Nine-Time Grand Slam Champion Monica Seles Confesses Struggle With Binge Eating Disorder: ‘I Was Out Of Control’

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Monica Seles
Former World number one player Monica Seles and former New York Mayor David Dinkins stand next to a plaque as Seles is inducted into the Court of Champions before the women's singles final match at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York September 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar REUTERS/Mike Segar

For years, tennis great Monica Seles used binge eating as an emotional support. Recently, Seles has opened up about her struggle with compulsive overeating in an effort to help raise awareness about the said eating disorder.

Seles opened up to Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer about her experience with binge eating disorder. Through her experience, Seles hopes that other people who are suffering from the disorder would find comfort that they are not the only ones who go through the disease and that there are steps that can be taken to put a stop to it.

“In my personal experience, binge eating is eating huge, and I mean huge, quantities of food in a very short period of time, so for me, when I was in stressful situations on the tennis court or in my personal life, I would start my binge eating,” Seles revealed. “My trigger foods were pretzels, potato chips and I would do them alone because I was so ashamed because here I was a tennis player, who was so controlling at the tennis court, I could direct and very dedicated, yet in this one area of binge eating, I was out of control.”

The turning point in Seles’ life came when she was asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding. She said she has gained so much weight that she needed to try on different dresses just to find the one that fits her. She then decided to talk to a health care professional, who had presented a specific diet plan for her.

Seles hopes that same sufferers of binge eating disorder will look at her experience and how she has overcame her food addiction. According to Seles, people who live with the disorder do not need to live with it for the rest of their lives. There is a way out. All that they need to do is think about all the things that they are missing out on by letting food control their lives and seek help from professionals.

Seles, who has partnered with Shire Pharmaceuticals, Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to raise awareness of binge eating disorder in adults, wrote about her binge eating disorder experience in her book “Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self.”

Seles is originally from Yugoslavia but she now resides in Florida, U.S.A. During her active tennis years, Seles has won nine grand slam titles. She is a four-time Australian Open champion, three-time French Open champion, and two-time US Open champion. She is also a three-time WTA Finals champion. Seles retired from the sport in 2008. Seles will return to the tennis court on to play Gabriela Sabatini for the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 10.

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