Recently I read about The Only Way Is Essex star Harry Derbidge talk about his struggles in his battle with anorexia. It didn’t surprise me because I went through a mild version of anorexia myself and when you do you tend to see the possible signs even though you are only reading about a person in the press. I think he is incredibly brave to talk about it, especially been so young. It’s a major issue to put yourself out there and talk about after all.
Derbidge (20) told Now Magazine,
“I’ve suffered with an eating disorder from a very young age. I was probably anorexic and didn’t know it. That’s how bad it was. I was always OCD about my food. I was so fussy, I couldn’t stand how it looked or smelt. My poor mum had to separate the food at dinner time – she put chips on one plate and the peas on another. I remember gagging, like I was doing a bushtucker trial.”
He says that he realised at 14 that he “had a problem with food.” and says that his mother Karen sent him to a doctor because she was so worried. There the doctor weighed Harry. His weight was 7 and a half stone.
“An average boy should be around 10-12st and I’m 5ft 10in. My chest was just bone.”, Harry said.
He admitted that at this time he “used to cry himself to sleep, just cry and cry and cry. I was very ill. I’d have hunger pains but I used to work through them.”
Speaking about how long he has went without food Harry admitted,
“I once went two days without food.”
He also admitted,
“I’d eat my dinners but whatever I didn’t like the smell or taste of I’d hide behind my tongue. During the meal I’d say I wasn’t feeling well and needed the toilet. I’d throw it all down the toilet from behind my tongue, especially meat, like steak or lamb.”
The reality TV star admitted that he always hated how he looked saying,
“I’ve always hated my look – gaunt and skinny. I remember crying when I looked in the mirror.”
And admitted that it affected his self-esteem,
“I didn’t like myself at the time. Everyone was talking about my weight issues and people made jokes about me. It was so hurtful. I had people saying: ‘Ooh, you gay boy, you skinny twerp.’ But it made me stronger.”
Asked whether it affected his relationships he replied,
“I’m not desperate to have a relationship. At 18 or 19 I remember panicking about even walking into a club as I wasn’t sure of myself. It was so hard.”
He told how he went to a doctor a year and a half ago who weighed him and told him that he was near anorexia. The doctor told him that if he didn’t do something about it he would end up in a clinic.
“That was the moment I was lowest of the low, being told that I might have to be force-fed through a tube.”
Family and friends have been a huge source of support for Harry during this difficult time,
“Amy’s always been there for me. She’s so supportive. And my mum’s the best. I don’t think I would’ve recovered without support from my family. The only people who knew about it were my best friends Sam Faiers, Amy and my mum. I remember going to dinner and they’d help me through it and not try to push me. I’ve been lucky.”
Talking about why he decided to talk to Now about what he had and was going through Harry said,
“Because I feel better for it. If I can help one person, that means a lot. Also you don’t really hear of a male anorexic-it’s very rare. Boys generally love their food.”
Speaking about whether his ex boyfriend fellow The Only Way Is Essex star Bobby Cole Norris knew about what he was going through Harry said,
“He didn’t really know about it. He met me while I was recovering.”
The former couple broke up recently after Bobby found out that Harry had cheated on him with his ex but Harry says,
“I’m single at the moment. We’re not together but we both love each other. What will be will be.”
Harry says that he is now “much better but it’s a long process” and said that he hopes people with an eating disorder will “get help immediately-go to your doctor.”
For help and information go to to:
Eating Disorders Charity Beat:
b-eat.co.uk or call 0845 6341414