Gary Barlow was so disgusted with his weight when he was at his heaviest of 17-and-a-half stone he removed all the mirrors from his house.
The Back For Good singer saw his weight balloon in the wake of Take That's 1996 split and after he was dropped as a solo artist by his record label in 1999.
Gary gorged on chocolate, takeaways and alcohol as well as heavily smoking cannabis and cigarettes.
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His depression about the apparent end of his career as a pop star was made worse by former bandmate Robbie Williams’ chart success, and he locked himself away at home.
When he got sick of seeing the reflection of his bloated body he made the decision to ditch his mirrors rather than lose the weight.
Sharing one of the toughest times of his life in his one-man theatre show A Different Stage, Gary said: "I’ll be walking down the street and someone would shout, 'Hey Gary, Robbie’s doing well isn’t he.'
"Walk past a building site and they’d stop and sing Let Me Entertain You.
"One day I just thought, ‘Oh god, I’ve got to do something about this.’ So I did, I stopped walking down streets and bought a house I used to ride past on my BMX, shut the gates and didn’t come out.
"There was a little menu any given day for 1999, breakfast spliff – wake and bake – 11am Quality Street, eat all the ones you like, leave all the ones you don’t, 1pm more food … and then 4pm all the Quality Street you didn’t eat in the morning and then 6pm the doors are open, it’s party time, Jack Daniels and Coke, oh and cigarettes, 40 on a bad day, 60 on a good one.
"Now, a guy doesn’t want to see himself go through this.
"One morning I caught myself in the mirror and I thought, 'Oh no, I’ve got to do something about this'. So I did, I took down all the mirrors – massive house not one single mirror."
Gary admits his eating got so out of hand at this low point in his life that he would binge on mammoth meals at his local all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant in Cheshire.
And it was these huge pig-outs that led to him developing bulimia.
He shared: "I got to 17-and-half stone, but it’s not all the work of chocolate, the real heavy lifting here is being done a few times a week down the road at the local Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet.
"They soon regretted that offer, believe me, because the all that I could eat was 10 fistfuls of prawn crackers, wonton, seaweed, spring rolls, prawn toast, whole crispy duck, sizzling beef Cantonese style, sweet and sour king prawn, ice cream and banana fritter, Irish coffee, After Eight mints and a Jack Daniels and Coke.
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"I know what you’re thinking, ‘How come you’re only 17-and-a-half stone?’ I’ve made this amazing discovery, I got home one night and flopped on the sofa like a beached walrus and thought, ‘Oh, bloody hell, I wish I hadn’t eaten all that.’ And then I thought, ‘What if I hadn’t eaten all that Chinese? What if the thing just never happened?’
"I slid off to the bathroom and then two fingers as far down the back of the throat as possible and farewell emperor’s special … One year on, I was a professional bulimic … I could be sick in a second."
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