Olympic gold medalist and diver Tom Daley has shared his personal experience with what he calls “a mild form” of the eating disorder, bulimia nervosa.
Prompted by pressure to lose weight from a former coach, Daley recalls his tumultuous relationship with food and body-image.
He wrote about his experiences in his new memoir, Coming Up For Air, as well as answering a direct question from a fan during a Q&A segment for The Guardian.
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On the subject, the fan asked, “You wrote about this in your book. Is it fair to say you developed an eating disorder?”
Daley responded candidly, “I used to make myself throw up, in 2012. I weigh myself everyday. I’ve had a very strange relationship with food and my body image. I guess it’s a mild form of that.”
He goes on to say, “Men always seem to not have eating disorders, and it’s hard to talk about it. But I would consider myself to be someone that has very much struggled with body image, and eating, and feeling guilty and shameful of the things that I eat.
“You have these body issues as an athlete. Lots of people would look at athletes and be like: ‘What are you talking about? You’re an athlete, you’re in shape, you have nothing to worry about.'”
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It’s reported that Daley has a history of fully avoiding carbs, fasting for entire days and doing “fasted cardio” (doing a cardio workout on an empty stomach).
Thankfully, the 27 year-old diver now has a much better relationship with food and he does not eliminate any food group from his diet.
Even so, he feels it is important for him to take part in the conversation about disordered eating in men, a conversation which Daley thinks should gain some volume. According to BodyWhys, eating disorders in men have historically been “under-diagnosed, under-recognised and under-treated” so we applaud Tom Daley for giving this subject some much-needed traction.
“It’s difficult some days, like it is for everyone,” Daley says, “but I want to set a good example to [my son] Robbie of working hard, that you don’t just get given things and that your best is OK.”
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