World News – GB – Like Freddie Flintoff, I am a man who suffered from bulimia


I had one goal: to keep my weight For the best part of the year, I had lived in a cycle where I reduced my calories as much as I could, did punishable exercise several times. times a day and ended in an uncontrollable binge when I ate as much food as possible

I didn’t know it at the time, but like former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff, I suffered from an eating disorder

I like to describe these episodes as if I was sprinting blindly in a fog that only lifted when I finished eating. I had no idea what happened; I would « come back » after the binge was over and just felt the end result of the pain Something that was my constant, both physically and mentally

While consuming food I was extremely distressed, panicked that others would think I was « fat » and avoided social events while I tried to resolve my pain by bingeing on secret I started to lose my desire for everything Food and my weight were the only things on my mind

Soon after, I spoke to a close friend who urged me to see a doctor After listening to what I had been through, the doctor diagnosed me with an eating disorder: bulimia

I had to admit that on some level I was in pain, which was terrifying Even so, I had started to assume that this was how my life was going to be – yet I knew I hadn’t always been like this So how did I end up here?

At the beginning of 2018 I agreed to participate in a boxing match for my college I was incredibly excited To prepare myself I counted every calorie I ate, weighed myself several times a day and trained rigorously During this time, I lost a few pounds to meet a competitive weight class

I started getting a lot of positive comments about my appearance Before that I had never really paid much attention – these compliments made me feel special, wanted in some way At some point in the process, I internalized the belief that people only like me when I’m losing weight

After competing, those « healthy » habits turned into a painful cycle of extreme restriction, binge and purge through my obsessive exercise It helped me try to satisfy beliefs about myself, but it was never really enough

Many other people in the sports world seemed to have similar eating and exercise habits as I did, but they seemed fine Then there was the conception that bulimia involves making yourself sick – and I didn’t do that either

My GP finally explained to me that any sort of purging after a binge, whether exercising or spontaneously vomiting, is considered a symptom of bulimia

They also dissuaded me from thinking that only women struggle with eating disorders I soon found out that up to one in four people with eating disorders were male Participation in the sport is also a major risk factor when it comes to developing an eating disorder

There are many reasons for this: weight bands, the desire to optimize performance in any way, and aesthetic ideals, among others

Despite this, we still have a misconception that eating disorders mainly affect women and that it is good to play any sport. It’s incredibly damaging I couldn’t accept that I was in pain because I couldn’t see anyone else like me having similar issues It was just a ‘problem with me’ – clearly no other guy did experienced these problems

I could also use sports to mask my destructive food recording, weight observation, and punishment exercises as « dedicated. » This was before I went to my doctor, which made it more difficult as I spent more time believing my messy habits were « healthy », or at least necessary

Even after I started my recovery, I think a lot of my so-called “healthy” habits were actually just disguised thinking disorders. For example, I thought I felt bad for missing a session. gym was just my mind showing how determined I was, not because I was petrified of gaining weight

Lack of Representation Leads to Lack of Understanding Without realizing the different ways that eating disorders can manifest, we tie our hands together to ask for help, as well as to reach out to those directly affected

My friends and family knew that « something » was going on, but didn’t know what. I don’t blame them; I didn’t know either. I think the lack of information on how eating disorders affect men, as well as athletes, is one of the main reasons we only stop suspecting « something »

We need more voices to speak out I was moved to hear that Freddie Flintoff will be speaking about his long battle with bulimia in a documentary tonight See such a famous man speak on a stage too public is something I needed, to know that I was not alone

Being isolated in my struggles persuaded me to keep this to myself I thought I could overcome my problems while still keeping everything to myself I got into this ‘mess’ – I would be okay

In fact, it was the contact with others that really helped me recover I hadn’t realized how complicated, difficult and deeply ingrained some of my issues were related to my eating disorder Without having the others by my side, I don’t think I would have really gotten to where I am today

My recovery was pretty quick, as I had a good support system looking out for me, but if I had realized earlier that my experience was not mine alone, I might have been more confident to ask for help

Baby with bones so fragile that a sneeze can break his back gets up for the very first time

Even though I consider myself to be well, there is still work to be done which I am not sure will ever go away When I am particularly stressed some of my first thoughts are to start cutting down on the amount of food that I eat, trying to look better in a mirror I become more critical of my body, my fitness, I start to believe that I need to start exercising a lot more

However, when I fight I know how to be honest and tell people I used to always hide when I went to therapy, telling people I was going to a « meeting » to hide my feelings. shame I no longer feel this shame

If I need help I know to contact you I may feel bad for doing it every now and then However, I prefer to have this discomfort – which is purely the result of conditioning men must be stoic and never suffer – compared to the pain I felt through my disorder

If you are suffering from food, weight, exercise, anything, contact You are not alone in this; I am with you with many others

If you suspect that you, a family member or a friend have an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or help @ beateatingdisordersorguk, for information and advice on the best way to get proper treatment

MORE: Freddie Flintoff thinks about his weight every 20 minutes in heart-wrenching battle with bulimia: « It’s exhausting »

MORE: Top Gear’s Freddie Flintoff Knows His Battle With Bulimia Is A Problem: « I Should Probably Get Help »

Bulimia, Freddie Flintoff

News from the world – GB – Like Freddie Flintoff, I am a man who suffered from bulimia



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