Cherry Healey opens up about binge-eating and taking care of yourself as a single mum

Journalist and single mum-of-two Cherry Healey says the most important thing as a lone parent is to look after yourself, ’no questions asked’. 

The 38 year-old Inside The Factory presenter has revealed she finds life as a single parent  ‘really hard’, as she runs both a house and a business on her own. 

Speaking to GoodtoKnow, Cherry said it was ‘non-negotiable’ for her to block out alone time every week to keep her from being a ‘fractious slug’ day to day. 

‘I cannot pour from an empty cup,’ she shared. ‘It’s tough because you’re carrying so much on your shoulders. And if you’re the sole breadwinner – as I am – that’s a lot of financial responsibility.’

Cherry, who has a daughter named Coco, aged 8, and a son named Edward, who goes by the nickname Bear, aged 4, said it is her responsibility alone to keep her ‘engines well oiled’. To do that she schedules regular time ‘mooching’ around the shops, going out for delicious lunches and generally eating well. 

‘I have been on every diet you name, but I’m in such a nice place food wise now,’ she shared. ‘I struggled with my weight throughout my whole teens and 20s. I was eating diet food the whole time. Honestly, anything diet. I didn’t have a burger for two decades.’ 

But, she was always hungry, could never seem to eat enough food, and her weight would fluctuate. 

‘I never stopped eating,’ she explained. ‘I would binge. If I had a piece of bread, I would eat six because I knew the next day I would punish myself and starve myself. And that’s why I was putting on weight. I had such bad food patterns.’

She said it was a really ‘distressed’ way of living, where she was either starving herself and underweight, or bloated and overweight and hating her body. 

She even used to import zero-calorie maple sauce and caramel sauce to try and keep her weight down. 

‘How can food stuff have no calories?’, she said. ‘What is in that? I ate that for years.’

Cherry HealeyCherry said the moment it all changed was when she turned 30 and decided that dieting had got her nowhere, and maybe she should just eat normal food like everyone else. 

‘I hadn’t eaten pasta or cheese since I was about six years old. Now I eat pasta and cheese and, it’s so ridiculous, but what I’ve realised is that you get full. And then you stop eating. It was a revelation to me.’

‘It’s so unlike me – I was the Caesar salad girl who took the chicken and the dressing off, but I had mac and cheese for lunch today,’ she said. 

Now, she’s in a good place with food, and wants to pass that on to her kids.

‘I know so many other women who go through this, and it’s a much happier and more enjoyable place to be able to monitor your appetite and not eat for emotional reasons.’

We can definitely get on board with a happy relationship with food.

Words by Beth Gault