What is body dysmorphia? Chris Moyles opens up about his battle with the condition

Caroline Allen
·4-min read
Chris Moyles lost six stone, showcasing his new look in 2016. (Getty Images)
Chris Moyles lost six stone, showcasing his new look in 2016. (Getty Images)

Radio DJ, Chris Moyles has opened up about his body dysmorphia after shedding six stone admitting that he now eats “very little”.

The mental health condition, which can affect people of any age, has left Moyles, 46, weighing himself daily and eating very little during the weekdays.

Speaking to Ross Kemp on his podcast, The Kempcast, on August 7, he said: “Before lockdown, Monday, Wednesday, Friday I would do the show we would have a quick meeting... and then I'd get to the gym and I'd train 11-12 or 11-1, depending on how fat I was feeling. I'm feeling really fat at the moment.”

The Radio X host went from 18 stone to 12 stone over the past few years.

Chris Moyles at his book signing in 2006. (Getty Images)
Chris Moyles at his book signing in 2006. (Getty Images)

Moyles shared with Kemp his battle the health condition also known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

People with the condition will spend a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance, according to the NHS. It can seriously affect everyday life, causing issues with work, social life and relationships.

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Describing his battle, he said: “I'm fascinated by body dysmorphia because I really have an issue with body dysmorphia, which I think most people do. I've lost six stone from my worst weight when I was 18 stone.

“I know my body really well now, and I'm still learning. I don't have the metabolism of an 18-year-old girl or boy, I just don't.

“People don't believe me, but I weigh myself six days a week, and I know you shouldn't and I know it's not for everyone, but I do that so I can learn about how my body works.

“I will train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and I will watch what I eat and I'll eat very little. I do intermittent fasting and I'll eat at 6:30PM or 7PM and I'll be fine. I need to do that from the weekends that I have.”

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He details how he is “really good” during the weeks and then at the weekends he will go out for dinner and drinks. The DJ explained how it’s not unusual for him to put on anywhere from six to 10 pounds after each weekend.

“It's not fat, it's just bloat, it's just water retention and by the Friday the next week that ten pounds will have gone and maybe a bit more if I've worked hard enough, maybe a little bit less, but it will go.”

According to the NHS, people with body dysmorphia will worry a lot about a specific area of their body, which often tends to be their face.

They’ll also spend a lot of time comparing their looks with others and looking in, or avoiding, mirrors.

“People often come to me with body dysmorphia - particularly teenagers - and I always challenge their negative beliefs to try to put more positive ones in place,” explains psychotherapist, Christine Elvin.

“In a world of Instagram filters and apps that change the way you look with the press of a button, it’s really important for us to remember that airbrushing and photoshopping exist and for us not to be blinkered by what we consider the ‘perfect’ body’“.

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Although the condition can affect your everyday life, there are ways to manage it.

Therapy - particularly cognitive behavioural therapy, also known as talking therapy - can help people suffering from BDD understand their condition.

Elvin, who practices CBT counselling with her clients, adds: “I look to find out what triggers body dysmorphia and work from there. It can be anything from low self-esteem, unhealthy beliefs growing up or bad experiences at school.

“Try looking for five things that make you feel good about yourself each day. You might be surprised at what you find written on those pages.”

Although anybody - at any age - can suffer from the condition, there are causes that can make you more susceptible to it.

If a family member suffers from BDD, depression or OCD, you’re genetically more likely to follow suit. Equally, a chemical imbalance in the brain and a past traumatic experience can trigger it.

If you think you have body dysmorphia, speak to your GP who will refer you to the appropriate treatment.