We often forget that professional athletes struggle with weight and body image. Caroline Garcia told L’Equipe that she indulged in food to emotionally compensate for losses on the tennis court, to the point that she developed an eating disorder.
The last couple of years in Garcia’s life had been marked by “tears and sleepless nights” and even bulimia:
You feel so empty, so sad, that you need to fill yourself. It came from the distress of not managing to do what I wanted to do on court, of not winning anymore, of suffering physically.
The world No.4 Garcia from France was obsessed with her body and would weigh herself to the gram. The fact that tennis players spend a lot of time by themselves made the 29-year-old’s struggles even harder to cope with:
Eating would appease me for a few minutes. We all know it does not last but it was an escape route. When you’re alone, it’s harder to control. In tennis, you spend a lot of time alone in your room. It’s how it often happened.
The approach that helped the reigning WTA Finals champion manage her bulimia was first to admit having it, to share her problem. The next step was accepting that the disorder was not the end of the world and minimizing the feeling of guilt. Finally, having a more relaxed approach towards food reduced cravings:
Now, if I’ve been wanting pizza for two days, I’m going to have the pizza.