Ms Constance Lien, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Fighter

Constance Lien was the first Singaporean to claim an international medal in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when she was crowned world champion at the 2019 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Last year, she clinched a gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games. But the road for the former National swimmer has not always been smooth, and as a teenage athlete under immense pressure, Constance grappled with body image issues and developed an eating disorder. She is now in recovery and is a strong advocate for mental wellness, hoping to provide comfort to youths who may be going through a similar situation.

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What made you decide to speak up about your eating disorder?

I have seen how common it is in teenagers nowadays - both female and males. It's almost like an invisible virus. You don't see it, but it’s so prevalent. Knowing this encouraged me to speak up about it. Because what really helps me get through difficult moments is finding people who I can relate to.

Who were your caregivers during that period?

My family and friends. I’m very thankful for how my family handled me because the eating disorder caused significant mood swings. Whether I ate too little or ate too much, I would get very angsty.

It took a long while for my parents and my younger sister to understand what I was going through. They didn’t really get what it was like to have a mental health condition and for a period of time, I just felt so alone. And the worst part is that I didn't fully understand it either, so I couldn’t explain it.

Thankfully I could speak to my therapist, who had a lot more knowledge about the issue.

I’ve learned over the years that often I don't really need someone to give me advice, because I know what I need to do. But just that in that moment, in that moment of weakness, I just need someone to hear me out and hold space for me.

What would you say to someone who’s experiencing an eating disorder?

I used to give myself deadlines for recovery but now I realise that with eating disorders, or mental health issues, there is no timeline. It's a constant process of being conscious and forgiving yourself over and over again, and being okay with whatever comes, even if you relapse.

How do you practice self-care?

I love being in the forest, any place with a hiking trail. I love greenery,I love traveling, but now we can’t travel so I hike and do things like chill by the pool. A lot of self-pampering, spending time hanging out with my friends and eating good food, with moderation of course.

I meditate a lot and write my emotions down. I'm a person that feels a lot. I'm very sensitive and very vulnerable. And that's why I think in a way, it's also easier for me to speak up about things I'm going through.

What’s your personal goal for W4MW?

I can do at least 20km! And if there’s more I already have friends in mind to bring along with me.

Help and Resources on Eating Disorders