Alexandra Cane: ‘Fitness helped me out of a black hole’

After suffering severe panic attacks that led to her being hospitalised, Love Island’s Alexandra Cane says taking care of her health has given her a brighter outlook on life

alexandra cane

by Lauren Hill Roger |

After leaving the Love Island villa in 2018, fan favourite Alexandra Cane was left battling extreme anxiety and panic attacks so severe, she was admitted to hospital. The star revealed she would often feel like she was sinking into a “black hole”.

While Alexandra was praised for empowering viewers with her “curvy” figure on the hit show, the 5ft 7 star – who was then 11st – described the time as a “lull in my life” and “turmoil in my head”. After exiting the villa, where she was coupled with Dr Alex George, Alexandra says she fell into a cycle of takeaways and late nights, while using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Opening up about her mental health struggles, the 29-year-old says, “It got to a point where I’d just fall asleep crying and I would have an overwhelming fear of dying. It was horrendous. I felt like I had no purpose.

“I had reached breaking point and I knew I had to do something about it. I already knew that exercising and maintaining a healthy body helps promote a healthier mind, but I was shocked at how, after getting my workout routine sorted, my panic attacks went away.”

Alexandra also swapped her coping mechanism of booze binges for exercise, resulting in her slimming down to 9st and a size 6 last year, and says she has finally conquered her demons. She’s gone on to hit back at trolls after they accused her of capitalising on her 2st weight loss, saying, “I got myself out of a horrible place into a happy place doing this and I want to share how I’ve done it.”

She adds, “It’s easy for us to see how people change physically after working out or cleaning up their diet, but I really cannot go on enough about how it improves your mental health. The endorphins that flowed through my body after exercise just made me feel positive every day.

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Alexandra in the love island villa in 2018 ©ITV

“Having a consistent exercise routine had a positive effect on my relationships with people around me, too. I used to be so bitter and negative when speaking to people. I was projecting how I felt on to others. But once I started feeling good about myself, I started trying to uplift the people around me, too.”

Alex initially felt demotivated and lacking in fitness, admitting she was often left in tears and even had a panic attack before a personal training session with her PT, Aaron Phillips, who encouraged her to push through until she started enjoying it.

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Now her love of working out has led Alex to launch her own fitness fashion brand with MILA, as well as an online fitness programme, Alexandra’s Happy Body, which includes a series of 10-minute HIIT routines. She regularly posts routines for her followers to do at home, like her popular “chair cardio”, using just kitchen equipment.

She says, “I do my workouts pretty much every day because it doesn’t take long and I can do it in my living room. I usually split it, so I’ll do one 10-minute session in the morning, and one 10-minute session in the evening.

“It’s not much, but I feel amazing afterwards. Doing a morning session really sets you up for the day, and you make healthier decisions because of it, such as eating better.”

Alex – who is single and no longer has contact with her ex, Dr Alex – admits her nutrition has also played a vital role during lockdown, joking that the only thing she sees consistently is “my fridge”.

Before Love Island, she admits to not having a good diet, saying she would indulge on chicken wings daily while working in an American-style bar and grill.

Now, she reveals, “For breakfast, I’ll have porridge with oat milk and blueberries or raspberries. For lunch, I’ll have chicken, turkey or fish and green vegetables, and the same for dinner, plus fruit or a bit of chocolate.” However, although being more active has helped Alexandra clear her head, she also says the pandemic has taught her the importance of slowing down when life feels overwhelming.

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“During the first lockdown, I learnt that burnout is real,” she says.

“You cannot be a machine all of the time. I fell off a treadmill a few weeks ago and it put a complete pause on all of my training and I had to rest. I was nervous because I’m so used to being a machine – but it was life-changing. It’s about trying to find that balance, which I know can be really difficult during everyday life, where we are so consumed by our jobs, family and responsibilities.

“But you can’t go all guns blazing forever, because you will crash. Body confidence for me is about accepting your body in all of its states. In times of stress, in times of fitness – we need to accept the things we don’t like about ourselves and learn to embrace them. It’s about practising self-care, because you deserve it.”

Alexandra has launched her own fitness brand with MILA. Visit www.themilatribe.com

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