“I went from hunky model to 6 stone anorexic”

Jeremy Gillitzer was once a male model with stunning looks and a six-pack. But now his body is so ravaged by anorexia, he can barely stand without passing out. 


by Closer staff |
Published on

Originally published 20 January 2010

Jeremy, 36, has battled the eating disorder for almost 25 years, since being bullied as a chubby schoolboy. 

His gums are receding from vomiting and his once-fit body is now skeletal. Just a few months ago, 5ft 7 Jeremy weighed less than 6st.

But Jeremy, who’s unemployed, says he’s slowly beating the disorder after receiving help and support from other male anorexics – dubbed “manorexics” – who have followed his struggle on his internet blog.

Last year, Jeremy wrote: “My day is consumed by my disorder, which includes an average of four and a half hours of binge eating and vomiting, and two and a half hours of exercise. But I can’t seem to do anything about my situation.”

Jeremy – who’s currently receiving help at a specialist clinic and now weighs 6st 6lbs – began suffering from the eating disorder when he was 12.

He weighed 9st, around 2st more than he should. 

“I was bullied at school and called ‘Fatty,’” he explains.

“I started eating a fraction of my meals, but my family didn’t mind because I needed to lose some weight. 

“But I gradually ate less and less until I was having just a few tiny bites. My parents tried to get me to eat more, but I wouldn’t listen.”

“I was bullied at school and called ‘Fatty’”

Within a year, his weight had dropped to just 4st, and his worried parents took him to a doctor. He was diagnosed with anorexia and sent to hospital, where he was put on a strict eating regime.

He says: “If I didn’t eat or gain weight, I had my number of family visits cut. I stayed for a month and hated it, but I managed to eat enough to gain weight. When I reached 6st they let me leave.”

But once back at home, Jeremy started skipping meals and by the age of 14, his weight had plummeted to 4st again.

He recalls: “I would steal laxatives and started making myself sick too. My stepdad begged me to eat and my mum cried, but I’d just lock myself in my room.”

After being taken back to the doctor, Jeremy was sent to an even stricter hospital where he was force-fed and forbidden from visiting the toilet after meals. He’s since lost count of the number of times he’s been hospitalised. 

Although Jeremy – who by this point was also struggling with the idea he might be gay – gained weight during his hospital stays, other patients would share tips on how to cover up anorexia.

“I even threw up in the washing machine and ran it through the rinse cycle, so no one would know I’d been sick,” he admits.

At 19, Jeremy moved in with his grandparents to avoid rows with his stepdad and got a job in customer services. Although he weighed just 7st, he was managing to live a more normal life. 

“I made friends at work and started enjoying myself for the first time,” he says.

“I would always find something to be critical about.”

“Slowly, I started opening up about being gay and began meeting men. I told my aunt about my sexuality, which helped me break it to the rest of my family. I was surprised at how well everyone took it.”

When Jeremy was 25, he moved into his own flat and enrolled on a degree course in political science. He also started working out at the gym and his weight increased to 10st. 

“I became muscular and began to eat a healthier diet. I even stopped bingeing and vomiting,” he says.

A friend then suggested Jeremy should take up modelling. “I’d never thought of it before but I needed the extra cash, so I got some professional pictures done and sent them off to modelling agencies,” he recalls.

“I didn’t think I was overweight any more, but I wasn’t totally happy with my appearance.

“I would always find something to be critical about.”

Jeremy was soon signed up and began modelling for ad campaigns and catalogues, but although he enjoyed the photo shoots, he was too insecure to look at the pictures.

In a bid to secure more work, he stepped up his exercise routine, hitting the gym for up to five hours a day.

It was at the gym he met his first and only serious boyfriend, who he doesn’t wish to name. 

He says: “It was the best time of my life. I felt confident and happy, and my eating disorder completely went away. I was 10st and still worried about my weight, but I coped by eating well and going to the gym.”

But when Jeremy’s six-year relationship broke down in 2005, he became depressed and started bingeing and vomiting again. His weight dropped at an alarming rate and within months he was down to just 6st.

“I detest what I see. I have bags under my eyes, my face is gaunt and my hands are calloused from rinsing my vomit down the sink.”

He says: “I didn’t know why my boyfriend left and I was heartbroken. I quit my job and lived on benefits, only leaving the house to buy food.”

Eighteen months ago, desperate Jeremy, who lives in Minneapolis, USA, set up an internet blog in the hope of reaching out to other manorexics. 

It has now been read by over 23,000 people and many sufferers have written to him about their own struggles.

“I can’t look in the mirror any more,” reads one entry.

“I detest what I see. I have bags under my eyes, my face is gaunt and my hands are calloused from rinsing my vomit down the sink.”

Jeremy says: “The messages have given me the courage to seek help at a specialist unit. At the moment, I hardly binge and I’ve put on 6lbs. I’m hoping, one day, I’ll be strong enough to finally put the condition behind me.”

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