From Healthy to Harmful: An Athlete’s Journey

Eating disorders, something that no one ever pictures themselves going through or anticipates will ever happen to them…

Personally, I never imagined I’d ever get an eating disorder, and I was fine…until suddenly I wasn’t…

There was one day I remember the desire to be a better athlete arose and I wanted to have that competitive edge over others. “I just want to be healthier and a better athlete”

So, I followed a slippery slope and originally from an outsider’s perspective these food rules appeared “healthy” and “following the diet of an athlete”. There came a time when what I was doing became less about my performance however the consistent desire to feel in control, and whilst my original desire was to support my journey as an athlete, the desire to be “smaller” and “healthier” took hold and the eating disorder voice was stronger.

Very soon I became aware something wasn’t right. I remember realising that I could only do so much for myself and I started needing extra help. This was the hardest thing. However, I also recognised that “this is not how I wanted to live the rest of my life” and I wanted to make a change for the better”.

As I began to seek help and support. I was aware of how dangerous this supposedly “healthy” lifestyle was, which originated from an innocent change for the better that took a turn for the worse. This experience was a huge wake-up call and certainly indicated a need for drastic, but necessary changes. I’d never wish this experience upon anyone, I am thankful for the care and support I received during this period in my life.

Eating disorders are not “a phase”, “trendy”, “cool” or “attention seeking”. They are serious medical/physical and mental health conditions.

I do acknowledge that everyone’s journey looks different, I love to share my story as a message of hope and to identify that recovery is possible. It is ok for every day to feel different and to continue experiencing ups and downs, but don’t ever forget IT WILL GET BETTER

Having had a lived experience this encouraged me to pursue a career as a dietitian, and I am now practising as a dietitian with a special interest in working with individuals who experience eating disorders/disordered eating. I am also working for a wonderful organisation on the Sunshine Coast [Queensland, Australia] called endED who support individuals experiencing eating disorders or eating challenges and their carers.

Contributed by Tayla