By Lori Hanson
Last month I received an email from Avery Books asking me if I would be willing to review Monica Seles’ new book. A huge tennis fan with memories of when Monica hit the scene I quickly agreed. When I saw Monica on Dancing With the Stars last fall I was struck by how great she looked. I was so happy to see her looking healthy and happy. But although I remember her “getting heavier” I had no idea she had struggled with an eating disorder.
Monica’s book has two great angles. One, she provides a very detailed, real view into the life of a tennis pro. The travel, the competition, the preparation, the pace. As she recounts different matches and wins I remember watching them. As someone who’s watched tennis for years it was fascinating to read about the inside of the sport. But the other story in her book is about a person no different than you or me. A person who suffered with a lack of control over food because of unresolved emotional issues tied to her stabbing and her father’s death from cancer. The message that oozes from this book validates the theory that having money doesn’t provide happiness.
Monica recounts the early years following her father and brother to a tennis court and falling in love with the sport. She details the commitment and choices made at any early age to come to America to study her craft. Close to her parents, being in America without them was incredibly difficult for her at the tender age of 13. But to her surprise, when she called to tell her parents she couldn’t continue alone, they came to America to join her. Her father was her coach and they had an incredibly close relationship.
Monica’s world was rocked, when at the top of her game she was stabbed by a star crazed fan of Steffi Graf’s. She came back from the physical scars, but the emotional scars ran deep. While she was working on her come back her father was diagnosed with cancer. Her father’s battle with cancer and untimely death hit her hard and made it difficult for her to bounce back.
Monica turned to food as her solace. She shares her escapades of living on the road and cleaning out the mini bar’s in hotel rooms. Hiring training teams to help her get back in shape, and after full day workouts bingeing in the evening and totally canceling out the efforts of her day. What’s so down to earth is that Monica struggled over and over and as much as she longed to lose the weight and regain her dominance on the tour could not contain her binge eating to get back in the physical shape required to compete as the game’s best.
She couldn’t find the connection she needed to calm her. She met with a therapist, but wasn’t able to process her issues with him. She describes the grueling pace of being on tour (being at home for a month was a luxury). It wasn’t until she sustained a foot inquiry that kept her from tour for over a year that she started to connect with and process her grief over her father’s death. Once she slowed down and started to explore life outside tennis she finally started to connect with her inner self and the desperation and obsession to eat started to subside. Since she couldn’t play tennis she was forced to look at who she really was. As the pace slowed, so did her intake of food. With an exposure to yoga and journaling she began to identify with her feelings and most importantly – once she changed her focus from her obsession about losing the weight, she started to lose it. Effortlessly.
Monica’s book provides hope and inspiration for women and men everywhere who have struggled with their weight. No matter how many pounds, no matter how long, you can gain the victory of weight issues. She provides huge inspiration by finding her self, by herself after years of struggle and hiring people to “fix” and babysit her. In the end, Monica scored bid and learned to LOVE herself.
I’ve written and spoken often about the power of the sub-conscious mind. It is demonstrated throughout Monica’s book in both winning and losing tennis matches and fighting the battle of her weight. Whatever you focus on is what will manifest in your life. When all your time and energy is focused on how awful you look and feel, you’ll continue to look and feel awful. When you shift your focus to something positive and explore new things, you find you won’t have to diet or try to control things to change your body and weight. It was the same for me in my recovery from bulimia.
I’d love to hear your comments about Monica’s book and her experience. And any success stories you have about learning to love yourself. We are in an age when slowing down isn’t the norm. Everyone is racing through life on auto pilot attached to a piece of technology that never gets shut off. How and when do you slow down, how can you Learn2Balance your life, like Monica did? Get the information to get you started today.