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Richard Osman: TV presenter opens up about ‘difficult journey’ with food addiction

Written by on 26 December 2021

TV presenter Richard Osman has revealed that he has suffered from food addiction since he was a child and will do so for the rest of his life.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Osman said he wants to destigmatise the shame surrounding the addiction and opened up about his own behaviour.

The Pointless presenter said it has been a “difficult journey” to put himself out there but feels the more he tries the happier he becomes.

Undated picture of Richard Osman and his Pointless co-host Alexander Armstrong. See PA Feature BOOK Osman. Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature BOOK Osman.  Image: Osman is a TV presenter and best selling author

“There hasn’t been a day of my life since the age of nine where I haven’t thought about problems with food and how it affects me,” he said.

“And it will be with me for the rest of my life, I know that. I’m either controlling it or not controlling it at any given time, and these days I control it more often than I don’t.

“But again, because you have to eat, it’s actually quite hard and sometimes you do slip but I try my best and I certainly have no shame about it now and anyone at home who overeats or, and thinks it’s ridiculous, you’ve just got to divorce that.

“That’s a difficult journey and it doesn’t come naturally to me but the more I try it, the happier I get.”

The 51-year-old explained that he experienced particular difficulty at one stage where he was left feeling “directionless”, despite having a successful career with his reality show Survivor and was writing for quiz shows Have I Got News for You and Whose Line Is It Anyway at the time.

“I think it is that thing of, my career was going well and I was successful, and I had kids, so I had all the things that I thought were the thing that I needed or the thing that was going to make everything okay, and none of them did,” he added.

“And getting older and older and just working out that I was slightly directionless, and I had various addictive behaviours as well.”

He reflected on how an addiction to food does not have the same “doomed glamour of drugs or alcohol” but he sees them as “identical”.

“It’s just booze but food… The secrecy of consuming these things, the shame behind it.”

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However, Osman noted that, while quitting alcohol and drugs was “unbelievably difficult” you can cut them out of your life, but as food is essential that was not possible which makes tackling his addition “tricky”.

Osman is also a bestselling author of two crime novels, which are set in a retirement community, including The Thursday Murder Club, which is being adapted as a film.

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