Retired cricketer-turned-professional-boxer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff has revealed a secret battle with bulimia.
As part of Sky1’s upcoming Flintoff: From Lords to the Ring, the former England player speaks of his struggle with weight during his professional career, which led to him purposefully throwing up food he had eaten.
“I used to be tall and skinny and I didn’t drink. Then I started putting weight on. My lifestyle wasn’t great, granted, when I started living on my own. I got to about 19 and a half to 20 stone.
“It was all a bit deeper than that because to lose the weight, I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. I started being sick, I was sick a lot. I would eat and I would be sick. I would be doing it myself. I would put my fingers down my throat and everyone within the team hierarchy thought it was great because I was losing weight.”
Talking about his shrinking frame, Flintoff continued: “I was in India, I was in New Zealand, my weight was coming down. I was doing the training – but I wasn’t eating. I’ve thrown up in cricket grounds around the world, in restaurants – all sorts – and I lost about 15kg by doing that.
“It’s not the right way to go, which I am very aware of. You start off doing it if you have a bad meal, you eat something you don’t think you should have eaten or you have drunk too much. Then, before you know it, even good meals you are getting rid of. It becomes a real habit. The only way really to lose weight is to train more and eat less, and eat the right things. That is what I am going to have to do on this.”
When asked why he’s chosen the documentary to discuss his eating disorder for the first time, Flintoff said, “I think it’s something which has happened and I’ve got no qualms about speaking about it. It’s something which happened a while ago now.
“I learnt during the Inside Sport documentary that speaking about things does help and maybe if someone watching is feeling the same way, you can see people have been through it. You can speak about it and people can help.”
Freddie Flintoff: From Lords to the Ring begins on Tuesday 22 November at 9:00pm on Sky1