DANCING On Ice finalist Colin Jackson has told how he would go DAYS without eating at the height of his battle with an eating disorder.
The retired athlete – who will compete in Sunday night's final – says he starved himself as a young man trying to make it as a track star.
And he says his disorder peaked the year after he competed at the Barcelona Olympics.
The 54-year-old says he now looks at pictures of himself from that time and is shocked at the “‘skeleton” he sees staring back.
“I’ve never eaten much,” he said. “As a kid I was too busy I used to run at eight o’clock in the morning, play all day, not come in for lunch, come back and have dinner. That was it. Three meals for never normal for me.
“But in 1993 I went too far the other way. I simply didn’t eat. For two, three days at a stretch, nothing. I just drank coffee. Even when I finally ate I would have a tomato sandwich. Not even a sandwich. Just one piece of bread, no butter.
“Looking back I was showing all the signs of anorexia. I see pictures of myself then and I looked like a skeleton. Yet I remember waking up most days and thinking: ‘Christ I am fat.’ I’d lie about my weight. How I managed to run so fast with no fuel in the tank is beyond me.”
The retired athlete opens up about his weight issues in his memoir Colin Jackson The Autobiography
The former Strictly contestant has overcome the condition now and has previously spoken openly about the impact they had on him.
Speaking two years ago he said: “If I'd not had an eating disorder, I would have had a lot more energy and trained a lot better. I was fatigued and couldn't see past what I felt was the right thing to do at the time. On reflection, I would have been an overall better athlete and a lot happier with myself if I hadn't suffered with bulimia and anorexia."
"I'm free from having an eating disorder – as soon as I retired, there wasn't the burning necessity to change to compete. I found it easy to stop there and then, it lifted a pressure from me that perhaps I hadn't noticed before.
"My advice to others would be to stop and ask yourself: 'Is this good for me, am I healthy?' It's easy to say this now I'm out the other end, but I do encourage people who suffer with an eating disorder to stop, don't do it, don't criticise your appearance, love yourself, be confident and believe in your abilities.
“And ask for help, don't feel alone, reach out to people close to you."
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