Fearne Cotton has, for the first time, opened up about her decade-long battle with bulimia. And I'm massively applauding her bravery and courage – revealing your struggle with an eating disorder is no mean feat. I know, because I did it too – albeit on a much smaller scale than Fearne! I had 35,000 followers on Instagram when I decided to switch from talking solely about fashion to opening up about my battle with bulimia and other eating disorders. It was a very scary moment because when you're in the eating disorder bubble that you keep very much to yourself, there's a hell of a lot of shame and guilt involved. And because you've kept it to yourself, you end up thinking you're the only one. Until you reveal the secret, and realise that eating struggles and disorders are really common – everyone just keeps them to themselves and so you feel alone in your bubble.
Which is why it's incredibly important that Fearne has been brave enough to share her story – we need to de-stigmatise having an eating disorder and eliminate the shame surrounding them. After all, it's been proven that shame only perpetuates eating disorders.
The TV presenter was speaking on Elizabeth Day's How To Fail podcast when she spoke candidly about her battle with bulimia. The former Top of The Pops host said that during the earlier stages of her career, she did not feel "cool enough, smart enough or good enough" when it came to her job, adding that bulimia acted as a "sort of weird, new release".
Fearne, 38, continued: "It felt like a release, like every worry, every problem, thought, was just gone. It was like a little bit of euphoria afterwards. Of course, it wasn’t. I want to be very clear about that. It took quite a while physically to kind of move on from that, but mentally a very long time."
Her explanation of the disease is important, too – too often, people believe that eating disorders are caused purely by vanity, another reason why they have stigma surrounding them. But it just isn't true. Eating disorders are complex and nuanced and often are down to control issues.
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It was also amazing to hear how Fearne fought for a healthy relationship with food and turned her focus to her health. "I’ve been very studious with food and careful about how I eat, how I cook and how I talk about food. I feel really good and recovered," she said.
Thanks for sharing Fearne, I speak for a lot of people when I say we appreciate your honesty.