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Paralympics highlights: Kadeena Cox retains thrilling gold in the velodrome

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The BBC One cooking show champ has lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) since 2014 and since her diagnosis she has had to adapt certain elements of her life, including how she participates in sports. In an interview with the Multiple Sclerosis Trust she said: “I was horrified that my life was going to revolve around not being independent.” Against all odds Kadeena has thrived in both the T38 400m and cycling C4, old heroine tulasi hot but another disorder has caused her persisting problems.

The 30-year-old’s disorder, which she refers to as her “disordered eating”, developed after she won a silver medal at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Dubai.

Talking about the condition to the BBC she said it has been a struggle having “so many eyes” on her.

“It’s been tricky trying to deal with managing my eating, having so many people around me and so many eyes on me, it’s pushed me to do more extreme things which is frustrating for me,” Kadeena said.

“A few bad habits have snuck back in that I thought I had got rid of. I’m annoyed with myself, it’s hard not to think, ‘If I had done this or not done this, would I have won?’”

The athlete opened up about her condition again while appearing on Stylist magazine’s Nobody Told Me. She continued to say that she has always struggled with her body image and eating disorder.

Her mental health then hit rock bottom even though she was thriving in her sport. Kadeena added: “I was able to perform well enough to get the gold medal but mentally I was broken.”

“I turned to the only thing I know how to control.

“Stuffing my face, the overwhelming feeling of guilt, the inevitable vomiting.”

Despite her struggles with mental health and eating, Kadeena has always had a support team around her.

Paula Dunn, British Athletics Para Athletics head coach, said: “Kadeena Cox has made another brave public statement about her ongoing struggles with her mental health and eating disorder.

“We are proud of her achievements tonight and she has received support from our medical team this evening. Kadeena will continue her great work in overcoming this illness with the support of our medical team and a leading specialist doctor.

“Performance is always secondary to ensuring our athletes are healthy in heart and mind. We will always support Kadeena and our medical teams to make decisions that prioritise her health in the first instance.

“Team support staff hold the welfare of athletes as the highest priority and will do everything possible to continue supporting her mentally and physically.”

Bulimia is an eating disorder and mental health condition where individuals go through periods where they eat a lot in a very short amount of time and then make themselves sick.

In order to stop them gaining weight individuals will go to extreme lengths such as using laxatives or excessive exercise, or a combination of these to stop any repercussions of eating.

The NHS describes symptoms of bulimia. They include the following:

  • Eating very large amounts of food in a short time, often in an out-of-control way – this is called binge eating
  • Making yourself vomit, using laxatives, or doing an extreme amount of exercise after a binge to avoid putting on weight – this is called purging
  • Fear of putting on weight
  • Being very critical about your weight and body shape
  • Mood changes – for example, feeling very tense or anxious.

Beat – a charity helping those with eating disorders – say that during a binge, people with bulimia don’t feel in control of how much or how quickly they’re eating. Some people also say that they feel as though they’re disconnected from what they’re doing.

The food eaten during a binge may include things the person would usually avoid. Episodes of binge eating are often very distressing, and people may feel trapped in the cycle of bingeing and purging. People with bulimia place strong emphasis on their weight and shape, and may see themselves as much larger than they are.

Treating bulimia is different and tailored for each individual. If you’re over 18, you’ll probably be offered a guided self-help programme. This involves working through a self-help book, and often includes keeping a diary and making a plan for your meals.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is also widely recommended to support you in overcoming intrusive thoughts and behaviours.

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