We focus too much on women when it comes to conversations around eating disorders. Because - sobering statistic coming your way - one in four people living with bulimia are male. And I'm as guilty as anyone else; my content tends to be aimed at women, because I know the vast majority of people who follow me on my social media channels are women, but where is the help and support for men who are suffering from the exact same thing?
I was starkly reminded of this after hearing the news that Freddie Flintoff will open up about his battle in the upcoming documentary Freddie Flintoff On Bulimia for the BBC. The former cricket star, who developed bulimia while he first joined the England team in 2001, will candidly discuss his struggle with the eating disorder and also investigate the taboo subject of eating disorders in men.
Freddie pictured with his wife, Rachael
According to The Sun:
According to The Sun: "In the documentary, Freddie will seek to understand the causes and impact of bulimia on his life and why eating disorders, in general, are so hidden in men. He will meet experts and male sufferers and aim to get a new understanding of what it means to be a man with an eating disorder.
"It is a topic that is rarely discussed, but it should be. Freddie has bravely spoken about his battles before, and how trying to keep up with ‘slimmer, fitter’ teammates when he became an England player sent him spiralling."
Freddie has previously revealed that he had suffered from bulimia, talking in 2017 about the moment he realised he had an eating disorder. He spoke about being on holiday in Dubai with his wife Rachael in the mid-2000s, spending £400 on a scallop meal before purging.
"When I told my wife, it was the first time I could talk about it," he admitted. "I used to get drinks and kebabs, go home and make myself sick. I was getting results, hitting targets, so it was working, in theory."
I can’t express how delighted I am that Freddie is using his platform to raise awareness of eating disorders in men - it's still so taboo in women, I can’t even imagine how a man suffering with one must feel. Too surrounded by shame to speak up, would be my guess. We need to destigmatise eating disorders for all genders. It’s going to take a while, but this is a huge step - we applaud you, Freddie!