Zayn Malik is super candid in his new book about a lot of personal things, including his thoughts on One Direction and his anxiety. In the self-titled book, though, Zayn also opens up about something he said he’s never discussed in public before. Zayn says that just before his final tour with One Direction, he has dealt with an eating disorder.
According to the BBC, Zayn said in his book he would go for days without eating, sometimes skipping meals for two or three days.
“When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was,” Zayn wrote.”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.”
Zayn wrote that he came to terms with his eating disorder only after he left the band.
“I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all,” he wrote. “It got quite serious, although at the time I didn’t recognize it for what it was.”
It wasn’t his weight Zayn was trying to control, but his life. Zayn wrote that he felt so out of control that eating was the only thing he could get a grip on.
“I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did,” Zayn wrote. “I had lost so much weight I had become ill. The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressures and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits.”
Zayn opening up about his eating disorder in his book is so important. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders in their life in the United States. Most teens with eating disorders see some type of doctor, but few actually address their eating or weight issues with medical professionals, which could be because of shame or stigma around having an eating disorder. And due to the stigma surrounding some gender identities, transgender youth are even more susceptible to eating disorders than their cisgender peers.
This is why, while Zayn doesn’t owe us any information about her personal life, it is crucial that people talk about mental health openly, because they may be able to influence someone else to seek help. We’re so proud of Zayn for coming to terms with his eating disorder, and we’re grateful that he’s talking about it.
Do you think your friend might have an eating disorder? Here are 5 things you need to know.
Related: What An Eating Disorder Really Means