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‘Survivor 46’ cast opens up about ‘tough’ transition to ‘normal’ life, how they feel a year later

Finalists of Survivor 46 spent 26 days on an island in Fiji, with Kenzie Petty being crowned the winning Sole Survivor. But as rough as the experience on Survivor It seems, transitioning back to a “normal” life off the island has its challenges as well.

Even though the cast of Survivor 46 have been off the island for a year, there are still mental and physical impacts they’re experiencing today. Participating in the competition is just part of the battle.

“For final three it’s tough, because you get right into the after show, … and then you’re on a plane within like 24 hours,” Ben Katzman who was in third place on Survivor 46 told Yahoo Canada. “For someone like me that got so used to sleeping next to people, it was really rough getting home.”

“I had to process a lot of it alone, and just tried to dive back into music and hanging out my friends and chilling with my dog, and visited Charlie (Davis) a lot. … I visited Liz (Wilcox) a lot …So friendships can be made after this vicious gameplay, but it was really hard.”

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Katzman recalled when he was coming home, he and his mom went to get some groceries and Katzman just got a bag of chips, a jar of peanut butter and a couple bananas.

“I was like, I can make this last like two weeks,” he said. “I couldn’t turn off the game, but I just knew I went through this amazing thing.”

That mental challenge was also something Maria Shrime Gonzalez, who wasn’t sharing any details of her experience with her husband or children, found “incredibly challenging.”

“I kind of walked this journey alone for the last year, which has been really hard,” Gonzalez said. “It’s hard because your mind is still somewhat in the game, somewhat on the island.”

(LR): Kenzie Veurink, Maria Gonzalez, Charlie Davis, Tiffany Ervin, and Ben Katzman on Survivor 46 (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)

With lack of food and resources on the island, there’s a physical transformation that happens to the castaways, more severe the longer they last in the competition. But that doesn’t mean that returning home turns that around.

“It’s a huge adjustment,” Survivor 46 runner-up, Charlie Davis, said. “I still don’t think a year later my body’s totally back, 100 per cent back to normal.”

“I’m a lifelong runner and it’s been really hard to get back into shape. I was in great shape before Survivor and it’s been hard to get myself back to that level, from a physical standpoint. But also just mentally, it’s just hard to get myself motivated, because I think I felt so drained from Survivor.”

(LR): Soda Thompson, Liz Wilcox, Venus Vafa, Tevin Davis, and Hunter McKnight on Survivor 46 (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images)

Throughout Survivor 46 we saw Liz Wilcox be particularly challenged with what she can eat, due to allergies (we can’t get the Applebee’s breakdown out of our heads). But if terms of trying to transition out of the game, Wilcox was able to prepare a bit.

“I knew that no matter what happened out there, I was going to have to recover,” Wilcox said. “I knew I was probably going to eat less. I knew that if I lost I’d be devastated, because I’m a terrible sore loser.”

“Because I own my own business, I had made it so that I could take an additional 30 days off of work. I actually ended up taking an additional 60 days off of work. So coming home, I actually flew to Michigan, which is where I’m originally from, and I spent the whole summer just hanging out. I didn’t turn on my laptop one time, I was still mostly off social media. could tell her mood was like, oh my gosh I missed you, but I’m mad at you for leaving… So I just spent a lot of time very slowly easing back into real life.”

But Wilcox shared that she’s still underweight after being on Survivorand she’s still feeling the physical effects of the game.

“I really did lose a lot of muscle,” Wilcox said. “Right now I can’t even really walk more than like four miles at a time.”

“My legs, I’ve never had a thigh gap, I have a thigh gap. I have a calf gap. I’ve got an ankle gap. So I’m trying to build that muscle back, but I cannot stress enough that “my body was eating itself.”

While Wilcox’s advice to anyone who goes on Survivor is to not “let people get you down,” it’s also something she thinks should be kept in mind for those who are experiencing the “aftermath” of the game.

“It is a television show and… I know that I personally signed up for a game,” Wilcox said. “I would say all the time out there to Jeff, some people are playing Survivor and some people are on Survivorbut at the end of the day, my misstep was actually, I’m on Survivor too.”

“For any future players and past players that still deal with the aftermath of being on the show, please just love yourself and know that your game is your game, and nothing could ever change that.”

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