Freddie Flintoff has made the heartbreaking confession that he thinks about his weight every 20 minutes as he battles bulimia.
The Top Gear presenter has bravely spoken out about his eating disorder in a new documentary set to air on the BBC next week.
And while learning about the illness by talking to other men who suffer from bulimia, the former cricketer explored his own relationship with his weight, exercise and food.
After discovering that you can be bulimic without being sick, the star explained: ‘It’s your relationship with exercise as well, I thought it was the act of being sick – how daft am I? I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I didn’t know what it was.’
Bulimia, also known as bulimia nervosa, is described by charity Beat as eating large quantities of food (called bingeing), and then trying to compensate for that overeating by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or exercising excessively (called purging).
The programme then shows the 42-year-old working out at the gym as one of his ‘coping mechanisms’, where he revealed ‘getting big’ is his ‘worst nightmare’.
Looking at his stomach, Freddie said: ‘I reckon there’s not 20 minutes that go past without me thinking about [my weight] – it’s constantly on your mind, constantly. You can feel it all the time.’
‘It’s exhausting,’ he pressed before pointing to his head and stating: ‘You don’t want to get in here.’
The hour-long instalment follows Freddie’s journey on finding out whether he needs professional treatment to help combat his eating disorder.
‘I probably should get help,’ he tells the camera. ‘It’s something that affects me every single day.
‘It’s something I am acutely aware of when I look in the mirror, when I eat my food, when I try on my clothes, it’s something I don’t stop thinking about.
‘This is the frustrating thing about it- I know it’s a problem and I know it needs addressing, so why am I not doing something about it?’
Freddie, whose real name is Andrew, started to suffer from the condition in 2001 when he joined the England cricket team, and felt the pressure to keep his weight down.
However, some of his worst moments happened when he turned to boxing, where he has since said: ‘I look at pictures from my boxing career and I look at a shell of a person. I look at my eyes and there’s nothing behind them.’
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
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Bulimia nervosa, Andrew Flintoff, Eating disorder, Beat
World news – GB – Freddie Flintoff thinks about his weight every 20 minutes amid bulimia battle