Zayn Malik Shows Men Can Struggle With Eating Disorders Too
Singer Zayn Malik made headlines this week by opening up about his experiences with anxiety and disordered eating in his recently released autobiography.
As he says in the book, “When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was. Something I’ve never talked about in public before, but which I have come to terms with since leaving the band, is that I was suffering from an eating disorder.”
In an interview this week, the performer said that his intense load led to “losing track of, you know, actually eating.”
“I realized that I wasn’t eating as much just down to the amount of work that we were doing … our schedule was kind of crazy so we were all over the place,” he said.
The 23-year-old also struggled with anxiety during his time in the group. At some points the anxiety even caused him to cancel shows, according to an excerpt shared by Time. “I just couldn’t go through with it,” he explains. “Mentally, the anxiety had won. Physically, I knew I couldn’t function. I would have to pull out.”
Eating disorders are often thought of as a “girl problem.” Men who live with eating disorders are ignored because the typical image of a person living with an eating disorder is young women. However, approximately 10 million men in the United States will struggle with an eating disorder in their lifetime.
“The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds Zayn Malik for courageously coming forward about his struggles with an eating disorder,” Claire Mysko, National Eating Disorders Association CEO, told Yahoo Beauty. “There are still so many myths surrounding eating disorders in men, but the truth is that men and boys can and do suffer from these life-threatening illnesses.”
“An estimated 10 million men will have an eating disorder at some time in their life, but many don’t get the help they need because of the dangerous misconception that only young women are affected,” she says.
From the sounds of it, Malik never received a formal diagnosis of his eating disorder – something which is dangerously common among men with this condition. Many men avoid speaking to anyone about living with an eating disorder out of shame or embarrassment, which can be even more intense because they think men don’t have eating disorders.
“A star like Zayn coming forward can shed light on the reality that anyone, regardless of gender, can suffer from an eating disorder and encourage those struggling to seek the help they need,” Mysko says. “NEDA is glad to hear that Zayn is now feeling great and is grateful to him for sharing his story.”