She was weight training at the gym and running frequently, but still kept piling on the kilograms. It was only when her hair started falling out and she started having extreme skin breakouts, that actress and television presenter, Lalla Hirayama, really started worrying.
"I craved fried foods and sugar, struggled to sleep and started losing my memory, not a good thing when your job is to remember scripts," she said, looking the picture of health and finally back on top her game when we met last week.
Hirayama is currently on a national awareness campaign to spread the news about a condition that afflicted her three years ago. In 2015 she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.
"The saddest thing about PCOS is that it often goes undiagnosed," she said. "The symptoms mimic regular Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms - weight gain, bloating, acne, headaches, body pain - so I thought it was just a phase. But I had acne on my chest, back and neck, and hair in unwanted places, so eventually I couldn't ignore it."
PCOS sufferers may have infrequent or prolonged menstruation and excessive levels of the male hormone, androgen. Ovaries sometimes develop cysts and the condition can result in infertility, and can cause other major health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
"When I was first diagnosed I felt like I'd been handed a death sentence - I was told that it would be difficult for me to fall pregnant and that I could have a heart attack," she said.
An endocrinologist prescribed the typical PCOS treatment - a combination birth control pill and the diabetes medication Metformin to improve insulin resistance and lower insulin levels.
"The treatment made me expand even more," said Hirayama. "My skin got worse, my hair kept falling out and I could barely wake up in the morning. It wasn't working for me."