Stronger than yesterday. Laurie Hernandez sat down with Us Weekly to open up about her gymnastics comeback and what advice she has for people going through the eating disorders after her own battle with food. Watch the exclusive video above to hear the Team USA gymnast, who recently partnered with USOPC sponsor Lilly, reflect on her road to eating healthy.
“Honestly it was a really long up and down journey of understanding food and understanding how I saw food and how my body received food,” the Olympic medalist told Us. “There was a lot of learning and a lot of patience and grace involved.”
While the athlete told Us that she has stopped calorie counting, she does still practice clean eating.
“It just got a little bit obsessive and unhealthy, and now I don’t count or track calories. I’m just kind of eating clean, because I also know that food is a fuel and for what I do and it is important to eat healthy,” she said. “Last night I had fish and vegetables and there was this giant pile of veggies on the plate. If I were calorie tracking it, I might say, ‘Oh, this is a lot of carbs.’ But my body was craving vegetables. So, why not give it? Whenever I get to be intuitive and listen to my body, it’s what makes me feel good.”
As for advice for others going through something similar, Hernandez suggested finding what works for you.
“Between social media and a support system or people that are around you, everyone will give you different advice on what you should do, how you should eat, how things should be,” she noted. “Every body is completely different and taking the time to really understand what makes you feel good and what makes you feel like you … I think that’s the most important part. So be patient with yourself and be okay with discovering what you like.”
As the countdown begins to Tokyo, the Olympic medalist is a champion of health in her partnership with first-time USOPC sponsor Lilly. By partnering with Lilly, she is sharing her own personal health story to inspire others.
“My dad has type 2 diabetes and I get to raise an awareness to that, but also put [him] on a pedestal. ‘Cause in my gymnastics career he’s been just like such a huge part of not only my career, but my life,” she said. “And he has been a big part of my support system and I now have an opportunity to get to talk about him and all the hard work that he’s been doing and his life and the representation of seeing him take care of himself and then being like, ‘Oh, then that means I should do that too.’ And Lilly gives me a chance to do that.”