Pocock has eating disorder

2011-11-14 07:06

Sydney - Wallabies star David Pocock has revealed he is suffering from an eating disorder he developed as a neurotic teenager when his family fled Zimbabwe for their own safety almost 10 years ago.

In his new autobiography, Openside: My Journey to the Rugby World Cup, the 23-year-old goes into detail about his family's escape to Australia from Zimbabwe, before revealing the start and extent of an eating disorder he still manages today.

''When our family first moved from Zimbabwe in 2002 I developed a stress-related eating disorder,'' he says in the book, where he describes his early determination to become a world-class rugby player.

''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. I was unsure about how to deal with my obvious anxiety towards food.

''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.''

He told The Sun-Herald his wife, Emma, still has to cook approved meals as he battles to fully overcome his anxiety. ''I go into a few different issues from my past and I was pretty honest,'' he said. ''At times I wouldn't say it was tough going, but fairly draining. I tried to be pretty truthful and not avoid stuff.

''I don't just focus on rugby. I try to talk about other things that I feel are important and get the messages across. Hopefully, people enjoy that and particularly young people who aspire to great things will enjoy it and see the work that went into it. I guess, it'd be good if it served as an inspiration and encouragement.''

And therein lies the purpose of his warm, tell-all autobiography, to give readers an insight into the challenges he has faced to become one of the world's best rugby players. Though you get the sense Pocock still isn't fully satisfied.

To prove his sincerity - after all it was the publishers New Holland who approached him to write a World Cup diary - the social activist is donating every cent of his proceeds to charities through his website,

''It definitely hasn't been about the money for me and I guess if you're writing books for money you're probably not going to make a lot,'' said Pocock, who wrote the 85 000 words between Super Rugby and World Cup training sessions.

''I'd love to see it raise a bit of money. With the website we are trying to set up a company that will give away its profits to make less successful charities more sustainable and relying less on donors. Initially I was asked to write a World Cup diary but it turned into my story up to the World Cup. I didn't think anyone would be too interested in reading what I had to write. But it was a great experience.''

Rugby Heaven

  • Nibiru - 2011-11-14 07:22

    He left out the letters Ch

      Sunshine246 - 2011-11-14 07:32

      Very clever.....

      Raeez - 2011-11-14 08:47

      hahahahaahahahaha, good one. Well spotted!

      steyts - 2011-11-14 09:04

      Typical Aussie then...

  • Des Bothma - 2011-11-14 07:49


  • Gert - 2011-11-14 07:54

    An autobiography at 23! This guy is worse than Lewis Hamilton. What has he achieved? Absolutely nothing more than most rugby players his age. Frans Steyn won a World Cup at 21. I may be wrong but I don't think he has written an autobiography after that. To be playing Super Rugby at 18 may be some achievement, but Aus do not have the same type of structures that we have is SA where a player will go through many levels as a youngster before he can even be considered for Super Rugby. In every season at least one Aussie franchise has a teenager on debut. The only thing Pocock did was use the freedom Lawrence gave him to good effect. A week later he was totally outplayed by McCaw. (Who also is yet to write an auto biography) Seems to me Mr. Pocock is a prima donna in the making.

      Phil - 2011-11-14 10:16

      What he has achieved is to be one of the best players in the game today. Not too shabby Gert ...or have you done better ? Personally I won't be buying the book ......but I won't be making smartarse comments about a great player either.

      ShauneJordaan - 2011-11-14 14:09

      Frans won it at 19...

  • lionel.charlie - 2011-11-14 08:10

    Pocock is just another thing that has cost the springboks not to make it into the world cup finals in mostly illegal ways. (tackling and not releasing)

      Phil - 2011-11-14 10:11

      That is right Lionel.charlie ....nothing is the fault of the Boks or their management is it? I guess it was also Pococks "illegal ways" that made Danie Rossouw give away the penalty that lost us the game ...or made the Boks give forward passes and drop the ball countless times. You and people like you are what is wrong in our country ....never able to take responsibilty , it is always the fault of that oke "Somebody Els" Loser!

  • Burtfred - 2011-11-14 08:20

    Pocock has a ball-stealing, rugby rule-breaking disorder. Somebody should teach him the rules of the game.

      Phil - 2011-11-14 10:19

      Maybe that same "someone" could give us a player of the same calibre as Pocock at the same time .....god knows we could do with one.

  • Vusi - 2011-11-14 08:33

    I would also have an eating disorder if I came from Zimbabwe. I think everybody from Zimbabwe has an eating disorder. There isn't any food because they are run by a Glutton for power!

  • Franklyn - 2011-11-14 10:02

    Whenever some of these sportsfolk go on about unnatural eating/drinking wonder if there isnt anything a bit more sinister being covered-up.

  • Tony - 2011-11-14 10:06

    As Bok supporter kry ek ook sommer 'n "eating disorder" as ek in jou of Bryce Lawrence se gevrete moet vaskyk...

  • Wimpie - 2011-11-14 12:06


  • Kosie - 2011-11-14 12:15

    thats probably the reason why is always scuffing around on the ground, he is used to looking for food on the gorund.

      Shoosh - 2011-11-14 12:46

      And what exactly is this "gorund" that you allude to?

  • dane.son1 - 2011-11-14 12:37

    Who the the hell does David Pocock think he is that he can write an autobiography? 23 years old and already thinks he's a world-beater, IDIOT!

      Shoosh - 2011-11-14 12:45

      He doesn't have to think WHO he is as he already KNOWS who he is! Tad jealous I suspect, loser.

  • dane.son1 - 2011-11-14 12:54

    @shoosh Jealous of what exactly? He may be a better rugby player than me but give him my job to do and he'll have no clue what's going on. Its two different professions, you can't compare the two. It was never my dream to become a world class rugby player.

      Phil - 2011-11-14 13:40

      " give him my job to do and he'll have no clue what's going on. . You are correct dane ...he has no idea what is required to be a successful Car Guard,

      Kevin - 2011-11-14 16:54

      Carefull Phil...too much brown nosing up to Pocock,could lead to smelly situation!!

  • Sharkshoot - 2011-11-14 17:15

    When will he bring out his book about his secret love affair with Bryce Lawrence?

  • Sarah - 2011-11-15 02:04

    Delusions of grandeur from Pocock

      Phil - 2011-11-15 04:18

      "Delusions of grandeur " Did you actually read the article Sarah ? Pocock was asked to write his story ....and the proceeds go to charity. "Charity" Sarah ....go look it up in the dictionary because it is something you obviously do not have.

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