WWE Hall Of Famer Torrie Wilson explores the complex relationship between her past eating disorder and her wrestling and fitness success.
Torrie Wilson is a professional wrestler who needs no introduction. Known predominately for her career in the WWE, Wilson is also a fitness model, entrepreneur and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2019. Now retired from professional wrestling, she connects with Mike O’Hearn and Mona Muresan to reflect back on her fitness origins and wrestling career. In Generation Iron and Barbend’s latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Torrie Wilson dives deep into her childhood struggle with anorexia and how she overcame it both mentally and physically to become one of the most famous WWE superstars of all time.
Mike O’Hearn has made a point to discuss how hardship helps create greatness. But while overcoming hardship can make us stronger, it can also debilitate others in irreversible ways. When discussing disorders such as mental health issues, eating disorders, or irreversible trauma – it’s important not to minimize the real danger these hardships can cause while also discussing how they have helped others rise up and achieve things beyond what is expected.
WWE pro wrestler Torrie Wilson has been very open about her past battle with anorexia. But the hardships that drove her into an eating disorder are also directly responsible for her discovering fitness, wrestling, and creating an entire career based on that passion. Does that mean Wilson is thankful for going through an eating disorder? Certainly not. But she does see the hardship behind that disorder as something that pushed her to do great things.
In this week’s episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Torrie Wilson digs deep into the complex relationship between hardship and greatness. In a world that aims to be as preventative as possible about many hardships such as bullying, hate speech, and toxic masculinity – how far is too far in an era where buzzwords like “cancel culture” are king? Let’s jump into it.
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How Torrie Wilson Overcame Anorexia And Became A Professional Wrestler
Torrie Wilson wasn’t a girl who grew up obsessively watching professional wrestling. In fact, her journey into the WWE was a somewhat unexpected one. Wilson first jumped into the fitness industry through modeling. She sought it out after struggling with anorexia all through her teen years and into college. Due to bullying about her weight as a child, she began to obsess over her weight, barely eat, and would use cardio to stay as skinny as possible. She saw modeling as a way to escape her small town and pursued modeling through an agency at nine years old.
By college, Torrie Wilson couldn’t keep it up anymore. She was truly hungry and stopped forcing herself to skip meals. This in combination with drinking and party culture changed her diet habits. Instead of avoiding all food, she would spit or purge it out after eating. While she falls short of considering this full on bulimia, it was certainly a dangerous and unhealthy habit.
During this time, she started noticing women in the gym that were fit, strong, but didn’t “look like a man.” It was the first time she discovered that it was possible to be a woman, maintain femininity, and focus on building strength.
Eventually, her modeling career segued into a fitness modeling career. It started taking off – and she eventually caught the attention of wrestler Kevin Nash, who encouraged her to try wrestling on stage. It paid well and she was broke at the time. So she took the offer and things snowballed from there.
Through being encouraged to focus on being strong, fit, and feminine – she was able to overcome the mindset of hating food and establish a healthy diet. But if it wasn’t for the bullying and hardship all of those years ago – she most likely would have never gone down this path.
The Complex Relationship Between Hardships And Rising Up To New Levels Of Success
After hearing her story, Mike O’Hearn states that he often sees a commonality between successful individuals – not just in fitness but in general. Most truly successful people have faced hardship and, instead of running away or giving up, they used it as fuel to not only overcome but succeed beyond traditional expectations.
It’s for this reason that Mike O’Hearn doesn’t want to raise his son in a place that shields him from everything. He wants his son to experience hardships and make mistakes so he can grow from them.
Torrie Wilson agrees that the hardships she faced created fuel into a fire that eventually led to her fitness success. But she also thinks that there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. This is particularly true in today’s era of online and social media. It has become far too easy for groups of hateful people to band together and create horrifically toxic environments.
Torrie Wilson believes that hardships in and of themselves should not be glorified when reading or hearing about success stories. In truth, she believes that confidence and doing things that scared her are the real sources of her success. This can be done beyond hardships like bullying. It can be done even while living a comfortable life. It requires a mentality of never being satisfied with the status quo. Face your fears, expect to fail, and come out the other side stronger.
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Torrie Wilson has had a long and storied career across fitness modeling, business, and professional wrestling. In this episode, she also shares some insider wrestling stories during her time at the WWE and WCW. Including mentions of Kevin Nash, Rick Flair, and the Big Show.
So make sure to check out the full episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above. And don’t forget to check back every Friday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or where ever podcasts are downloaded.