'I got so hungry I tried to eat my duvet!' Nadia Sawalha on her weight loss struggles

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Nadia Sawalha
Nadia Sawalha has confessed that she once tried to eat a duvet whilst doing the Atkins diet because she was so hungry.

The low-carbohydrate diet left the Loose Women panellist so hungry that she chewed on her bed covers one night whilst she was asleep.

Nadia confessed, 'Once when I went on the Atkins diet, I woke up in the middle of the night and I was trying to eat my duvet because I was dreaming it was a naan bread.'

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, she added, 'I don't believe in diets in how we have come to understand them, which is that you go on them and then come off. I dieted my way to obesity.'

Nadia has publicly battled with her weight for years, fluctuating between dress sizes

It isn't the first time the mum-of-two has spoken about her struggle with weight, previously admitting that she'd been attending Overeaters Anonymous, after realising that she was a 'compulsive eater'.

Nadia opened up about her struggles with emotional eating on an episode of Loose Women in February 2016, explaining, 'For years from a child I was a compulsive eater. I have that language now - I know I'm a compulsive eater and I use binge eating to suppress my emotion.

'I'm a very happy person, had a very happy childhood. I love my life but I also had a long period of my life where my eating was out of control. Not in the way that somebody might just overeat and be a bit greedy. I ate to shut up things that I didn't want to feel or low self esteem.'

'I grew up with incredibly low self esteem about my body,' she added. 'I used to cry about how hideous I thought I was. I always used to do this thing where I'd overeat. And when I say overeat - where somebody would come in feel a bit down and have a couple of slices of toast. I'd have the whole loaf.

'I would have to scrape things in the rubbish and pour washing up liquid over it so I couldn't [eat it].'

'I discovered what I was doing wasn't the norm. The way that I was eating wasn't that I was greedy or ugly or whatever, it was just that I was using food to shut myself up.'

The 51 year old then admitted that she'd been attending a support group to help her with her disordered eating.

'Do you know how many times I have been on this show and wanted to say that I go to Overeaters Anonymous?'

'It's such an amazing thing. It is a fellowship. You don't have to have a single penny. You can look on the website today, you can go to a meeting and you don't have to pay. And you can do that every day for the rest of your life.'

Love you all so much my darlings

A post shared by Nadia Sawalha & Kaye Adams (@nadiaandkaye) on

Nadia's husband, Mark, and their two daughters, Maddy and Kiki

Nadia says with the help of her group and her family, she has now managed to get her compulsions under control, and find the joy in food again.

'I love to cook and love to eat but I no longer eat to shut up my feelings,' she conclucded.

Co-star Janet Street-Porter applauded her honesty, saying: 'What you have described is an addiction. I applaud you for talking about it. It's about you identifying your link to food.'

What is compulsive eating?

Compulsive or binge eating is defined by the NHS as 'an eating disorder where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis through regular binges.'

Compulsive eaters regularly overeat even when they are not hungry, sometimes to the point of pain, and often eat alone to avoid the feelings of embarassment and guilt they feel afterwards. Anyone can develop binge eating disorder, but it is more common in women than in men.

The condition often stems from low self-esteem or self-confidence, and can also be associated with depression and anxiety. Your GP can identify whether you have binge eating disorder, and there are a range of treatments available.

Group support from Overeaters Anonymous, like Nadia receives, is just one of the options - sufferers may also benefit from self-help programmes, individual psychological therapy, or, in some cases, even medication.

Continued below...

If you think you may be a compulsive eater, visit your doctor to discuss your options and the support available.

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