‘I Used To Go To Training And Cry’: Emily Seebohm Opens Up About Her Struggle With An Eating Disorder

Content warning: This story discusses eating disorders and may be triggering for some people.

As the celebrities settle into their new jungle home, their minds begin to focus on food, or lack of it, in the camp.

As they chatted, Olympic swimmer Emily Seebohm opened up about her own relationship with food, and the two-year struggle she faced with an eating disorder.

“[In] 2018 I went through like a real big breakup, like real horrible breakup,” Emily explained to her campmates. Emily said she would see how long she could go without food, overexercise and then “go home and for dinner I’d have a glass of milk”.

“After that, a lot of people kept being like, ‘Oh my god you look fantastic, what have you been doing?’ It started, like, a horrible pattern,” Emily continued.

Later, Emily began to tearfully admit how difficult the conversation was, having to open up to so many people at once.

“I don’t think I’ve ever said it to so many people before. 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.”

Admitting that there are still days where she struggles with her relationship to food, culminating in losing her period for about a year and a half.

“That’s how bad I was malnourishing my body… at that point I was like, this is the bottom. This is the bottom for me… I need help. So I saw the dietician and that was the best thing I ever did.”

“There’s days where… I still feel guilty, and 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.

“I missed the team in 2019 and I think that was just because I had no confidence in myself whatsoever. I had completely lost everything. That was the first time I told my parents.”

In January of 2021, Emily posted to her Instagram opening up about the battle she had been facing.

In the post, Emily vowed to treat her body better in 2021, but the post also hoped to inspire anyone else struggling to feel less alone.

“I’m not really a sharer at all,” she said back at camp, "I feel like that’s how I got into this situation because I wasn’t willing to share.”

Back at camp, Emily explained that the feeling of isolation had made her struggles even worse, and she had hoped that by sharing her story, both on Instagram and again in camp, she could help anyone who felt like they were dealing with their own struggle alone.

Beau Ryan, who had been part of the conversation, spoke about how proud he felt knowing that his daughter could look up to someone like Emily.

“She’s inspired so many people with her actions in the pool but I think she’s just getting started in what she’s meant to be doing in her purpose… to see her be so vulnerable is so powerful and it was really moving.”

Emily’s time in the jungle is in support of EndED, an organisation that tools and support for anyone whose lives have been affected by Eating Disorders.

If you or anyone you know needs help or support for an eating disorder or concerns about body image, call Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 334 673

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