Steph McGovern admits she ‘starved’ herself while on BBC Breakfast

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Steph McGovern, 40, has admitted she would force herself not to eat anything while filming early morning segments for BBC Breakfast. The Steph’s Packed Lunch star explained she would not eat until after filming was finished, even if she was starving, on account of her IBS.

Over the past few years, Steph has also been very open about her struggles with her IBS on TV, which has helped make other people feel more comfortable to talk about their health issues publicly.

According to the NHS website, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system. 

It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation – and it’s usually a lifelong problem.

When asked if she ever felt like her gut was particularly bad when getting up for BBC Breakfast really early in the morning, Steph confirmed to “Yeah, totally! It was horrendous.”

“I did what a lot of people do, which is to just go, ‘Oh, I’ve just got one of those tummy things, I’ve just got dodgy bowels.’

“When I was doing Breakfast Telly, I wouldn’t eat until I’d finished broadcasting because, even if I was starving, I’d be so worried about having to run to the loo,” she confessed.

“I would have to work out where the toilets were because I was obviously on location a lot. So I’d be in a field or a farm or whatever. 

“And then as soon as I finished I’d have a bacon sandwich, which is the worst thing you can have,” she reflected.

“But then I might try to be healthy and have a smoothie, but then I’d just find that would be worse. I’d be in pain, diarrhoea – horrendous. 

“And so I just thought, fruit? I can’t do fruit. And that’s stupid, it was just because I didn’t have the gut diversity.”

Steph’s life changed when she met Dr. Julia Jones, who was recently interviewed on Steph’s Packed Lunch about her book Neuron: Smart Wellness Made Easy.

Speaking about the first time she met Julia, Steph said: “Up to that point I’d been struggling with IBS forever. 

“And at that point I’d just accepted that I’ve got it and I can’t do anything about it.”


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However, since adopting Julia’s “smart wellness” plan, the presenter claims her life has completely changed. 

In fact, their partnership was so transformative for Steph, that the star has now invested in Dr Jones’ start-up company Neuron, which has opened a new wellness centre in Folkestone, Kent. 

“Julia’s programme has totally transformed my life,” Steph gushed. “I know that sounds really dramatic, but my IBS is really debilitating. Now, my IBS is in total control and I very rarely now have any problems.

“But also I’ve just got better wellness in its entirety,” she continued. “For example, my weight has come down – which wasn’t what I was trying to do – but I’ve gone down two dress sizes.

“And it’s totally sustainable. Like, I’m not doing a mad diet or anything like that, but it’s really transformed me.”

Julia and Steph are now on a mission to encourage individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles, using techniques such as intermittent fasting, introducing variety into your diet, improving sleep patterns, cold water exposure, and breathing practices.

The Neuron smart wellness hub and live bacteria bar is located in the Creative Quarter at 23-25 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1JU. 

For more info about Neuron’s smart wellness courses and products including gut health tests please visit

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