‘This is an honest and heart-wrenching journey which gives a real insight into the life of what some athletes put their minds and bodies through. I saw numerous parallels with my own career. An example of an overpowering inner force that warps your reality. Sport can be wonderful but at times lead you down a dangerous path of absorbing passion. Vanessa plunges blindly into self-sabotage by pushing her body beyond the limits. A great read and excellent warning to all high achievers driven to extremes to excel. It’s a story of hope and redemption.‘
Jana Pittman, two times World Champion, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and three times an Australian Olympian
Fit Not Healthy is the gripping story of Vanessa Alford, a young woman who enjoyed running as a way to keep herself fit and healthy. She soon discovers she has a talent for long-distance running and trains for her first marathon. . She loves it – and soon sets her sights on the 2005 Melbourne Marathon. When she finishes in under three hours and in third place, Vanessa is offered commercial sponsorships and attracts the attentions of elite coaches.
Instead of enjoying her win however, she is driven to improve her performance. She pushes her body harder and further, determined to become the best runner she can be. Despite her increasing success and her own training as a physiotherapist she soon finds herself trapped in a spiral of extreme dieting and exercise in order to improve her performances and maintain her ‘fit and healthy’ look.
Ignoring the growing concern of her family and friends, Vanessa denies there is anything unhealthy about her fitness training, until the day she finds her body has started rebelling against her …
A compelling story about the dangers of overexercising and chasing perfection in a society that rewards and applauds the fastest and the fittest.
‘I congratulate Vanessa for writing and sharing about an important and often silent aspect of an athlete’s experience with food and training. Her raw honesty about her treacherous battle with her inner voice and revelations will inspire many and are a testament to her strength and integrity.’