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I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has become well-known for allowing Australia’s most famous faces to open up about their personal struggles, and this year’s season has already proven to be just as powerful.
Olympic swimming champion Emily Seebohm revealed during Tuesday night’s episode that she had developed an eating disorder following an awful breakup three and a half years ago.
The 29-year-old, who is representing the charity endED on the reality TV show, spoke candidly about her battle while sitting around camp with her fellow contestants.
“So, 2018 I went through a real big breakup, like a real horrible breakup,” she began. “It just really started me in this horrible pattern of going as long as I could without food, over-exercising. And then I'd go home and for dinner I’d have, like, a glass of milk.”
Emily described the experience as “pretty full-on” and admitted that she had found it extremely difficult to talk to others about it.
“Sometimes I’m not the best with being open with people and letting them know that I’m struggling, because I think as an athlete, you never want to seem like a weak person,” she explained.
“I even lost my period for about a year-and-a-half. That’s how bad I was malnourishing my body, really. At that point I was just like, this is the bottom. This is the bottom for me, I need help. So I saw the dietitian and that was the best thing that I ever did.”
When asked about what her relationship with food is like now, the three-time Olympic gold medallist said it was “pretty good”.
“For a while, I used to go to training and cry because I was in my togs and I felt so uncomfortable... You don’t even feel like you’re in your body,” she continued.
“I used to go to meets and I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m, like, the biggest person here. I’m never going to make it.’”
She also revealed that she didn’t make the Australian swim team in 2019 because she “had no confidence in myself whatsoever”.
"I’d completely lost everything,” she told her campmates.
Emily went on to say that she now wants to be “up front” and “honest" about her experience so other people don’t feel like they can’t talk about their own struggles, which is why she shared a candid post about her battle on social media in January 2021.
“For over two years I’ve been dealing with an eating disorder,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’ve binged, purged and taken laxatives. I’ve counted calories, skipped meals and constantly weighed myself.
“I’ve been embarrassed to be in my togs. I have judged my body every time I have been in front of a mirror. I’ve been told that the only way I can swim faster is by losing weight and I have believed it. This year I’m going to be braver for myself.
“To give my body the love it deserves and to start I needed to be honest to everyone including myself. I’m not asking for anything but hoping that I can help someone who could be feeling the same. I got this butterfly tattoo late last year as the Butterfly Foundation helps people struggling with eating disorders and I wanted a reminder that I can do this!”
Emily’s chosen charity endED helps provide tools and support to people who have been affected by eating disorders. You can learn more about endED and donate here.
For confidential support about eating disorders and body image issues, you can free call the Butterfly Foundation National Hotline on 1800 33 4673.
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