'Once is still too many' - Referee Nigel Owens battled bulimia over Christmas period

International rugby referee Nigel Owens has said his ongoing struggle with bulimia nervosa returned over Christmas.

Luke Chivers and international rugby referee Nigel Owens open up about their struggles with bulimia. Source: Sunday

The eating disorder also resurfaced in the lead up to his career pinnacle - the 2015 Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia.

The Welsh referee gives an openly frank interview on his struggles with Bulimia. Source: Sunday

On BBC Radio Two's Jeremy Vine Show, Owens was asked about if he felt he had overcome the disorder, reported Wales Online.  

"If you'd have asked me this two weeks ago, I'd have said yes," he said. 

"Unfortunately in the last two weeks and the Christmas period, the pressures of Christmas and the drinking and eating too much, I have made myself ill unfortunately once or twice in the last couple of weeks when I see myself putting a bit of weight on, knowing I was too eating too much.

"I managed to keep it at bay for the best part of seven or eight months but unfortunately it has come back a bit now.

"Not as frequently as the past, but once is still too many. It's an ongoing battle that I need to think about how am I going to deal with it and get some expert help.

Owens spoke out about his experience during a BBC Panorama series looking at male eating disorders.

"It was a secret I was still battling to control as I stepped on to the pitch to referee the Rugby World Cup in 2015," he told the BBC.

The 46-year-old - the most-capped referee in history - also spoke about coming out as gay in "one of the most macho sports on the planet", and how he was one of the first sportsmen to talk about his suicide attempt.

He said growing up he found himself attracted to men and he "couldn't figure out what on earth was going on".

"Desperate not to become this person, I struggled to suppress him," he said.

Owens became depressed and was overweight. He was 18 when he began making himself sick.

"Mental health issues, depression over my sexuality, bulimia and steroids - my life was an unrelenting nightmare."

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