Arlene Phillips shares weight loss journey after tragedy – star ‘obsessed’ with one food

Strictly: Arlene Phillips discusses watching the show

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At 78 years old, Arlene is the oldest contestant to be featured on the beloved reality TV show. In the jungle, celebrities reportedly only eat a meagre 700 calories per day, with meals consisting of mainly rice and beans. The star will be entering the jungle tonight. She is currently very slim, however this has not always been the case.

Arlene was a judge on Strictly Come Dancing from its first series in 2004, to 2008 when she was replaced by Alesha Dixon.

Arlene had a shock realisation watching the Strictly Come Dancing tour on DVD.

She hardly recognised herself.

“I saw this fat blob dancing around at the back and thought, ‘Who the hell’s that’?” the Mirror reported.

She added: “It was pure horror because I was looking at a blob. I was more than 10 stone and I’m 5’3. I was as wide as I was tall.”

She blamed her weight gain on the fantastic catering on the show, as well as her deep love of food.

She admitted: “The food is just fantastic and I was enjoying eating it. Once I open a tub of ice cream I don’t stop.”

It was a sequence of difficult and heartbreaking circumstances that led to the dancer and judge to lose her excess weight.


After she was publicly let go from Strictly, Arlene was unable to eat due to the pangs of sadness.

This coincided with her manager Michael tragically passing away suddenly from cancer.

These two upheavals left Arlene in a very bad place mentally.

She admitted: “Food was the last thing I thought about.”

Throwing herself into her work, the weight dropped off of her.

“I was ­having coffee and fruit for ­breakfast and soup at lunchtime. For ­dinner I’d go to M&S and get some fruit and maybe some ­organic turkey.”

She lost too much weight and decided that she would maintain a weight of eight stone and a half.

Her top tip?

“There is no wonder diet – the only thing you need is discipline. Maintaining a diet is a ­nightmare. On last year’s tour they had a ­Turkish Delight cheesecake. Putting it in my mouth was ­orgasmic. There’s a naughty Arlene in there.”

Arlene also revealed that scales are your “best friend” when losing weight.

In terms of food, Arlene told the Daily Mail in 2010 that she’s “obsessed” with fruit.

Most of her day would be “disciplined”, but she treated herself in the evenings.

She snacked on “one dark Belgian chocolate truffle” and finished the day with grapes.

Never a big drinker, Arlene had “a little sip of red wine – because I’m told it’s good for me”.

However, it appears that she still struggles with her weight, in June 2020 taking to Twitter to ask: “How did you lose half a stone? I’m doing two to three hour walk and jogs with masses of uphill climbs and upwards of eight thousand steps every day but no weight loss only gain.”

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