Former Love Island contestant Jamie Jewitt, who recently married Camilla Thurlow whom he met on the reality show, has just spoken candidly about how his body has changed since becoming a father and appearing on the programme. As we all know, the reality series has been criticised many a time for peddling one very specific idea of what 'attractive' looks like and for its lack of body diversity.
Having previously started a 'Dad Bod Diaries' series, documenting his health overhaul after gaining four stone since his time as an Islander, Jamie has now shared that he still doesn't "feel healthy" at his current weight and hopes to change his shape following an upcoming a boxing match.
"I've always been fit because I've always boxed. My belly might tell a different story, and yes I've gained a bit of weight and got a bit out of shape but I've always had a good base fitness," the father-of-one told OK! magazine. "I'm not a heavy weight, [but] I don't feel healthy at this weight and I shouldn't be this weight. I've got pain in my knees and stuff like that. So I think after this match I will try another attempt at shifting the belly."
Jamie isn't the only Love Island contestant to speak out about body image and his personal journey with health; in recent months both Dr Alex George and Malin Andersson have taken to social media or commented publicly on their experiences.
Speaking on a podcast, Alex revealed he put his body through a very intense-sounding regime ahead of his time on TV, but has since regained balance and stopped exercising and calorie cutting, and is much happier for doing so.
"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 whilst speaking to Vicky Pattison. "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."
Malin Andersson, who took part in the second series of Love Island, posted a throwback promo shot of her in a gold swimsuit, and said she wanted to send a reminder to her Instagram followers that pressure to 'look' and 'feel' the same way as "everyone else does" is never healthy.
"As Love Island approaches our screens tonight (with lack of diversity might I add once again) - I invite you to take a deep breath and [think about] what the show actually entails," Malin began her poignant caption. "I rarely speak about the show and always refuse comment when giving interviews as this is not who I am anymore; however, I also need to talk about how I am forever grateful for the platform it helped me achieve... I’ve been around a while, 5 years since my series aired... [which also] means a lot of change within my soul."
She continued on to say, "[There's] pressure to look and feel the same way everyone else does. When I say this, I speak from a place of insecurity [that] I once had and pain. The pressure to be compared to others whether that be from my season, or there-after. There was a constant push of who would be successful and when not reaching that, there would be a huge amount of unworthiness and wondering if what was wrong with me... It breaks my heart to see a show pan out like this."
We have nothing but respect for Jamie, Alex and Malin for sharing their experiences – something which will no doubt help others going through something similar feel less alone.
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