Like many parents, Angela Scanlon enjoys sharing baths with her two young children. But the family takes things one step further, ditching their clothes and dancing around the bedroom for regular “nudie discos”.

“I love being naked!” the TV presenter and podcast host says with a laugh from the other side of our video call. “And actually, I think it’s really, really important. Florence Welch is on full tilt, Dog Days Are Over, and away we go! “

Scanlon isn’t a naturist, although she did present a documentary about the lifestyle once, and insists it’s “the least sexy thing you’ve ever seen”. But her liberal attitude to nudity stems from a desire to instil body confidence in her two daughters, Ruby, four, and Marnie, three months.

“It’s those little things that I think are joyful in the moment, but also will hopefully allow for Ruby – and Marnie when she gets to that point – to realize her body is something that can be enjoyed. It is not there for consumption, it’s not there to be looked at. It’s actually hers to use and to feel, ”she says.

The 38-year-old is particularly passionate about this, because from the age of 17 she struggled with an eating disorder that continued to impact her until her early thirties.

She’s speaking publicly about her experience of anorexia and bulimia for the first time, having decided to write about it in her upcoming book, Joyrider.

In the book, she recalls being “taught” how to make herself sick when she overheard another girl talking about it in the toilets during her final year of school. The idea appealed, she thinks, because her body had suddenly changed from a girl’s to a woman’s and she didn’t know how to process it.

“I had an ankle injury and I stopped dancing and suddenly, I grew breasts and started to feel like my body was not my own anymore,” she tells HuffPost UK.

“The idea of ​​womanhood felt quite terrifying. I think it is so difficult for so many young people – young women, especially – that sense of being out of control, of being thrust into this period in your life that you’re not really prepared for, that you didn’t really ask for.

“I don’t think we’re ever really given the tools or the skills or the language to understand how complex that is, and so we feel very alone.”

For the next 15 years, Scanlon continued to have flare ups of disordered eating, which usually coincided with times of feeling out of control.

But as her career took off – first presenting T In The Park and the Baftas red carpet, and later co-presenting the Robot Wars reboot in 2016 – she replaced her addiction to controlling food with an addiction to work.

“I just literally swapped one for the other,” she says, admitting that it wasn’t necessarily a healthier replacement. Nor did it make her the nicest person; she once sacked an assistant because she said she wouldn’t work on Sundays.

It wasn’t until she paused for maternity leave in 2018 that Scanlon realized her relationship with work was unsustainable. A whole heap of therapy and self-reflection helped her process where her need for control stemmed from. And she now recognizes that self-identifying as an “over-achiever” has its problems.

It doesn’t happen overnight, like I kind of imagined it might, ”she says of recovery. “It requires a lot more work, which nobody really wants to hear – myself included.”

Thankfully, the physical changes of her pregnancy didn’t cause a relapse in her eating disorder, but Scanlon was “acutely aware” of the possibility.

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