WWE Monday Night Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss recently spoke with former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia on her Chasing Glory podcast.
Her battle with anorexia:
“It started off as simple dieting and I was trying just to watch what I was eating and then I started weighing myself and then it becomes a numbers game. Once you start weighing yourself every day, you start seeing little pounds drop here and there and then you say, ‘Okay, what’s the next number I can get to? What’s the next number I can get to?’ And then that’s when I started researching and learning about calories and I became obsessed. I can’t even tell you, it’s crazy to talk about. I became obsessed with counting calories, obsessed with making sure that I knew exactly what was going into my body at all times. I used to make these little note cards and my mom found these note cards and that’s when she knew I had a problem.
“They were just little tiny cards and they had food places that I had normally ate and it would have an item from that place – let’s say it was like chicken from Burger King, it would have the amount of calories, the amount of fat, the amount of sodium and I made my own little nutritional cards. And then I would write down how much of that I would have to make a certain amount of calories that would fit my diet that day. And you know cheering, we would have practice after school and it got to the point where I would try all these little tricks just to not eat and I remember I was starving, I was so hungry and it was cheer practice and I remember chewing up a protein bar and spitting it back out just to get the flavor of food in my mouth and some kind of energy absorbed from that and I would spit it out and go train because I was so calorie conscious. I would get up a four in the morning before school, I would go and do cardio and then at school I made sure that I would only eat a Jell-O, an apple, and an egg white and that equaled to 150 calories a day and the weight just started dropping off of me like crazy. I went from 130 to 90 in six weeks.
“My mom was anorexic when she was younger so she knew, she knew exactly when she saw that I was like smelling food, but not eating it or if I was cutting my food up into really tiny pieces. I would have a piece of bread in the morning and I would just tear it up into tiny pieces and it would take me 30 minutes to eat that one piece of bread. I got real skinny, I was weak, I remember I turned into this completely different person because when you’re wrapped up in an eating disorder, you’re not yourself.”
Being a voice for the fight against anorexia:
I” want to be that person that shows you cannot be defined by something. When you looked at me you saw anorexia. I was bones, I was dark circles, I was sunken in and…I didn’t want to be defined as that. I was always getting looked at and just judged and I didn’t want to be that person and I wanted to show you can be more than an eating disorder, because it wraps up people so much and it’s not what it’s about.
“I had the amazing experience of when we were in Italy, we went to do a hospital visit and they actually sent me to an eating disorder unit. They didn’t know my past, they didn’t know anything. It was amazing and I saw these kids there and they were teenagers and there was one boy in the back pacing back and forth, I used to do that. There was one girl constantly shaking her knee, I used to do that. There was one kid with a feeding tube, I know that. They wouldn’t look me in the eye, they were very to themselves cause they were like, ‘You don’t know what we’re going through.’
“I had the translator tell them that I had an eating disorder and I was anorexic and I had turned my life around and I had you know, gone onto better things and realize there is more than the number on a scale. All of these kids stopped and looked at me and they gave eye contact to me and the kid in the back who was pacing back and forth, he stopped and he just like kind of looked up at me. And so I kept talking and talking and you would just see them like, they would, start with their head completely down and they looked up and by the end of the conversation they were asking questions. They were talking, they were being responsive, and that’s something that I would never trade for a million years because if I were to be able to help one person, because it’s a day by day thing-eating disorders are a day by day thing. You can’t run, you can’t. And so if I could help somebody for one day, that’s more than worth it for me because that can be the day that saves their life.”
Dealing with fan criticism:
“I’ve fully accepted the fact that if I’m going to do a career like this, I have to be willing to take criticism, because it’s a part of the job, you know? Any Instagram thing I post, someone’s going to say something, I know that. Anything on Twitter, someone’s going to judge whatever I do, whatever I say, whatever I look like, I understand that. But I also know that if I were to ever read into that and slip back into an eating disorder, my body will not survive another one. I’ve been told that multiple times with how my body reacts to it, I will not survive another one.
“If I’m a little more heavier, if I’m ever a little thicker, that’s fine because that means I’m stronger. It means I’m not worried about not waking up in the morning, I’m not worried about the amount of calories I’m eating. There’s so many more things to life to worry about than that. Like they say, ‘An eating disorder will always be in the back of your head, you’ll never get rid of it.’ Once its there, its always there.”
“Yeah, there’s still foods I’m still afraid to. I’m terrified to eat certain foods, but I know that if I eat them, it’s going to be okay. I’m going to get through it. I’ve been very aware with the fact that being in the public eye, being on TV, being cast on Total Divas, I’m setting myself out there for criticism, but I have to know in my heart, what I know is right.”
Her future goals in WWE:
“I want to be one of the longest reigning champions and for our women as a whole, even if I’m not in the match, I want us to have a Main Event at WrestleMania. That’s what I want so bad more than anything even if I’m not in the match-I mean I would love to be in the match let’s not get that twisted, but if we could have a Main Event on WrestleMania, that would be the ultimate thing.”