The Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite struggled with bulimia more than ever while competing on Strictly Come Dancing season 19.
While speaking at Attitude's Body Image panel recently, Whaite opened up about how much he struggled with the eating disorder during his stint on the popular, celebrity reality competition Strictly Come Dancing in 2021.
“[The show] enabled me to see that if you fuel your body, you can do beautiful, creative things and you need to have that fuel,” Whaite explained. “But at the same time, it was such a stressful situation that I was making myself sick four or five times a day during Strictly.”
“The thing with bulimia is it doesn’t go away. You have to have talking therapy to manage it, there’s no magical pill as with any body issue. So, it’s something I’m working on but I think when you start to like who you are as a person then it makes it easier to combat that side of you.”
Prior to Strictly, Whaite was known for winning the third season of The Great British Bake Off. Over the years, the baker-turned-ballroom-dancer has been open about struggling with mental health and bulimia.
During a recent interview with the Irish Times in 2019, Whaite revealed that he had been dealing with depression for many years and had been on and off anti-depressants. Then, in 2020, the Strictly alum talked about having an eating disorder for the first time during an interview with Steph’s Packed Lunch.
“I didn’t really realize I had an eating disorder until about two years ago when [my psychotherapist] said ‘this is bulimia,’” Whaite explained. The reality TV star felt like he couldn’t talk about his eating disorder given his status as a celebrity chef. Whaite contemplated, “Especially as a chef, I didn’t really want to talk about it because I felt like it kind of undermined my entire career. How can a chef who writes recipes books and cooks on TV, how can he realistically have bulimia?”
Whaite competed on Strictly Come Dancing with a male partner, Johannes Radebe. As the competition went on, Whaite and Radebe got to the grand finale together. However, they ultimately lost the trophy to EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice.
Still, one can safely say that winning The Great British Bake Off and finishing as the runner-up of Strictly Come Dancing is a pretty solid reality TV track record for Whaite in his career.