Warning: this article contains a discussion of restrictive eating that some readers may find triggering.
As a result, many people with emetophobia – aka, a fear of vomit – will engage in avoidance behaviors to try and reduce their risk of being ill, including washing their hands, avoiding eating in restaurants or eating specific foods they know to be ‘safe’.
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Speaking to the hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster, the star revealed how her fear of vomiting stopped her from “experimenting” with food until the last couple of years.
“I grew up on Philadelphia sandwiches,” she said, explaining how her restrictive eating came from a fear of being sick. “My Mum and Dad actually went to the doctors because they were worried that that was the only thing I was eating.
“I’d have a cheese sandwich at lunchtime, come home and have two cheese sandwiches for dinner. I wouldn’t eat any vegetables, no fruit, just cheese sandwiches.”
Highlighting how her emetophobia has affected her eating habits throughout her life, Anne-Marie explained how her vegetarian diet helps to lower her anxiety around food, as she fears getting sick from meat (a common fear among emetophobia sufferers).
“I’m so terrified of [vomit] that I think that’s subconsciously made me not experiment with food, until the past three years,” she said. “I’ve never wanted to try anything. And I think that’s why the vegetarian life works for me as well, because I feel like I won’t get ill.”
She continued: “I tried a tomato about five years ago, and I just started eating onions. They’re a bit weird still, but I think I like them. It’s happened over time.”
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As emetophobia is one of the most common phobias in the world (and one which disproportionately affects women), it’s refreshing to see someone as famous as Anne-Marie speaking about her struggles – especially in such a candid and honest way.
As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.