Talking To Anorexia – A Review

So I watched Louis Theroux’s ‘Talking to Anorexia’ the other day and have been gathering my thoughts about it since then.

I’m not going to lie; it was very difficult to watch, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing.

Anorexia is the deadliest of all psychiatric illnesses; the average duration of the illness is 8 years and the full recovery rate is thought to be around 40%. 40%. That means that 60% of people either remain chronically ill, or only make a partial recovery and live the rest of their lives with anorexia hanging over their heads. If I talk about it honestly, I don’t think I could put myself in that 40%. Although I left treatment for the last time about 4 years ago now, my eating disorder remains something I am very much aware of. I adore hearing stories and reading blogs about people who would put themselves in that ‘fully recovered’ group, and I aspire to be like them. My eating disorder no longer controls me, and I live my life as anybody else. I am healthy and happy – I am ‘in recovery’. But I cannot imagine waking up every morning and not having to make a conscious choice to choose to stay in recovery, over, and over, and over again. Making this choice gets easier over time, but it’s still one I have to make. It’s all too easy to fall prey to the voice telling you that you’re fat, that missing one meal wont hurt, that purging just this once wont turn into twice or three times.

louis theroux

Ultimately, that’s why I found this documentary so powerful. Yes it was hard to watch; it was triggering at times and upsetting at others, but anorexia is an insidious illness that takes over its host like a parasite and turns them into somebody else. There are guidelines that the media are asked to follow when speaking about the topic of eating disorders. These include not discussing weight or BMI, specific behaviours such as how much somebody is exercising or purging, and using before and after photos. Whilst I completely agree with these guidelines and certainly will adhere to them myself, I do think that by not talking about the extremes of some of the symptoms of anorexia, we are shielding the world from its true horror. We all know what we get up to within the confines of our competitive and sometimes toxic community, but the I think that despite other media coverage, the rest of the world remains blind to some of the harrowing things we put ourselves through. People are dying. We can’t keep pretending this is a disease of vain, pretty white girls with enviable self control.

It was heart breaking hearing about the experiences of the women featured in the documentary; what’s more heart breaking is how many other men and women are sharing these experiences at an ever increasing rate. I sincerely hope that by Louis getting to know the people featured in the documentary so well, there will be people all across the country with a better understanding of the vicious and debilitating nature of anorexia and how hard it is for people to recover – no matter how much we may want to.

If you need any support or want to find out more about eating disorders, please visit the Beat website here.


  1. I watched the documentary yesterday and even though I have anorexia I found it heartbreaking to watch

    I could completely relate to what they were saying but still not see myself as bad as them so yes I totally agree it was triggering at some points but in someways if you didn’t have an eating disorder it could give you a little insight

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not been strong enough to watch the documentary – I was diagnosed last week and I just don’t think I am strong enough. I have just sought out treatment but I am terrified about what is to come. The fact that you are in recovery and healthy should never been underestimated – you may aspire to others, but I aspire to you. Thanks for sharing. I hope one day my blog can promote the positivity yours does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s such a lovely thing to say, thank you so much. It is a hard road but you can get there. I’ve got a post on the guest blogs page about what to expect in recovery which might help?
      The fact you have even gone to seek treatment is a huge step and one of the hardest parts and you’ve done that already – stay strong.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like an insightful documentary. I think I recognize the young woman in the middle from YouTube. 40% is sad. I’ve relapsed several times over 17 years in recovery. I wish it would be as you say; Just wake up and not have to think so hard about maintaining recovery but I’m not there. I’m also not dying (progress! Haha) so I suppose it’s worth it to be grateful for where we’re at.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good way of looking at it – we might not be where we’d like to be but we aren’t where we were. It’s s difficult journey!
      Yes it was an interesting watch if you’re in a good enough place to watch it but was very difficult in places.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I couldn’t bring myself to watch this documentary yet but my fiancé actually received a text from his best friend just moments after the doc aired apologising to him for not understanding my illness better and what we were going through as a couple on a daily basis. He also sent me a message privately and wished me to get better etc…I think you’re right, unfortunately as triggering as it is, it’s important to shine a light on the horrors of this illness. I know this documentary changed the mind and educated one person in my life, I’m sure it’s done it for many others too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s really good that you recognised you might not be in a place to watch it – like I said it is really difficult. I’m so glad that not only did it make an impact on someone you know, but that they were brave enough to admit they hadn’t been understanding and wanted to change that! Hopefully it will have had that impact on other people too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thank you, i really hope to watch it in the future but it’s just not the right time. and yes, I really hope it had a similar impact on others too. It won’t change everyones mind but even just one is a good step forwards 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • It really is. I would only suggest watching it if you feel able to as it is harrowing. I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling with it – it’s a very challenging journey but you can get through it 💛

      Liked by 1 person

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