Richard Osman opens up about his ‘difficult journey’ with food addiction

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Richard Osman  (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Harlan Coben)
Richard Osman (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Harlan Coben)

TV host Richard Osman has opened up about his battle with food addiction and the “shame” it has caused him.

The Pointless star, 51, said his behaviour has led him on a “difficult journey” as he compared compulsive snacking to “alcoholism”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he said: “There hasn’t been a day of my life since the age of nine where I haven’t thought about problems with food and how it affects me.

“And it will be with me for the rest of my life, I know that.

“I’m either controlling it or not controlling it at any given time, and these days I control it more often than I don’t.

“But again, because you have to eat, it’s actually quite hard and sometimes you do slip but I try my best and I certainly have no shame about it now and anyone at home who overeats or, and thinks it’s ridiculous, you’ve just got to divorce that.

“We all have something that gets us through life and if that’s yours, then you have to face it head on.

“It’s just not being so afraid of life and afraid of what will happen if you put yourself out there.

“That’s a difficult journey and it doesn’t come naturally to me but the more I try it, the happier I get.”

The TV presenter and bestselling novelist said his behaviour left him feeling “directionless” despite having a successful career.

He added: “I think it is that thing of, my career was going well and I was successful, and I had kids, so I had all the things that I thought were the thing that I needed or the thing that was going to make everything okay, and none of them did.

“And getting older and older and just working out that I was slightly directionless, and I had various addictive behaviours as well.

“As soon as you have an addictive behaviour you know that something’s up because you know you’re hiding something or controlling something.

“My addictive behaviour has always been food, it has been since I was incredibly young.”

Though food addiction does not have the same “doomed glamour of drugs or alcohol”, Mr Osman sees them as “identical”.

“It’s just booze but food… The secrecy of consuming these things, the shame behind it”, he added.

In addition to his successful TV career, Mr Osman is also a bestselling writer of two crime novels including national hit The Thursday Murder Club, which is being made into a movie.

Desert Island Discs airs on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11am.

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