"I didn't want to acknowledge it — I ignored it, I hid it," the season 45 contestant says in a clip from this week's episode
Survivor contestant Jake O’Kane is opening up about one of his biggest struggles.
In PEOPLE's exclusive look at this week’s episode, the 26-year-old Boston attorney gets emotional as he reveals he had a “serious binge-eating problem” — and how he worked to conquer it.
“When I was overweight I wasn’t feeling too great about myself. I had a serious binge-eating problem,” O’Kane says. “I know there’s a lot of people out there who do that and they just don’t talk about it and they try to ignore their problems. But you’ve got to face them.”
“I knew what I was doing,” the season 45 contestant adds. “I didn’t want to acknowledge it — I ignored it, I hid it.”
O’Kane then shares what drove him to make a committed change to stop binge eating.
“The day that everything, kind of, turned around for me … I’m eating in my car outside my parents' house, my whole family’s inside. My mother comes out to me and says, ‘Jake, you don’t have to be embarrassed about what you’re doing. I love you no matter what,’” he continues.
“And I just said to myself, ‘I’m not OK with this. I can do better. This isn’t how my life is meant to be. I can overcome this.’ And I did,” O’Kane recalls, before breaking down in tears.
Season 45 of Survivor kicked off on Sept. 27. The show returned to its familiar location of Fiji, where the previous four seasons were filmed, with a longer runtime of 90-minute episodes this year.
In the week’s episode, titled “I Don’t Want to Be the Worm”, the starving castaways dream of their favorite foods from home. One person from each tribe then embarks on a journey where they are each forced to make the choice between nourishment and a potential advantage.
Earlier this season, CBS released a sneak peek of contestants competing in new challenges as Taylor Swift’s song “Mastermind” was appropriately played. In the clip, the contestants were seen walking on a beach, jumping in the water, and making fires for a challenge before joining their new camps.
“I’ve watched every season of Survivor,” one contestant said in a voiceover, while another noted, “This is strategic excellence on display.”
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Survivor airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and is available to stream on Paramount+.
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