Simon Metin
Simon Metin

A Cambridge University medical student has become a YouTube sensation after uploading a series of videos in which he relates his struggle to overcome anorexia.

Simon Metin, 20, first picked up a camera to help raise awareness of the ignored plight of males suffering the illness, and was stunned when within minutes of being uploaded the first film had been viewed 1,000 times.  

In the videos he tells how only five years ago he weighed four stone (25.4kg) and was given months to live by medics, but battled back and now the 5ft 10ins (1.77m) Simon weighs a healthy 10st 3Ib (64.8kg).

Simon said: "My inbox is full of emails from young men fighting battles with food. Anorexia is still thought of as a young woman's disease. But now, with so much emphasis on diet, fitness and six-packs, it's increasingly affecting young men."

Many will have first become aware of Simon when he featured in the 2007 documentary I'm a Boy Anorexic, which was broadcast on the BBC.

In the film, aged 15, Simon was admitted to the Rhodes Farm eating disorders clinic weighing as little as a child half his age, leaving his family home and private school in Hertfordshire.

He said he was 13 when his obsession with his weight began, and until then had enjoyed a normal middle-class upbringing.

"I was never a fat child. But with things going on in my life that I couldn't do anything about, like bullying at school, I realised the one thing I could control was what I ate.

"I became obsessed with not being able to pinch any fat. I'd never heard of anorexia and didn't even register I was getting thinner. When I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who was getting bigger, not smaller."

Within six months, Simon became anorexic. "At school I'd throw my lunch in the bin and tell my mother I'd eaten at a friend's house and didn't need any tea."

 A diagnosis was made only after a friend's mother suggested to Simon's father that Simon might have a disorder.

"My parents begged, cajoled, pleaded and shouted at me to eat," he says. "But by now I'd memorised the calorie count of every food and allowed myself 200 calories a day."

Male anorexia is on the rise: recent NHS figures show a 66 percent increase in the number of men admitted to hospital with eating disorders over the last decade.

Simon battled the condition for two years inside the clinic and, remarkably, was able to gain top grades in his GCSEs and A-levels, earning him a place at King's College, Cambridge, where he now aspires to become a surgeon.

"Cambridge gave me a completely fresh start. I've stopped counting calories and these days hardly ever even weigh myself," he said.

"While people are aware of anorexia in women, with men it seems to be taboo. I can only hope telling my story can help change that."