A woman who lost three stone while competing in an extreme survival challenge deliberately regained the load – because she preferred being a size 16.
Karen Bretagne, 50, from Devon, was a contestant on Channel 4’s The Island, a five-week challenge hosted by Bear Grylls and filmed in a remote location within the Pacific.
After weeks of surviving on just 300 calories a day, the shop owner returned home three stone lighter, but removed from being delighted by her new size 10 figure, she said she ‘looked like an old lady’.
‘It was like taking a look at my mother, so I took great delight in putting the weight back on and I’m now back at a size 16,’ she told FEMAIL.
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Immediately after leaving The Island Karen, pictured on the left, had lost three stone and was a size 10. (Right) But now she’s much happier as a size 16
Karen says she blocked out thoughts of home and her family while marooned on the island, but admits she did long for her favourite sweet treats.
‘I did weep once fascinated by treacle sponge and custard,’ she said.
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Despite the hardships, the experience changed Karen’s attitude to life.
‘I’ve come home with a brand new lease of life and a “devil may care” attitude – which bodes well as we’re nearly to open up a new shop with 15 more staff.
‘I really do not think I could have coped before The Island – now I feel like “Bring it on”.’
It was actually Karen’s husband who applied for the programme, but his wife ended up making the cut.
The fourth series of Channel 4’s The Island looked at the generation gap – Karen was part over the over 35s group, while another group was made up of 18-30s
Karen, who jokes that her husband is ‘frightened of his own shadow’, said she knew she would fare better on the show.
Karen works seven days every week running her retail business, and she initially thought that being away from her busy schedule on an island in the midst of the sea can be a ‘break’.
Nevertheless it quickly became clear how difficult the experience would be when survival expert Bear Grylls abandoned the castaways to fend completely for themselves, leaving them with only minimal equipment, enough water to last 24 hours, and the clothes they were standing in.
The fourth series of the of programme also looks at the generation gap – marooning two groups on two different islands, one aged 18-30 and the others throughout 35s, with the oldest castaway aged 66.
Karen said of the twist, which Bear came up with himself: ‘I believed the thought of getting two different age groups was genius, as it opened up conversations, which we wouldn’t have had, and in addition it caused more friction with the different opinions.’
A self-confessed ‘people pleaser’, Karen said she learned that it was okay to say ‘no’ and that things would still run smoothly.
‘The Island changed me, I now say no to everything! It’s a very empowering word, no – I find it irresistible.’
The age gap did not bother Karen either. She said: ‘I feel I am nifty at 50. The show gave me such a new lease of life. I’m way more resilient now.’
‘I realised I was greedy’: Mother, 50, drops three stone in FIVE WEEKS while marooned on The Island
Former police officer Jane applied to seem on the show to celebrate turning 50, she ended up losing three stone. (Left) After The Island
Jane Gates, a retired police officer from Northumberland, turned 50 while collaborating within the show, and located the extreme diet helped her to shed pounds quickly.
She dropped three stones in just five weeks because of an enforced diet of ‘yuk’ yucca plants, tasteless fish, and coconut.
Since the show finished Jane says she gained some weight back because she ‘looked gaunt’, but continues to keep an in depth eye on what she eats.
‘I am trying to keep my weight in check with gym classes and sensible eating,’ she said.
‘I now realise that if I miss a meal or am too busy to eat it isn’t an issue, and I’m trying to serve up smaller portions.’
Jane decided to apply for the show after watching the previous series, figuring it can be ‘a blast’ to celebrate her 50th year.
But she admits she found it difficult not being accountable for her home life while up to now away from her husband and youngsters.
Jane says she had an ‘unhealthy’ relationship with food prior to the show
Jane has since realised she had an ‘unhealthy’ relationship with food: ‘I possess all of the knowledge to be slim and fit but I was greedy when it came to portion size.
‘I soon realised that I could possibly be satisfied and stay alive with smaller portions.’
Now she cooks using healthy recipes and tries to serve a correct Sunday roast dinner every week, but skips the Yorkshire Puddings.
‘I be certain that I eat breakfast, then if I miss lunch because I’m busy, that’s not an enormous problem, I just have a good supper.
‘I feel the vast majority of ordinary individuals are confused as what to eat, there was many conflicting reports about good fats and bad fats, a lot protein, too many carbs.
‘Persons are baffled but the truth is if you happen to fancy something naughty, have it, get it out of the system. But dieting should be easy, put less in your mouth and make your body move more.’
Jane now does regular exercise, like spinning and swimming, and makes sure to walk her dogs no less than three times a day.
She adds of her new outlook on life: ‘I really like being happy and being around happy people. I like making people laugh and have no problem with being laughed at.