try and do it naturally by taking Ingenious Beauty capsules, which replenish collagen. I tried Botox years ago but cosmetic surgery is not something that sits well with me. Also as an actress on a show such as EastEnders, I need to have a lot of dramatic range and if my face is frozen and unable to move, it’s quite limiting!

How Tamsin stays fit

I will never tap dance in heels again after injuring one of the bones in my foot. That is probably the worst thing I could do. A stress fracture is considered a sports person’s injury, and it didn’t happen overnight, but built up and was very painful. It was March 2017 and I was rehearsing for the stage show Stepping Out, so I took painkillers to keep going but I had to pull out of the show in the end. I was surprised how many months it took to recover. It was more than a year before I could put heels on properly again, and it can still flare up, so I have to watch it.

After an injury like that, you have to get your core working again and I built up slowly. Maybe someone up there was saying to me that you’re not meant to be dancing every night, eight shows a week, in your 40s!

Hot yoga helped me cope when my mum died out of the blue last year (of an aneurysm then a heart attack). It is my favourite form of exercise. I like to sweat and it gets my heart pumping and de-stresses me. I started doing it about 10 years ago. The breathing makes it meditative for me, and it’s like my therapy. Everyone in the studio is dripping with sweat, and if you fancy a little cry, you can and no one notices! For me, it’s a safe haven and it’s been a great place to have a good old sob for quite a while now. Not every time, but there are moments when I feel I have released something. It’s wonderful.

If I have any niggles in my body, hot yoga sorts them out. I try and go to classes twice a week at Yoga Centric, near where I live (in Crouch End, north London).

If I have time, I run and do weights, and frequently walk on Hampstead Heath or to meetings into town. It helps that my actor boyfriend (Tom Child – corr) is also a fitness instructor. He will say: ‘You need to sweat today!’ He’s a good influence and we motivate each other.