Russian gymnastics champion Aleksandra Soldatova has opened up about her long-lasting battle with an eating disorder, saying she needed professional help to cope with her anxieties around food.

The four-time world gold medalist said that rigorous weight control evolved into a serious physiological issue that led to the eating disorder, which damaged her health.

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I knew I had a serious problem when I realized my thoughts were only ever about food: how much I ate, how many calories I burnt… Although I knew it wasn’t right, I started starving myself. I was always out of energy and didn’t have the power to train. But I was afraid to admit that I had an eating problem,” Soldatova explained.

Публикация от Alexsandra Soldatova. (@soldy21)27 Авг 2020 в 9:18 PDT

The athlete, who represented Russia at major international rhythmic gymnastics events, said she became self-absorbed, lonely and unsociable, often refusing to go out with friends, especially to cafes and restaurants when meeting implied eating.

I’d once starved myself for several days before realizing I was on the brink… that I’d reached my limit. Then I found the courage to tell my coach about my problems,” Soldatova said.

The 22-year-old has currently put her sporting career on hold to allow her the space to deal with her health problems.

Публикация от Alexsandra Soldatova. (@soldy21)3 Авг 2020 в 4:58 PDT

Публикация от Alexsandra Soldatova. (@soldy21)16 Июл 2020 в 8:56 PDT

She said she has managed to stop her bulimic behaviors with the help of her coach, her friends, and a psychologist, but admitted she still has nightmares in which she gains weight, which remains a fear.

Soldatova is expected to resume training after a lengthy break and to fight for an Olympic spot to represent Russia at next summer’s Games in Tokyo.

Публикация от Alexsandra Soldatova. (@soldy21)24 Июл 2020 в 9:35 PDT