Monica Seles is without a doubt one of the best female tennis players of all time. Known for her relentless power and loud, multi-syllable grunts, Seles vaulted to the top ranked spot in women's tennis at the tender age of 17.
Even the casual sports fan knows how this story unfolds. A bizarre stabbing attack by a deranged fan would indelibly de-rail Seles' playing career and worse still, her emotional stability. The stabbing incident - compounded by the death of her father to cancer would spark an addiction to food.
Here are some quotes from Monica's story in an ESPN interview on how she kicked emotional eating. Seles has written a book on her experiences called Getting a Grip.
My foot was in a cast, and I knew I did not want to gain another pound. I also knew whatever I was doing was not working and I needed a change. That was the wow moment, when I said, Forget Monica the tennis player, the champion, the person that got stabbed, the youngest to win this or that; do this for Monica the person.
(The weight came off) once I stopped all the diets. The second half of my career, I was always put on a diet. Twelve hundred calories, measured exactly. I read every single diet book. I still have them. The Atkins, the food combination, the gluten-free ...
I definitely had an addiction to food. No question...It took me a year and a half to lose my 37 pounds, and I did it all by walking. No gym. So the irony is amazing from an athlete's point of view.
You have to figure out what's eating you emotionally. I love to eat. If I didn't, I never would have been as big as I was. But I don't eat the quantity that I used to because my emotions are in check. For women, the emotional connection with food is a very powerful one.
Interesting Sidebar take on today's Female Tennis Player
Now 35, Seles says she always will live with some regret about what could have been but that she's at peace and, more importantly, at the helm of her life. Seles will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this summer.
Source: ESPN.com. See the full interview + video here.