Strictly: Nina Wadia meets her partner Neil Jones
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Neil Jones , 39, has spoken out on how lockdown affected his habits and contributed to him gaining weight ahead of his return to Strictly Come Dancing. The professional dancer said last year's series saw him come back with a 34-inch waist and that had been the "biggest" he had ever been.
Asked about how he prepared for Strictly 2021, Neil explained: "It started because we had a really long lockdown.
"And the first lockdown, we found out we were going into lockdown after Comic Relief or something… Sports Relief.
"And we're all sat there talking and there was quite a few other doctors, Doctor Ranj was there…
"And we were discussing what is Covid, what's going on… And then they were explaining everything to us.
Neil Jones addresses return to Strictly after lockdown weight gain ‘Biggest I’ve been!’ (Image: Getty)
Neil addressed his return to Strictly Come Dancing last year after gaining weight during lockdown (Image: Getty)
"And when we finished the show, the next morning, it was like, 'we're going into lockdown.' And everyone was like, 'Oh my God. What's this?'
“'But it was also quite nice, because we'd been working so hard before."
However, taking an extended period off work also affected his habits and he began to gain weight.
The Strictly star confessed that moving into a new flat did not help either as he found himself ordering takeaways.
Neil Jones has spoken out on how lockdown affected his habits and contributed to him gaining weight (Image: BBC)
This year, Neil was paired up with EastEnders actress Nina Wadia (Image: BBC)
Neil continued: "I'd just moved into a new flat, I had no furniture, so I was ordering things.
"And I remember saying this, 'we're only having this once a year'…
"I was ordering food online, I wasn't cooking for myself , I wasn't working out…
"And then, I came back to Strictly and I was bigger – I think my waist had gone up to a 34.”
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Strictly Come Dancing line-up 2021 (Image: Express)
He admitted he used to have a 32-inch which had gone down to a 27 inch.
Neil added: "And I remember seeing my picture… So we get this professional picture…. And I didn't like the photo, and it's everywhere!
"So now when I'm doing Morning Live or anything and they keep using this picture and I can just see the rolls over the side and I'm like, 'Please just use another year. That's the biggest I've ever been in my life!'"
This year, Neil was paired up with EastEnders actress Nina Wadia.
The pair were the first contestants to be eliminated from the competition after their Tango failed to impress the judges.
They found themselves locked in an intense dance-off with Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez.
Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse voted to save Katie while Anton Du Beke wanted to see Nina dance again.
You can listen to the podcast here …
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