I struggle every single day with bulimia but now I weigh 16 stone and I'm happy, says Strictly's John Whaite

STRICTLY's John Whaite has revealed he struggles with bulimia "every single day" but has found happiness at 16 stone.

The chef spoke about living with an eating disorder in a new interview and how he had even dieted when he was a child.

The 32-year-old – who won the third series of Great British Bake Off – said: "I grew up with two sisters and a mum who were always on SlimFast, on Weight Watchers, on the Atkins. So, from the age of 12, I was on the Atkins diet.

"I used to cut carbs out, which for a growing boy, a child, was a very dangerous thing to do.

"I am bulimic… I still struggle with that… I go through moments where it doesn’t affect me. [But] every single day is a battle with an eating disorder because it takes over how you see yourself in the mirror, it takes over how many times you feel you should go to the gym, what you can or can’t eat…"

"I went through a phase of wanting to shrink away, be discreet and small, whereas now I’ve realised I’m six foot two and I’m nearing 16 stone and that’s amazing."

John said he had a new sense of control over his life since accepting his body.

He told the latest issue of attitude magazine, which is out now: "I always say that I used to shrink away from the world, but now I want to take up my space in the world because I deserve to take up that space… I feel like I’m in a place where I’m in control.”

What is bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa, often shortened to just bulimia, is a mental health condition and eating disorder which affects an estimated 165,000 Brit

People who have bulimia often become obsessed with controlling their weight and severely restricting their food intake.

Sufferers are prone to binge-eating and then purging the food from their body by using laxatives or making themselves sick.

While women are more prone to the condition than men, the NHS estimates that as many as 25% of eating disorder sufferers in the UK could be men.

John previously told how his rise to stardom had not been an easy one and winning Great British Bake Off in 2012 had knocked him off a "steady path".

John told The Telegraph in 2019: "What I failed to remember was that age-old mantra: be careful what you wish for.

"Because as the next batch of Bake Off stars emerged, my appeal shrank.

"Year on year, the working days became fewer and financial offers were smaller."

He added: "Addiction to the razzle dazzle came naturally to the youthful me.

"I drank more than I should have and posted unwisely on Instagram and Twitter. If I knew then what I knew now, would I do it all again? Absolutely. But I’d approach it so differently."


The celeb quit social media in October that year telling fans he was seriously depressed.

The star baker wrote on Twitter in October 2019: "You know you’re going through a serious bout of depression when you eat a full box of Curiously Cinnamon cereal and cry at a Balsam Hill artificial Xmas tree advert… I'm signing off."

Two months prior, he had launched an appeal on Twitter to help find his "severely depressed" sister, after she went missing in Portugal for two days.

He later updated fans saying she had been found and was suffering from a hormonal-based illness known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

He said: "Sister is home and safe and so it’s now business as usual. Thanks again for all your love and help. If you want more info on PMDD see @viciouscyclepmd."

In a follow up tweet, he wrote: "We are now going to focus on getting her home and back in good health in the privacy and protection of our family.

"My gratitude to each one of you is undying. You've helped save a sister, a daughter and a mother – thank you."


John, who has been baking since he was five, has managed to carve himself out a successful media career.

He appeared as resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine and made guest appearances on What's Cooking, This Morning, Sunday Brunch and Steph's Packed Lunch.

He has also released three cookbooks, John Whaite Bakes, John Whaite Bakes At Home and Perfect Plates In Five Ingredients.

John has made history as one half of the first all-male partnership on Strictly with pro dancer Johannes Radebe.

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