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Underdogs Star Opens Up On His Battle With Body Dysmorphia

Underdogs Star Opens Up On His Battle With Body Dysmorphia
By Gavin Cooney
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TG4's Underdogs are edging toward their daunting crescendo: a clash with Dublin at Parnell Park on Friday, 19th October 2018.

The build-up to the game continued on TG4 last night, with the latest training camp culminating in a dispiriting challenge match defeat.


In contrast to the gloomy mood after the game, however, is the uplifting personal tale of the Underdogs' Stephen Harford, who opened up on his battle with body dysmorphia.

At 16, I recall being between 17.5 and 18 stone. I was totally unconfident in myself, I didn't believe I was capable of much. It's not something I would advocate, it was quite irresponsible, but I lost a lot of weight very quickly.

Body dysmorphia is real. I never made myself sick, but I deprived myself of food. I arrived in school on the first day of sixth year not half the weight I was, but nearly, to open eyes and dropped jaws. In the frame of mind that I was in, it was all a compliment.

They were shocked as I was kind of ghastly looking. I was bony, skinny, gaunt and pale. I could see my ribs, and I took pleasure in that. I filled a drawer in my room with food that I would buy, so I was seen with food. To be thin and to be seen eating junk food was the attractive stereotype from my perspective.

It was awful. As thin as I got, and I got very thin, I was still a whale in my head. I couldn't get away from it. It took me the guts of eight or nine years to learn how to eat again, to be healthy and to keep yourself balanced and to live a sustainable life.

To understand and love yourself is very important across the board. I don't mean it in the wrong way, but I love me right now. It's a very healthy way to be.

After the challenge defeat, the players reviewed their GPS running stats. Who came out on top? Stephen Harford.

See Also: Here's The Draw For The 2019 All-Ireland Football Championship

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