Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff opened up on his battle with bulimia and admitted that is unable to watch old footage of himself playing as he is ‘ashamed’ of how he looked. The 42-year-old revealed he was diagnosed with an eating disorder during his playing career in 2014.
“I don’t want to be a statistic,” he said on the BBC documentary– Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia – which will be broadcasted on Monday. “I don’t want it to be read that something has happened to me,” he added.
“I became known as a fat cricketer,” said Flintoff. “That was horrible. That was when I started doing it.
“That was when I started being sick after meals. Then things started happening for me as a player.”
According to various studies at least 1.5 million people in the UK – of which 25 percent are male – have an eating disorder like bulimia.
Stating that focus was put on his weight during the early part of his international playing career, Flintoff detailed how he would fell sick during England’s iconic 2005 Ashes series against Australia, where he played an important role to help his team retain the urn for the first time in 18 years.
“Everyone was happy with me,” he said. “My weight was coming down. It was like: ‘I’m bossing this.’ It just carried on and I was doing it all the time.” : “I scored my first hundred in New Zealand in Christchurch. I came off at lunch and threw my lunch up.
“I knew all the grounds and where it was easier [to throw up]. Lord’s was so much easier because the toilets were away from the dressing rooms.”
He kept it secret, as he “didn’t want my relationship in the dressing room to change — I knew what the reaction would be”.
“I remember when I started making myself sick it felt like my decision. I was getting hammered in the papers for being overweight. I was known as the fat cricketer and it was the quick fix to do it.
“Then I went from doing it if I had a drink and doing it if I had eaten foods I didn’t want to eat or felt I shouldn’t eat, to then doing it most meals.
“That was then it started controlling me.”
Confronting his bulimia, Flintoff said: ‘I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the results.
‘I don’t know whether it’s just being a bloke, you feel you should be able to stop it.’
But while feeling ‘in control’ of the situation, he admitted: ‘I probably should get help. I know it’s a problem and I know it needs addressing.’
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