Sam Faiers: I put partying first
Sam Faiers has admitted she put partying before her own health after finding fame on The Only Way Is Essex.
The 23-year-old joined the ITV2 series in 2010 and left this April, shortly after being diagnosed with the incurable gut condition, Crohn's Disease.
Sam revealed: "M y life on the series has been about working hard and partying and I've had a ball but now I realise I didn't give enough priority to my health."
The model admitted she used to worry about dieting and looking good on camera, but now she puts her health first.
She said: "Although I've never been obsessed with my weight or being a skinny minny you are conscious about your image when you're constantly being filmed.
"It was a real wake-up call during my recovery when at one stage I was too weak to even get off my mum's sofa. I really re-evaluated things and realised that image isn't everything and all that really matters is your health and being happy. At that point, I wouldn't have cared what dress size I was if I could have felt normal.
"Now I believe a great body isn't a perfect 10 in a bikini, it's a healthy, functioning, pain-free body which is what, thankfully, I've regained."
Sam was diagnosed with Chrohn's Disease after falling ill while appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.
She said: "Doubled up in agony with terrible stomach cramps, weight dropping off me, and not able to keep down any food I was really frightened. I knew something was seriously wrong and I couldn't believe it was all being played out on television in the Big Brother house...
"Effectively my body went into shut down and I only just managed to make it to the end.
"At one stage I was facing surgery but thankfully I've responded so well to the medication and diet changes that wasn't necessary. Now I feel absolutely fine, I'm in remission and although I'll have to cope with this forever, I know it's perfectly possible to live a normal life.
"Of course, I wish I'd recognised bouts of sickness and diarrhoea over the last year were warning signs but I'd dismissed them as down to my hectic lifestyle and too much fast food."
:: INFORMATION: Sam Faiers has teamed up with Love Your Gut to support this year's Gut Week, August 11-17, 2014, to raise awareness about digestive health. For information visit: www.loveyourgut.com