Zayn Malik's highly-anticipated autobiography Zayn recently hit the stands, and it shows a side of him we've never seen before. On Monday night, the 23-year-old took to Instagram and announced that his book serves as a "diary of a period of time that [he] would like to share with you all." He continued to say that the book included several "personal" things that he has "never told anyone."
One of those things was a serious eating disorder he developed right before his decision to leave One Direction. In an excerpt from his book obtained by The Sun, Zayn wrote: "When I look back at images of myself from around November 2014, before the final tour, I can see how ill I was. 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."
He continues to reveal that he wasn't concerned about how he looked or about the numbers on the scale, yet he would go "days — sometimes two or three days straight" without eating anything. "It got quite serious, although at the time I didn't recognize it for what it was," he writes.
The young singer attributes the issue to his immense workload and pace of life, along with being on the road, and all the troubles going on within the band.
"I think it was about control," he writes. "I didn't feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did. I had lost so much weight I had become ill."
After quitting One Direction in March 2015, Zayn interviewed with the Associated Press, where he downplayed any statements about an eating disorder. "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," he says. "I was never diagnosed."
It is actually quite common for men with eating disorders to be overlooked. A 2012 study shows that even though 10 percent of all people suffering from anorexia and bulimia are men, they are often underdiagnosed, undertreated, and misunderstood. It is important that we keep discussing and researching these issues among men to encourage them to share their stories. Hopefully, Zayn's honesty is one step toward ending the stigma around disordered eating.