Staša Gejo talks eating disorder part 1

EDITORIAL

Tuesday, 5 October

"My name is Staša Gejo, I am 23 years old, 175 cm tall, and I have won medals at the World level competitions when I weighed 67 kg, 57 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 69 kg and 67 kg again. I had lost 10 kg in my teenage years, making me lose my periods, get prone to injuries and fall down this deep hole of never-ending starving, which luckily came to an end in 2017. I won all the possible titles in the Junior category by eating 1200 kcal, running 4 times a week and climb 5 times a week, all while attending a difficult high school programme IB (International Baccalaureate). Didn’t last long until I burned out.

Mom and Dad took me to a nutritionist, a very respected doctor in the Serbian sports scene, dr. Marija Andjelković, who helped me rearrange my food intake, start eating more, and train harder. After a few years, I now have 50% muscle mass, 13% fat and a BMI of 22.2. I feel healthy, strong and confident.

I am pretty sure we all know that feeling when you are aware of all the scientific facts and experience with weight loss, you know exactly what the correct way to go is, just that the only little thing that is missing is your belief that it will work at all. We have all been there: googling the fastest or easiest way to lose weight, not even bothering to check sport science books on it, cutting carbs, sweets, following trendy diets, what not, only to achieve unsatisfying goals. This is the point where some people give up, some people stay consistent or find a normal long term diet, but some go all in – starving mode.

This is a form of punishment too, you ate 'so much' until now, well no meals deserved. I took out eating dinners and drastically reduced my caloric intake to 1200 kcal. Later I found out that pretty much everybody who was abnormally skinny did the same. Some big names too. What happens after half a year is 10 kilograms deficit, much lighter and very enjoyable climbing. After a year, fatigue happens, cuts and burns from volumes stop healing, the hormonal response in females shuts down followed by an absence of periods, shoulder injuries become more frequent… your body basically enters survival mode and cuts down all the other functions. Even climbing becomes hard, it becomes impossible to energetically follow up all the demands of the training. Besides, you are dizzy all the time and obviously hungry. But you lose the desire to eat anymore, you don't know what would even make you satisfied. So the circle goes on.

If such a trapped person has good family support, caring friends, and specialist doctors to help, this can be solved. Very easily. The person just needs to be convinced that any deepening of such habits may lead to death. At some point, at least. Such a shape is usually not sustainable. It may last for two years, but then something breaks – the psyche or the body, literally."

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