Freddie Flintoff’s documentary Living With Bulimia has left viewers devastated with the sport’s star’s raw and honest account of the eating disorder.
The Top Gear presenter honestly spoke about how being bulimic has affected his life, including his shame at being ‘proud’ of purging his food, and even now finding it hard to acknowledge the hold that it has on him.
Sparked by comments about his weight as a cricketer, Freddie was spurred on to continue throwing up his food when he started getting complimented on his weight loss.
He explained: ‘Everyone was happy with me. My weight was coming down.
‘It was like: “I’m bossing this.” It just carried on and I was doing it all the time.’
He admitted to hiding his actions from those around him, including team mates and family members, before finally telling his wife.
Learning about bulimia as a whole, Freddie was shocked to discover that it wasn’t defined by being sick, and that there were other elements involved, including excessive exercise to burn off the calories he’d eaten.
In a heartbreaking moment, he later spoke to family members of loved ones who have died from the disorder, with parents talking about losing their son, Laurence, from a heart attack as his body gave out.
Freddie also spoke to those currently in recovery, and the difficulty that he faced speaking up about it due to being a man.
Praised as ‘one of the most important documentaries of the year’, viewers were soon sending love his way to keep strong as he admitted he felt like he’d have bulimia forever.
Approximately 1.5million people in the UK currently have an eating disorder, statistics claim.
Of those, 25% are male – but it wasn’t until recent years where men’s mental health has been given a spotlight, with eating disorders still being considered a ‘girl thing’.
If you suspect you, a family member or friend has an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or at [email protected], for information and advice on the best way to get appropriate treatment
As a result, men like Freddie are often too embarrassed to come forward with their own struggles, or refuse to ackowledge them.
But with people like Freddie speaking out, more men are now willing to open up about their relationship with food and image.
This included Connor Spratt, who revealed to Metro.co.uk that he used exercise in a bid to keep his weight down.
Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia is available now on BBC iPlayer.
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