Freddie Flintoff praised for “incredibly courageous” bulimia documentary on BBC One

The cricket hero was praised for his honesty in telling the story of his eating disorder.

Don't Rock The Boat Freddie Flintoff

BBC One documentary Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia had a big impact with viewers on Monday, with some predicting the TV presenter and cricketing legend’s story will save lives.

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Flintoff, 42, told a very personal story about his battle with the eating disorder that primarily involves binge-eating and forced vomiting, but can also manifest itself with abuse of laxatives and excessive exercise routines.

He talked to a psychologist about his struggle with self-image and had to Google search “fat Flintoff” to find images of himself as a young man to illustrate his lifelong anxiety.

The Ashes-winning cricket hero said he hadn’t been in control of his eating for 20 year: “Every time I eat I feel guilty.”

Initially in the documentary he wasn’t convinced he could, or even needed to, change, but after his experiences talking to fellow sufferers he ultimately chose to take action and confront his disorder.

Viewers emphasised the importance of the documentary.

One fellow sufferer summed up the feeling of many viewers on social media. It was “a documentary needed for a long time… One thing that helped me on the road to recovery was realising I was not alone”.

The Top Gear co-presenter’s hour-long documentary was “an incredibly courageous thing to do”.

Many commented on the misperception that bulimia was a predominately female eating disorder.

The documentary posted the stark info-graphic that “60% of men with an eating disorder don’t seek help”.

Social media reaction was unanimously positive about the “amazing” documentary.

The message that sufferers were not alone was reinforced in the programme and on social media.

For one viewer it “brought old unresolved feelings back… That was me 30 years ago. I’m fatter but happy, healthy & recovered. I pray he finds a way to be happy in his skin too”.

If you are suffering from an eating disorder, you can find out where to get help via BBC.co.uk/actionline or the NHS website.

Freddie Flintoff: Living with Bulimia is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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