Zayne Malik, who has spoken about his struggles with anxiety, says that the pressure of fame also had an effect on his eating patterns. In a new autobiography titled Zayn, the 23-year-old singer revealed that he struggled with disordered eating while touring with his former band, One Direction. “When I look back at the images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was," Malik wrote, according to an excerpt from The Guardian. "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.” Malik explained to the Associated Press that he was often so busy with touring and working that he wouldn't have time to eat. “I realized that I wasn’t eating as much just down to the amount of work that we were doing," he said. "Our schedule was kind of crazy, so we were all over the place.” “I was never diagnosed with [an eating disorder],” he said, adding that “it was just more down to losing track of, you know, actually eating, and being super busy and getting caught up with other things that 17- or 18-year-olds do, which normally entails them going out, drinking, or partying.” The National Eating Disorders Association estimates that around 10 million men in the U.S. will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. However, it remains unclear just exactly how many men currently suffer from eating disorders — an elusiveness that's due partly to the prevalent idea that eating disorders are "women's problems." This misconception can keep men from coming forward. Thankfully, Malik told AP that he has since become much better at making sure he's eating enough. We're glad he's doing better — and that he's being so open about struggling with something that's still largely carries a stigma, especially among men. Hopefully, his candor will inspire others to seek help if they need it.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.