Nadia Sawalha has opened up about suffering from a binge eating disorder, revealing that she attends Overeaters Anonymous meetings.
The ‘Loose Women’ panellist spoke of her complicated relationship with food on Wednesday’s (24 February) edition of the lunchtime chat show.
“I’m a very happy person, had a very happy childhood. I love my life but I also had a long period of my life where my eating was out of control,” she said. “Not in the way that somebody might just overeat and be a bit greedy. I ate to shut up things that I didn’t want to feel or low self-esteem.
“I grew up with incredibly low self-esteem about my body. I used to cry about how hideous I thought I was. I always used to do this thing where I’d overeat. And when I say overeat - where somebody would come in feel a bit down and have a couple of slices of toast. I’d have the whole loaf.”
Nadia continued: “I discovered what I was doing wasn’t the norm. The way that I was eating wasn’t that I was greedy or ugly or whatever, it was just that I was using food to shut myself up.”
After realising she had a problem, Nadia started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings, and told her co-stars there had been “many times” she had wanted to tell them about it.
“I started going to Overeaters Anonymous. It has the same philosophy as Alcoholics Anonymous,” she said.
“It’s such an amazing thing. It is a fellowship. You don’t have to have a single penny. You can look on the website today, you can go to a meeting and you don’t have to pay. And you can do that every day for the rest of your life.”
She went on: “I’m a cook, I write about food but I’m a very different person now. Food is there to nourish me and my family.
"I love to cook and love to eat but I no longer eat to shut up my feelings and I know there might be so many people watching today who might have finished that packet of biscuits and not even know it but that was my thing.”
‘Loose Women’ airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.
Useful websites and helplines:
Beat, call 0845 634 7650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
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