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February 8, 2021

Caroline Treadway’s film ‘Light’, covering the subject of eating disorders, has been discussed a lot of late, an opportunity for some high profile climbers to share their own experience on the issue. Being a contrarian, I don’t like the term ‘eating disorder’, as ‘disorder’ or non-normative behaviour is the foundation of all high-end sport, be it cycling, weight lifting or mountain running. The human body is not designed to be so abused, overtrained, a life constrained in order to win (what?). Anything so sharped is easily blunted, unlike a hammer. An unhealthy relationship with food is often the most obvious manifestation of deeper issues - not easy to see from the inside of a sport - many top athletes suffering from crippling self-doubt, sin, shame, disappointment, anxiety, frustration and self-hatred, which when totted up can lead to many unhealthy mental states and outcomes. The drive to reach some unreachable goal can easily lead to a lifetime of compromised relationships, careers, choices and sacrifices that seem normal - junkie normal - when they are made when they are not. But ultimately your life is not being steered by you, it’s steered by it, and what goes into your mouth is nothing compared to what lurks in your head and heart. The most important thing to consider, and maybe understand, is that an eating disorder could easily be viewed as superhuman eating discipline, and to normies, going to the wall every single night, doing yoga, weight training, running, physio in between what that think as normal life, and not just watching sat Love Ireland, is a life disorder, that you’re sick and eating is the least of it. Fundamentally, if you don’t want what others want, and sign up to the cult of experience instead, of self, in the hope of the extraordinary, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into, what it’ll cost, what it’ll take. Maybe this way you can somehow better understand the game, control the life you choose, rather than let the unchosen life control you.

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