Pocock: appears an unlikely cadidate for food-related anxiety. Barry Aldworth/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

Pocock struggles with eating disorder

The Wallabies flanker has revealed the surprising extent to which obsessive anxiety about food and physical fitness have impacted his development.

AS ONE OF Test rugby’s star performers, David Pocock possesses a physique and fitness regimen the envy of athletes everywhere.

It is, however, the product of a commitment and ascetism that has in the frequently veered the unhealthy side of the line separating dedication from the obsessive or pathological.

Confronting the condition publicly for the first time in his new autobiography, Openside: My Journey to the World Cup, the 23-year-old casts the disorder in light of his family’s troubled emigration from Zimbabwe:

”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…

”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.”

According to Sport 24, Pocock’s title is nearly unique among high-profile sporting biographies: it has been neither ghostwritten nor published with an eye on personal gain. The flanker crafted the book between training sessions and has pledged whatever profits it generates to a variety of worthy charities.

Orders for signed copies can be placed at

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