Australia Rugby
Pocock reveals eating disorder
ESPNscrum Staff
November 13, 2011
Australia's David Pocock poses with his man-of-the-match award, Australia v South Africa, Rugby World Cup quarter-final, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, October 9, 2011
David Pocock was one of Australia's stand-out players at the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
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Australia star David Pocock has revealed that he suffered from an eating disorder.

In his new autobiography, Openside: My Journey to the Rugby World Cup, the 23-year-old describes how the problem developed as a teenager when his family fled Zimbabwe for their own safety almost ten years ago.

''When our family first moved from Zimbabwe in 2002 I developed a stress-related eating disorder,'' he says in the book. ''I was irrationally strict about what I ate and had a very skewed idea of my body image and what I looked like. Looking back at photos I was ridiculously lean but in my head I was still not lean enough.

"I remember bursting into tears a few times when the family went out to dinner or when travelling and there weren't any healthy or ultra low-fat options to eat. I was unsure about how to deal with my obvious anxiety towards food.

''This was possibly a response to the fear I experienced living in Zimbabwe for those last few years on the farm when I felt so powerless, and when we moved to Australia I used it as a way to give myself a sense of control and certainty. I've worked on this a lot with the psychologist.''

Pocock, who has been capped 39 times by Australia, also revealed to the Sun-Herald that his wife, Emma, still has to cook approved meals as he fights to control the problem. ''I go into a few different issues from my past and I was pretty honest,'' he said. ''At times I wouldn't say it was tough going, but fairly draining. I tried to be pretty truthful and not avoid stuff.

''I don't just focus on rugby. I try to talk about other things that I feel are important and get the messages across. Hopefully, people enjoy that and particularly young people who aspire to great things will enjoy it and see the work that went into it. I guess, it'd be good if it served as an inspiration and encouragement.''

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