Love Islander reveals the extreme 'body prep' she did before joining the show

·3-min read

Ahead of the new series of Love Island kicking off last night, former contestant Shaughna Phillips (who appeared on the 2020 winter edition of the show) has posted a video to her YouTube channel detailing her "fitness journey" before entering the villa - and it sounds *intense*.

Speaking about the lengths she went to while prepping to appear on the show, Shaughna said she spent an hour and a half in the gym every single day, refused to eat a single Quality Street over Christmas and asked her friend to "fat shame" her.

"I think for me and the series that I was in, we had it the hardest... because the casting process was over Christmas," Shaughna explains. "Everyone and anyone indulges, but because we knew we were potentially going into the villa, I for one did not have one Quality Street that whole Christmas season... Now, that was a bad Christmas."

Continuing on, the reality star added that she "definitely upped her game" in the gym and would go for 90 minutes every evening, including over the festive period. "I was very, very strict," Shaughna then remarks. "I don't think I had dessert at Christmas dinner, I don't really drink anyway."

The former Islander also said it was tough keeping everything a secret from her friends, who had no idea she was billed to appear on the programme. "They thought I was a fitness queen... when really I was gasping for a strawberry cream Quality Street," Shaughna jokes, before saying she'd ask a work colleague to "fat shame" her if she ever saw her reaching for a biscuit during their shared tea break.

"I'd get her to say 'Is that biscuit gonna look nice in a bikini?', because I needed someone to constantly be on me," she laughs.

While it's completely understandable that Shaughna would want to look and feel her best before appear on such an insanely popular show, it's also a little bit sad that she - and no doubt many other previous contestants - feel they have to sacrifice so much, and to look a certain way, before competing.

Love Island has been criticised for promoting a particular body type as the 'ideal' one over the years, and for its lack of diversity, something that those who tuned in last night may have been disappointed to see being upheld.

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Commenting on her self-esteem at the time, Shaughna says she was definitely 'aware' of how she looked in comparison to the other cast members and says, "I was aware that I was definitely the biggest girl in there, but watching old episodes back now, I wish I was as 'fat' as I thought I was when I was on Love Island. I look at myself in there now and I'm like 'You looked fab!' but that is just proof that you're never happy with what you've got, so you might as well just be happy with what you've got... I was self-conscious but I had no reason to be."

Speaking also about her diet and exercise regime while actually on the show, Shaughna revealed the food was "hit and miss... like school dinners" and she did one workout throughout her stint in the villa.

After exiting the series, Shaughna says she was busy with work and media commitments, so began just eating on the go, then lockdown hit and she struggled to find the motivation to work out at home. Nowadays, she says she's found a healthy balance and credits the Jonple fitness and nutrition app as being a helpful tool.

We love and truly appreciate Shaughna's honesty about her body journey, but if we're being candid too? Isn't it time that reality shows stopped setting the 'you must have visible abs or you're unworthy' bar so high that it makes people feel they have to deprive themselves of a single chocolate over Christmas? Just a thought.

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