How Monica Seles Smashed Her Eating Disorder

At age 16, tennis pro Monica Seles became the youngest winner in French Open history, so we were all stunned in 1993 when she was stabbed in the back during a match in Germany, and forced to leave the game for two years. She eventually healed, but was gripped by emotional trauma as she slipped out of the number one ranking and into a depression. In her new book, Getting a Grip, Monica reveals how the sad series of events led to her eating disorder. She says, "I turned to food for comfort. Food became my best friend. When emotionally I got down, depressed and had anxiety, I found comfort in food."


Monica was training six hours a day, but was also secretly binging late at night. It led to 37 pounds of weight gain, which translated to criticism by her trainers, nutritionists, and the media. To hear more about how Monica tamed her eating disorder read more.

After a debilitating injury in 2003, Monica's foot was in a cast for three months, so she was forced to take time off. That's when she made some big life changes. She fired her trainers, coaches, and nutritionists when she realized she was using them to fix her problems on the outside. It was her emotions, though, that were causing her to binge, so she needed to get those settled if she was going to control her eating habits and make any progress with her body. She said,

I threw out every single diet notion I’d learned. I allowed myself to eat every single food group. My extreme cravings went away. I allowed myself to have cookies or pasta. I stopped dieting and I started living life. That’s how I lost 37 pounds.

When Monica was upset and got the urge to eat, she'd go for a walk instead to calm her down. She's also big into journaling to get her thoughts and emotions on paper, and it's helped with her recovery tremendously. Reading through old journal entries helped her realize she didn't ever want to go back to that place. It became clear that it was time to end her love-hate relationship with food and turn it into a positive relationship, so she could in turn "have a love relationship with her body."

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