Bailey Philbin is currently a special education teacher and gymnastics coach.
She talks to us today about the eating disorder that robbed her of much of her collegiate gymnastics career, how that impacted her for many years and what helped her to finally heal.Bailey talks about the intensity of her training as a young girl and how gymnastics consumed almost all of her identity.
She noticed when she hit puberty that she was gaining weight in places that she wasn’t used to and became very conscience of that. Then freshman year of college, she gained some weight and it was affecting her gymnastics. So she started restricting herself from certain foods between freshman and sophomore seasons.
She started losing weight and her gymnastics became much easier. By junior year, she started realizing that she was hungry all the time because she was lifting weights as well as training. She wasn’t fueling her body enough for the activity she was doing.
She was also still obsessed with her weight and would sometimes go to the gym and run up to 6 miles after practicing for 3 hours. She had a scale in her room and was obsessed with it.
That is when the bulimia started.
When the number on the scale wasn’t what she liked, she would do whatever it took to get the number where she thought it needed to be. She hid her bulimia from everyone, but her body started to break down. Because she wasn’t actually absorbing any nutrients, she began to struggle with dislocations in her shoulders.
Finally her senior year, she tore her labrum and had to get surgery, which ended her career. Bailey ended up struggling with bulimia for a little over a year, and when her gymnastics career was over, it was sad but it was also a chance for her to heal.
Bailey finally decided to tell her coaches that she was struggling her senior year. She talks about how supportive they were and how much they helped her and got her in touch with other people who could help her as well. She talks about the importance of calling the disease by name and not letting it have power over you.
She also talks about the importance of community and how her coaches and family rallied around her and lended her their strength through the healing process. Bailey talks about how the recovery process is really difficult and she had to reteach her body how to digest food again, but even though it was hard, she didn’t feel isolated anymore because she now had people that she could go to finally.
Now she has a healthy relationship with food and sees it as fuel for her body and not something to fear.
She talks about how her faith has helped her throughout the journey. She also talks about the importance of perspective and understanding that if you are struggling with it now, knowing that it won’t be for forever.
In her highlight reel Bailey informs us that it is already Christmas time on the Hallmark channel and talks about watching movies and drinking coffee.
For her blooper reel, Bailey tells us about a time that she ran out of gas ten feet from the gas pump and had to have people push her car to the pump while she steered the car.
Bailey passes the ball to her former college roommate, Lauren Ball. She is so thankful for Lauren planting the seed of faith in her life during college and for Lauren’s continued encouragement to this day.