Long row to recovery

Am y Walters is raising money for charities that have inspired her during her recovery from an eating disorder. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d408061
Am y Walters is raising money for charities that have inspired her during her recovery from an eating disorder. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d408061

The WA Rowing Club athlete has battled an eating disorder since she was 17 and while making significant strides forward, she must constantly fight the urge to avoid eating.

The illness, which put her in hospital three times, took its strongest hold at age 21.

‘I really started getting into my rowing and we were doing weigh-ins for testing, so everyone knew what we weighed,’ Ms Walters said.

‘I thought, ‘I don’t want to weigh a lot’, so I would try to drop my weight but I never really thought I had issues; I thought I would just try get it down and be fine after that.

‘Then I started national competitions and to be in a lightweight category you have to be below a certain weight, and so I wanted to be even lighter than that. I was consuming limited food and trying to just eat for my training so I could get through that.’

Ms Walters said her condition, which began with a general fussiness for food, affected her entire life and everyone around her.

‘I lost quite a few friends during it all because I wouldn’t want to go out to dinner or see anyone as it meant I would have to eat with them,’ she said.

‘Everything is still really hard, but I’m willing to push through it. I just have to keep looking at where I’m heading, keep up with my appointments and continue being social and not hiding myself away.

‘Being more open about this has made things so much easier than they were.’

Ms Walters will embark on a marathon row this Sunday from the Bell Tower in Perth to Guildford Grammar School and back, raising funds for The Butterfly Foundation, Make-a-Wish and her rowing club on Riverside Drive.

At 42km, it will be her longest distance yet and is expected to take four to five hours.

To make a donation to the marathon row, visit amyjeanwalters.wordpress.com.