My Celebrity Life

Strictly’s John Whaite opens up about eating disorder and body dysmorphia calling ‘perfect’ Instagram images ‘very, very triggering’

Strictly Come Dancing star John Whaite has bravely opened up about his struggles with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia.

Discussing the impact of social media on young people, and the proposed Online Safety Bill , John, a regular guest on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, joined host Steph McGovern, Sayeeda Warsi and Debra Stephenson.

The Online Safety Bill proposes plans to protect everyone, but particularly vulnerable and young people, from harmful content online.

The bill will require social media giants (like Facebook and Twitter) to offer ways for users to verify their own identities and control who can interact with them.

Speaking on the daytime show, Steph and her guests raised the effect the Online Safety Bill could have on protecting children against online bullying, trolling, and harmful or explicit content.

John also raised the importance it will have on vulnerable people too, not just children, as he shared his own struggles with body dysmorphia.

He said: ‘I don’t think it’s just the young people that we need to protect. I think it’s anyone who is vulnerable.’

Speaking from his personal perspective, he added: ‘Whenever I go and sit on Instagram, there’s pictures on my explore feed of the perfect male body.

‘And as someone who has an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, that’s very, very triggering, and that will be the case for many other vulnerable adults as well.’

The star has previously opened up about his mental health, addressing comments made during his time on Strictly (Picture: BBC)

He added that it is ‘paramount’ to protect children, but tech giants nonetheless have a ‘duty of care’ towards all of their users.

This isn’t the first time the Great British Bake Off winner has opened up about his struggles.

In November, whilst training on Strictly, John took to Instagram to address comments about his body, writing: ‘Since I started working out I’ve had so many messages from members of the gay community telling me how disappointed they are with me for becoming “yet another muscle Mary”.

John has been open about his struggles (Picture: Instagram)

‘I don’t work out so I can post pictures of myself on Instagram. I don’t work out because I feel having a muscular body shape makes me a better person. I work out because I am bulimic and because I have struggled with body dysmorphia since I was a little boy.

‘Going to the gym is my way of keeping things under control. It allows me to feel like I have a small grip on the rudder of my life.’

He also opened up to Attitude Magazine about struggling with eating: ‘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…’

John gained immense support during his time on Strictly, as he was in the show’s first all-male pairing with Johannes Radebe.

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The pair made it all the way to December’s finale, going up against Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice who went on to win the competition.



BEAT

If you suspect you, a family member or friend has an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or at help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk, for information and advice on the best way to get appropriate treatment

Steph’s Packed Lunch airs weekdays from 12.30pm on Channel 4.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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