Strictly Come Dancing’s John Whaite says he’s in a better place now after struggling with bulimia since he was a child.
Whaite is part of the first male same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing with professional dancer Johannes Radebe. The British competition series was the inspiration for Dancing with the Stars.
The out baker and winner of the third season of The Great British Bake Off discussed his disorder in an interview with Attitude.
“Well, I always wanted to be skinny. I grew up with two sisters and a mum who were always on SlimFast, always on Weight Watchers, always on the Atkins. So, from the age of 12, I was on the Atkins diet. I used to cut carbs out, which for a growing boy, a child, was a very dangerous thing,” he told the magazine.
He added: “I am bulimic, you know, I still struggle with that. Even though I go through moments of – not strength, because that’s implying that bulimia isn’t strength, but I go through moments where it doesn’t affect me. [But] every single day is a battle with an eating disorder because it takes over how you see yourself in the morning, it takes over how many times you feel you should go to the gym, what you can or can’t eat. I purposely have certain foods that I’ve restricted still.”
Whaite, 32, said that while he used to shrink away from the world, he now wants to take up his own space in it. He also added that he wants to be bigger and stronger, which he said, is possibly connected to the disorder.
He told Attitude that once he started gaining muscle many gay men criticized him.
“Since I’ve started working out more, the amount of gay people I’ve had saying to me, ‘You’ve just become a Muscle Mary.’ One guy said to me, ‘Oh, what a shame you’ve become another gay white gym bunny.’ I’ve always been gay, I always have been white as well, and I’ve always been interested in the gym, but I’ve just started paying more attention to the nutrition,” he said. “I’m not saying that I’m the perfect figure, [that] if anyone’s chunky or too skinny, it’s bad.”
He said that’s what people think when they see his more muscular body. “I’m doing this because I’ve battled with an eating disorder for 14, 15 years and I’ve finally come to a position where I’m happy being bigger,” he explained.
Whaite told the magazine that people shouldn’t just attack him for making his choices.
“These choices are for me, they’re not for anybody else," he said. “Twink Bake Off John is who people want me to be now, but I’m not, I’m a different person, it’s 10 years on. I’ve been to the gym and changed my shape, so what?”