Author Glennon Doyle Reveals Anorexia Diagnosis

Glennon Doyle is opening up about being diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. On the latest episode…

Author Glennon Doyle Reveals Anorexia Diagnosis

Glennon Doyle is opening up about being diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

On the latest episode of her podcast, “We Can Do Hard Things,” the bestselling “Untamed” author, who struggled with bulimia almost two decades ago, told listeners that she was stunned by the diagnosis.

“There is no way that I can explain to you the level of bafflement, shock, denial, confusion,” said Doyle, who co-hosts the podcast with her wife, former soccer star Abby Wambach, and her sister, Amanda Doyle.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Doyle, 46, said she sought help from a doctor because she had relapsed in her bulimia journey and wanted to learn “how to get these relapses of my bulimia under control so I can be less scared and freer and not in danger.”

However, after the doctor evaluated Doyle and examined her medical history, the doctor determined that Doyle actually had anorexia.

At first, Doyle did not believe the diagnosis, in part because she identified as bulimic for so long. “Anorexia is a totally different thing,” she said. “It’s like a different religion. It’s a different identity. It’s a different threat. It’s a different way of thinking. It’s so confusing, and it shook me very deeply. And I did not believe it.”

“I was like, ‘That’s just wrong,'” she added.

Author Glennon Doyle Reveals Anorexia Diagnosis
Glennon Doyle, left, with wife Abby Wambach in 2022.Taylor Hill / FilmMagic

When the doctor finished explaining Doyle’s diagnosis, Doyle recalled responding: “I do not think I am anorexic. I know anorexic people. I’ve seen what anorexia looks like. I don’t feel like I look anorexic.”

“And the doctor said, ‘That is a very anorexic reaction to have.'”

After the doctor assured Doyle that she had performed a thorough evaluation along with all the necessary medical tests, Doyle stopped resisting the diagnosis.

When Doyle arrived home, she and Wambach shared a moment in their kitchen when Wambach explained to Doyle that she couldn’t do the work of healing for her. Doyle would have to find the strength to heal herself.

“This was a hard thing for me to say,” recalled Wambach, adding, “I had to say it — it had to be out loud — because you needed to take complete ownership over this process.”

That tough love moment, recalled Doyle, left her “chilled.”

“I have never felt so alone on my own body. I’m the sick one, everyone is telling me, and I am also the one who has to fix the sickness?” she mused.

Once Doyle began educating herself and reading books about anorexia, she was shocked by how much she could identify anorexic behavior in herself. “I don’t know how to explain the feeling of reading things that you thought were part of your personality and who you were, and reading that they’re actually just a collection of symptoms of an effing disease.”

“It’s humiliating on a level,” she added.

Doyle told listeners that she is still in the process of learning and healing — something she should’ve done years ago when she believed she’d recovered from bulimia. Instead, she said, she “solved my bulimia with anorexia.”

“I never, not once, went back and really figured out what happened to me. … I didn’t excavate. I didn’t look at things. I didn’t do the work. … Instead I just used control and discipline and willpower to crush my bulimia,” she recalled.

“It feels like bulimia is like being an animal, and then I fixed it by becoming like a robot,” she said.

Doyle teased the revelatory podcast episode on her Instagram on Jan. 3 by sharing a video of herself telling followers that the episode covers “a new mental health diagnosis” she had received.

Doyle added that she made the decision to talk about the diagnosis now, while she is in the “messy middle” of it, rather than wait until her life was “nice and shiny” again so she could help others.