houseandwhips.com - Gok Wan underwent a drastic weight gain of 21 stones when he was a teenager and it traumatized him because his weight began to define him and dictate his life. He never fit in as a fat kid. As Gok Wan tried to undo his weight gain, he developed anorexia. He has since developed a healthier relationship with his body and now, advocates for body positivity.
Gok Wan does almost about everything. He acts, he is a DJ, he presents television shows, he's a chef, he writes, and he's also a fashion consultant. Whatever he does, he's an artist through and through. After training in the performing arts at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he got into fashion, writing for popular fashion magazines when he got an 'in' for television shows when he was employed to present his own television show How to Look Naked and Say Yes to the Dress Lancashire.
Gok Wan does not just host fashion and styling-related shows, he has also hosted Chinese cooking shows entitled Gok Cooks Chinese and Gok's Chinese Takeaway. Besides that, he has also presented a series of documentaries on social problems among youth while drawing on his personal struggles with obesity and homophobia specifically. Speaking of obesity, let's discuss his dramatic weight gain that was the beginning of a very dysfunctional relationship with his body!
Gok Wan's Weight Gain: It Affected His Relationship With His Body!
Gok Wan's (@therealgokwan) dramatic weight gain of 21 stones when he was a teenager forever changed his relationship with his body.
Gok Wan had a drastic weight gain of 21 stones when he was a teenager.
Image Source: The Guardian
Wan who is mostly known as a fashion consultant in shows like How to Look Good Naked and Gok's Fashion Fix is kind of an icon for his advocacy of body positivity. His followers love the fact that he calls out the fashion industry's ingrained fatphobia instead of upholding it. While most stylists find people for dresses, he finds dresses for people. It's very rare in the fashion world that someone is so inclusive of all body sizes. How did Gok Wan become that way? I think the story begins with the weight gain he had when he was a teenager.
The television star ballooned up to 21 stones when he was a teenager and it, for a while, defined him and gave him some perspective on his body and his life. It didn't affect him much initially when he gained weight. He was working in his family's Chinese restaurant in Leicester at the time. But as soon as he moved out of his home to pursue his education, his weight gain became harrowing to him because it isolated him. Speaking of those times on This Morning in 2019, Gok Wan said,
We loved our food. We had a restaurant, food was epicentre of life. We were fine, it was the everyone else who had a problem with the way we looked. It wasn’t until I was 21 stone and moved to London to go to drama school that I saw people looked very different to me.
When he was exposed to the real world away from his home and family during his formative years, he noticed that he didn't have much in common with the other students at the drama school he went to. He stood out because of his appearance and people never warmed up to him. Soon, his life began to shape around his weight. Gok Wan's weight gain really traumatized him.
[It affected] everything: my personality, how people reacted to me, what I wore, everything. When you sit down with someone who's 21 stone you have certain expectations of what they're like: stupid, lazy or really funny.
Gok Wan Developed Anorexia As He Tried to Undo His Weight Gain!
Gok Wan developed a severe eating disorder when he tried to lose weight.
Image Source: The Mirror
He never fit in with his peers. He was isolated and he was bullied because he was overweight. That experience forever affected his relationship with his body. He developed severe body image issues and he went to extreme lengths to shed his weight in order to be accepted and feel normal. He developed anorexia when he tried to undo his drastic weight gain. It was the lowest point of his life. Gok Wan opened up about it during his Loose Women appearance in May 2017.
I was monstrous…I was 6ft and overweight. My eating disorder started when I went to drama school. I looked around me and everyone was this big and beautiful and I was this big oaf and I remember feeling really…this isn’t right. I started dieting and controlled my food intake. I still have my food diary from that time. I reduced my meals down to two teaspoons of honey every day. I could go to college in the morning and then go to work in the evening. Of course I couldn’t and I was exhausted…but for me it was all about the control.
Gok Wan developed a severe eating disorder and ended up shedding 11 stone in eight months. Sometimes, for weeks, he just lived on as little as fruit and honey. He also took up to 50 laxatives in a day so that he would not gain weight from what little he ate. His weight gain really messed him up. It was a long time ago and he has developed a healthier relationship with his body since then but still, sometimes, he says that he feels like "that fat kid who would sit in the room and not want to be center of attention."
However, mostly, he has gotten over it and now, he helps people come to acceptance with their bodies. He once posted two pictures of him at different weight spectrums to give a perspective to his followers who had been telling him that they were struggling with their weight gain. Gok Wan posted the picture with the following caption,
When I look at pictures of me when my body was obese and pictures of me when my body was anorexically thin I realise one wonderful truth. Both of these bodies are exceptional — regardless of their size.