As a new season of Love Island is well and truly underway, previous contestants are opening up about their own experiences of prepping for the show. When gearing up for the winter edition, Shaughna Phillips said she asked a friend to "fat shame" her and avoided eating a single chocolate over Christmas – and now, Dr Alex George has also shared his intense diet and workout regime ahead of the reality show.
Speaking on the new episode of Vicky Pattison's podcast 'The Secret To...', Alex said he was approached to appear on Love Island five months before entering in the villa, but that others had a year's notice.
"Most people apply for the show 12 months before, but they approached me in February, so I literally had 21 to 22 weeks before I was going on there," he revealed. "I was actually quite fit, I cycled to work and there was nothing wrong with my shape at all, but I felt this extreme pressure to get 'in shape'."
In response to this pressure, Alex said he upped his workouts and cut his calories. "I trained so hard, I trained two hours a day, had a really restricted diet. I didn’t do anything other than work, train and eat not very much," he tells Vicky. "It wasn’t a good thing and when I went on the show, I didn’t feel good about it, I thought 'I don't like, it doesn’t feel good'."
When he came off the show, Alex said he realised what he'd been putting his body through wasn't sustainable. "I went [back] to a more balanced diet, and I felt so much better for it," he explains. "I look back now [and] I kind of wish I hadn’t done all that... I shouldn’t have been on a restrictive diet. It comes down to being happy with who you are and being comfortable in your own skin, it’s taking me time to do that."
Speaking about the promo shots for Love Island, the A&E doctor added that he wishes he would've relaxed a little more. "Two days before shoot day I was restricting my diet, hardly eating anything other than just protein to cut my weight down. I look back and think 'Wow that was not good for you' - that is not real life, that is not want people want or need. I would rather have a balanced life."
It's great that Alex is spreading such a positive message now, as well as dishing up a welcome reminder that the 'enviable' Love Island-typical body shapes that we see on TV can sometimes be the result of unhealthy habits. Imagine how much of a difference it would make if the show actually lived up to its half-promises of having a more diverse cast?
Vicky Pattison: The Secret To is available to listen to on Acast and all major podcast platforms. New episodes are released every Thursday.
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