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'I NEVER want to be a size zero': Rebecca Adlington said she loves

'I NEVER want to be a size zero': Rebecca Adlington said she loves, Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington may have quit professional swimming earlier this year but she has no plans to ditch a healthy lifestyle.

The swimmer told the MailOnline that she has to watch what she eats now she's no longer burning so many calories in the pool - but she doesn't want to become obsessed with having a skinny figure.

'It's been hard for me to manage my weight since I retired,' she admitted. 'As an athlete I was used to eating big portions and my body craved sugary stuff like chocolate all the time because of all the calories I had burnt off.'

No desire to be skinny: Rebecca Adlington said she's happy to have developed hips and boobs since she's stopped swimming professionally

But the 24-year-old said she has no intention of going on a strict diet to keep the weight off and still wants to be able to indulge her sweet tooth occasionally.

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'I don't want to starving or be hungry all the time, that's not what life is about,' she said.

'I have no desire to be a size zero. I want to be healthy in the right way and keep a balance.'

To keep this balance of a healthy weight, Rebecca said she has been cutting down on her portion sizes and taken up Quorn's 'make one change challenge' - swapping one of her meat dishes a week to one using the low fat meat substitute.

No dieting: The Olympian said she would rather eat healthily and exercise than starve herself to stay in shape

She also continues to exercise regularly, going to the gym, for the odd run or cycle, and of course, swimming recreationally, when she can.

Mansfield-born Rebecca has been swimming competitively since the age of nine and notched up two gold and two bronze Olympic medals, as well as World, Commonwealth and European titles during her stellar career.

She revealed she has noticed a change in her body shape now she's no longer training full-time.

She said: 'I've still got big shoulders, that's going to take years to go down but I have noticed a more womanly figure, I have got hips and my boobs have grown.

'It's what someone would normally go through as a teenager but it's only now I've stopped training I'm getting a womanly figure.'

Sporty: The 24-year-old said she'll keep swimming occasionally and going to the gym as exercising makes her feel good

Golden girl: During her stellar career, she won two gold and two bronze Olympic medals as well as Commonwealth and World titles

She added: 'I have put a bit of weight on but nothing ridiculous. I like exercise so I will keep it up, I want to stay healthy.'

Even though she has grown up wearing a swimming costume on television, Rebecca admitted that she can still be self-conscious about her size 12-14 figure.

'All women can feel insecure so it's about finding what makes you feel confident,' she said.

For her, this means continuing to wear a costume instead of a bikini because 'I don't like having my belly on show', eating well and exercising regularly.

She said: 'I love to exercise and I hate feeling bloated. I always feel better when I'm eating right and doing exercise.'

Looking to the future, Rebecca is keen to get more people swimming through her 'swim stars' campaign and also has a wedding to plan after her boyfriend, Harry Needs, a fellow swimmer, proposed in March.

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