MASTERCHEF champion Kadeena Cox has revealed the challenges she faced after suffering from a life-changing stroke.
The Paralympian admitted there was a time when she couldn't even "butter my own toast", as she battled to recover.
Additionally, the sporting star balanced rehabilitation from the stroke with an eating disorder which left her "mentally in a horrendous place".
Speaking on the Prevayl: Better Begins Here podcast, the 30-year-old explained: "In 2014, I was training for the 400m, and then I had a stroke in May. I spent like three, four months recovering from that.
"I was 23-years-old, I’d had a stroke, which, you know, I thought, okay, this is bad, but I can recover from this."
She added: "There was a point when I couldn’t even butter my own toast. Opening bowls, cutting stuff was difficult.
"I just stabbed my fork (into food) because I just didn’t have the movement.
"What else could I do? I couldn’t do very much – even getting in and out of the bath was a real struggle."
The same year the presenter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which she admitted had a knock-on effect.
"Disordered eating became a big part of my life," the cyclist and sprinter reflected.
"I went from being an elite athlete prior to becoming ill, to be doing nothing, being on steroids, and my mother feeding me.
"I think I put on three stone in less than two months. I very quickly became a person that I didn’t recognise.
"So I really struggled with my body image because of this. I felt like MS had taken (my body image) away from me."
"I got to a point in 2019 when I realised I was being very detrimental to myself and not eating for like three days while over-training."
I really struggled."
Recalling how she finally confronted her eating disorder, Cox said: "In 2019, after I’d won the world championships and I was just mentally in a horrendous place.
"I was broken. I blurted all my struggles to someone who was interviewing me."
Her summer success at the Tokyo Paralympics saw her successfully defend her gold medal in track cycling.
Kadeena admitted she "struggled" with her eating disorder while out there but that "I’m nowhere near as bad as I was".
An even more recent success for Kadeena came last month as she beat off 19 other celebrities to be crowned Celebrity MasterChef champ.
After her triumph, an emotional Cox said: “I gave everything I could today. I am absolutely buzzing. This smile is not disappearing from my face for a while. I am just proud of myself for doing it.
"I didn’t change who I was, I learnt along the way but I was still Kadeena right to the end. It has just been a great journey and one that I am never going to forget.”
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