Nicole Scherzinger, 41, is known for her charismatic personality and upbeat energy, attributes that makes her a much-loved addition to X Factor: Celebrity, which is currently airing on ITV One. The singer may be in a positive headspace now, but she hasn’t always been in a good place – in her twenties she grappled with an all-consuming eating disorder.
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Recounting that dark chapter in her life, she told Cosmopolitan: “Thinking about it I try not to well up…It is such a horrible paralysing disease and it was such a dark time for me.
“That’s why I can empathise so much with people who have demons and voices in their heads, who aren’t nice to themselves.
“It robs you of living your life. But you can recover and you can get rid of it forever.
“I did it and that’s why it’s so important for me to share my story.”
According to the NHS, an eating disorder is when you have an unhealthy attitude to food, which can take over your life and make you ill.
Eating disorders, which can affect men and women of any age, involve eating too much or too little, or becoming obsessed with your weight and body shape.
Revealing the toll it took on her career and health, Nicole said started to lose her voice, which impacted her life performances, and at one point, the condition got so bad she passed out on the floor.
It was at this point that Nicole realised she was on the brink, which drove her to seek help.
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It is imperative to identify the key warning signs of an eating disorder, and, as the NHS explains, if you or people around you are worried that you have an unhealthy relationship with food that’s affecting your eating habits, you could have an eating disorder.
Symptoms of eating disorders include:
- Spending a lot of time worrying about your weight and body shape
- Avoiding socialising when you think food will be involved
- Eating very little food
- Deliberately making yourself sick or taking laxatives after you eat
- Exercising too much
- Having very strict habits or routines around food
- Changes in your mood
- You may also notice physical signs, including:
- Feeling cold, tired or dizzy
- Problems with your digestion
- Your weight being very high or very low for someone of your age and height
- Not getting your period for women and girls
Despite being on other side, Nicole laments that period of her, feeling like she had wasted a great time in her life.
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As part of the Child Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf mental health awareness campaign, Nicole reflected on some of the potential causes of her eating disorder.
She attributed feeling isolated growing up and being overly self-critical as potential causes.
Fortunately, the condition is treatable, but it may take time and recovery will be different for everyone, explains the NHS.
According to the health body, treatment will be different depending on the type of eating disorder you have, but will usually involve some kind of talking therapy.
After being referred to an eating disorder specialist or team of specialists, they’ll be responsible for your care.
They should talk to you about any other support you might need, such as for other mental or physical health conditions you have, and include this in your treatment plan.
It may also involve working through a guided self-help programme if you have bulimia or binge eating disorder.
Most people will be offered individual therapy, but those with binge eating disorder may be offered group therapy.
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