Jungle queen Vicky Pattison has resorted to some extreme measures to control her weight and her looks over the years, she admits.
In her 20s, the reality TV star – who made her name in shows like Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! – would exercise to the extreme, obsess about maintaining a size six-figure, and use alcohol to self-medicate, she revealed in her book published earlier this year, The Secret To Happy.
“Now, after years of very hard work on myself, I have a healthy relationship with most things. I have an addictive personality which can lead to anything like exercise, healthy eating, and alcohol. I can be prone to excessive tendencies.
“I work really hard to keep balance in my life. I’ve removed myself from most toxic situations that would exacerbate my obsessive qualities, such as being around people who make me nervous or insecure.
That can make me want to drink or bring out old food compulsions that make me feel more in control,” the 34-year-old writes.
Today, she lives in her dream £1.5m house with her fiancé, ex Towie star Ercan Ramadan, and says she’s the happiest she’s ever been.
In terms of her relationship with alcohol now, Pattison reflects in the book: “I like to think that drinking too much is totally behind me now because I know it’s a recipe for anxiety.”
Here’s a closer look at how Pattison’s approach to taking care of herself has changed…
How do you keep your addictive side at bay?
“I exercise regularly – and not to my detriment. I get a lot of fresh air and exercise and don’t deprive myself of anything. I have nights in and I also have nights out. I have pizza when I want pizza and I eat the right amount of lettuce.
“Times have changed (in relation to exercise). I’ve talked to my trainer about the way the industry has moved and it’s more focused on wellness and mental health and training to be strong or capable rather than for some impossible, unrealistic aesthetic – and I’m all for that progression.”
How do you feel when you look in the mirror?
“It’s hard as a woman. I don’t know many women who look in the mirror and go, ‘Yes!’ I don’t know if that’s in us, or it’s society or the media or Instagram.
But I know I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my own skin. That has taken being really thin and realising that didn’t make me happy. Being slightly bigger and probably a bit unhealthy didn’t make me happy either.
“It’s taken getting to 34 and experiencing all these extremes and realising that none of them brought me happiness, to work out that happiness probably lies in the middle. A little bit of squish but getting your endorphins going every morning; greens, yes, but also cheese.
“I’m now a really nice size 10. I’ve got boobs and a bum. I’ll never be able to get my boobs in anything smaller than a size 10.”
Why did you have your breasts uplifted?
“About eight years ago, when I first lost loads of weight, unfortunately, the first place I lost it was my boobs, so I had to get them uplifted and I had to have an implant in one of them because it was a lot smaller than the other.
“I’ve been really honest about the process. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Yes, I love my boobs but it was dead painful. I spent weeks sleeping on a sofa because I couldn’t lie down in bed.
My chest didn’t feel like my own. It felt like there was something alien in my body and, of course, there is.
“Of course, I wouldn’t advocate people’s personal choice but I would urge people to not take these decisions lightly, because it’s a huge surgery and a big strain on your body.”
You say in the book you’ve resisted cosmetic surgery to your face
“I don’t want to look at myself and not recognise myself. For now, I’m really happy.”
Why do you think you were drawn to toxic relationships in the past?
“The first reason for this was, you accept the love you think you deserve. Despite seeming confident and self-assured, I’ve always struggled with my self-worth.
Living my life within the public eye from such a young age exacerbated those feelings. I didn’t believe I deserved love and a nice partner.”
What was it like sharing your home with Ercan during lockdown?
“He’s a really lovely man. I’m very lucky that I met him, but that’s not to say we don’t have normal couples’ ups and downs and argue about whose turn it is to walk the dog, or where he’s left his pants. We are just normal.
“When lockdown happened, there were moments when I felt really grateful to have him there, because a lot of my mates were isolating on their own. There were also moments when I thought, ‘Get out of my house!’”
How do you relax?
“I like to have a big bath and to watch a good show and eat nice things.”
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
“I’d tell her that things get better and to lay off the fake tan because she’s practically radioactive – think I was very orange at that point. And I’d give her a big old hug.”
The Secret To Happy by Vicky Pattison is published on January 6 by Sphere, priced £16.99. Available now.