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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Freddie Flintoff has opened up about his 20 year battle with bulimia


by Holly O'Neill
29th Sep 2020
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In a new documentary that aired on BBC One on Monday, September 9, Freddie Flintoff opened up about a long struggle with bulimia


Cricket legend and Top Gear presenter Freddie Flintoff has opened up in a new BBC documentary Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia about his long struggle with his eating disorder.

The sporting legend has never been treated by professionals for his eating disorder and has faced up to it in his new, powerful documentary.

Following fatphobic press coverage in the UK, the focus on his weight led him to begin an eating disorder that he has been tackling for 20 years. Now he’s trying to come to terms with it, meeting bulimia sufferers and specialists in an attempt to challenge the stigma that face men who suffer with the eating disorder.

As a cricket player, he was at a talk with a dietician who spoke about the athletes she works with who suffer from eating disorders. Freddie thought about speaking up and talking to her about his struggles with bulimia until she mentioned that she “couldn’t imagine” it was something that would be troubling a group of men. Experts suggest that at least 1.5 million people in the UK have an eating disorder like bulimia, and 25% of those are male.

Today, Freddie still struggles with the disorder and the stigma and shame associated with it, a stigma heightened in men due to bulimia being labelled as a women’s disorder. He works out frequently and was surprised to learn that overexercising and worrying about working out before and after meals is another layer of the eating disorder.

He has been praised on social media following his unflinchingly honest reveal in the documentary. It has since been lauded as one of the best documentaries of the year, with the destigmatising of male eating disorders being an important conversation that doesn’t receive nearly enough airtime.

Watch Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia on the BBC Player here.

Photography by Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia on BBC ONE.

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