Jessie Diggins used her eating disorder as a way to ignore her feelings.
The 32-year-old Olympian felt a "pressure to be perfect" at the height of her career as a Gold medal-winning skier and found herself adopting an unhealthy way of eating in order to cope and "block out" feelings of pain or sadness.
She told People magazine: "It was really tough. I struggle with feeling pressure to be perfect, and most of that is pressure that I put on myself.
"A lot of different small stresses were stacking up. It's like if you're going on a hike and someone adds a little rock to your backpack, it's not a big deal, but if you keep adding and adding and adding rocks, suddenly that's a lot to walk around with every day.
"And it was just getting really heavy. And that was hard for me. I just realised that I was sick and tired, and I realised that I didn't feel as strongly about it as I should.
"And so when I realised that I was using my eating disorder to not have to feel things, then I realised, 'Oh, it's back. And this is a problem.'
"I like to wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to feel things. And when you use it to block out feeling pain, or anger, or stress or sadness, you also lose out on feeling joy and happiness, and love and all the good things."
The skier - who is married to Wade Poplawski - added that she struggled to tell her husband and family about her eating disorder because she didn't want to worry them but knew she had to speak out so that they could help her relieve such a "big burden".
She added: "It was hard to tell my husband and my parents simply because you don't want to cause people who you love, who love you, pain and stress and worry.
"But I also knew I needed to tell them; they want to be there for me and I need to let them in, and it almost instantly relieved a pretty big burden from my shoulders.
"It's like they each reached into the backpack and took out a bunch of rocks and were able to carry them for me while I worked on figuring out how to throw them away.
"They all responded in a really great way and I think that's really important to talk about because instead of panicking about what this means, they all just said, ‘I'm sorry that is happening, but we really care about you as a person first.
"Ski racing comes second, and all we want is for you to live a long, happy, healthy life, so that's the priority.’"