A single mother-of-three who was raised by nuns and has the nick-name ‘Shereen the machine’ is among the latest batch of castaways starring in the new series of The Island with Bear Grylls – and she doesn’t hold back when it comes to airing what she thinks about her rivals on the show.
Shereen, 48, a GP, who lives in Gibraltar but works remotely in Scotland and London, says while she was more than prepared for the ultimate five-week survival challenge, many of her fellow castaways arrived ‘overweight and unfit’.
The keen nutritionist, who put herself through a ketogenic diet plan before arriving in the isolated Pacific location, told FEMAIL that she had a head-start compared to her fellow participants, thanks to her familiarity with fasting and food restriction.
The show aims to highlight financial disparity between the two teams, with one group high-earning professionals each taking home an average of £100,000 a year and the other all earning below the UK average wage.
Shereen, from ‘Camp Snob’, said those in the lower-earning camp talked constantly about missing ‘Maccy D’s’ [McDonald’s] and weren’t, in her opinion, fit enough to ‘hunt and gather’.
Shereen, 48, a rural and remote GP, who lives in Gibraltar and works in Scotland and London, was more than prepared for the ultimate five-week survival challenge
The opposite group of eight castaways, dubbed ‘Camp peasant’ all earn below the UK national average wage. Shereen said she was shocked at how well the group survived in trying conditions, because they were ‘unfit and overweight’
The mother-of-three, pictured in Cairo, is a fan of healthy and clean living and likes to alternate ketogenic diet plans with paleo. Shereen regularly joins her friend Claudia le Feuvre for Facebook live seminars talking weight-loss
The lifestyle changes she experienced on the island affected her health both positively and negatively, from having the ‘best detox ever’ to eating so much coconut that her health cholesterol skyrocketed.
However, Shereen believes that the extreme conditions helped many of her camp mates change their unhealthy lifestyles for the better – even though she initially doubted their abilities.
The mother-of-three, who lost ten kilos during the five-week stint, admitted she had never watched the show, sending off an application for what she believed was to be a ‘trauma doctor’ behind-the-scenes of the show.
When she found out three days before that she would be jetting off to an uninhabited island to join a group of seven other people as a participant, she wasn’t aware that they would eventually team up with eight more people.
‘When the other group appeared I nearly had a heart attack, but I actually coped better than I thought I would,’ she explained.
‘I was shocked at how well their group did at surviving, because they were unfit and over-weight.
‘You could say they had bodily reserves but to be a hunter gather you need to work for your food, if you are not fit how can you hunt and gather?’ she said.
The Island with Bear Grylls, abandons 16 ordinary Britons on uninhabited islands in the Pacific where they have to fend for themselves.
The first eight castaways – of which Shereen was one – were all wealthy professionals living off an average income of £100,000 a year
In the fifth series, two separate groups were abandoned at opposite ends of a remote uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean.
The first eight castaways – of which Shereen was one – were all wealthy professionals living off an average income of £100,000 a year, a wage only earned by a fraction of Brits.
The opposite group of eight castaways all earn below the UK national average wage.
The series intends to look at the issue of wealth disparity, and whether living with vastly different economic circumstances at home has an influence on our ability to cope in the wild.
I personally think that the people who went on the island, it has benefited them. It is good to fast…
Shereen wasn’t fazed by the small amounts of food they had to survive on either and while she was expecting it to be ‘hell on earth’, the GP, who favours a holistic approach to health, found it easier than she thought.
‘I don’t know if it was necessarily my profession that helped. I think it was my upbringing and my character.
‘I was brought up by Irish nuns in a convent from the age of four, so if you can survive that you can survive anything.
‘I’ve also got a very good sense of humour. I don’t expect anything in life and I think that’s the important thing. I don’t expect life to give me anything, then you’re not disappointed.’
The doctor, who also runs a health food shop Kitchen Apothecary in north London, and likes to alternate between a ketogenic and paleo diet, was left fascinated with her campmates’ obsession over fast food.
‘What I found interesting on the island, the main conversation funnily enough was McDonald’s, which I don’t eat.
‘They were all missing ‘Maccy D’s’, which I didn’t know people called it that, and Dominoes. That’s what they would all crave.’
She added: ‘They were worried about us not eating, but actually it was a positive change for people.
‘I personally think that the people who went on the island, it has benefited them. It is good to fast.’
Whilst her lifestyle on the island was extreme, there’s certainly something to be taken away from her experience and she believes that finding a balance maximising wellness by minimising intake is crucial.
‘People don’t look at the psychology of eating and how food is attached to emotion,’; Shereen said.
‘The whole way the system is set up is not encouraging people to make positive choices in their diet.
‘But once you break that cycle of unhealthy eating they actually begin to feel better, it may be difficult initially.’
The Island with Bear Grylls starts on Monday April 2 on Channel 4 at 9pm