BYU Basketball’s Jennah Isai Opens Up About Struggles With Bulimia

Apr 13, 2023, 4:42 PM

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PROVO, Utah – A newcomer in the BYU women’s basketball program opened up about her struggles with bulimia with the hope of helping others feel less alone.

Jennah Isai, a heralded transfer from the University of Oregon, shared her story on Instagram. Isai said she had battled bulimia and restriction for five years. Bulimia is a life-threatening eating disorder.

Isai also noted that two months ago, while enrolled at BYU, she admitted herself to an inpatient eating disorder facility.


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A post shared by jennah isai (@jennahisai)

Here’s what Isai wrote in her Instagram post.

Jennah Isai on battle with bulimia

“I’ve decided to come on here after being away for awhile and want to share something very personal about myself that I’ve kept a secret for quite some time. Never in my life would I have thought I’d be this vulnerable, but in recovery I have learned that vulnerability shows bravery and not weakness. In sharting this, my hope is to help and/or relate to anyone going through a similar problem as me.

“My name is Jennah Isai and I have struggled with bulimia and restriction for 5 years now. Being an athlete, competitiveness is a positive characteristic, but through the years I’ve turned it into something very negative. I’ve turned it into comparing myself to everyone I’m around, competing with myself on how much weight I can lose or how secretive I can be with it. I felt I had no control in my life and tried to control it in calories or numbers on clothes or on the scale. The scale and mirrors were my best friends, body checking in each mirror any chance I got, standing on a scale multiple times in one day, getting high off the feeling of the numbers going down. Not only was this hurting me mentally, it started taking a toll on me physically as well. It got to the point where I couldn’t practice or play like I wanted to, I had no energy to go anywhere or do anything, and I couldn’t think straight. This is no way to live. While doing this, so I wouldn’t get caught, I started isolating myself and had absolutely no one around me in my life which drove me into a deep depression. I was angry with life, myself, and everyone and everything around me. It had taken up my whole life.

“About 2 months ago I hit my lowest point and admitted myself with the help of my family into an inpatient eating disorder facility.

“Although it was extremely hard, it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I have learned to surround myself with people who are healthy for me and who love me and my imperfections unconditionally. I’ve learned patience and to finally be at peace with myself. Recovery is a long process, but throughout, it has given me an opportunity to live again and enjoy life and not just go through it. I thank God every day for the support I have now, the new amazing people in my life, and most importantly for helping save me from something designed to kill me. Asking for help is nothing of which to be ashamed and is always best to do sooner than later.”

Moving forward with BYU basketball

Jennah Isai played in 10 games at Oregon last season before transferring to BYU in December. She is part of a talented 2023 recruiting class for BYU that is among the best nationally. Isai has three years of eligibility remaining in her collegiate career. BYU is preparing for its first year in the Big 12 Conference this season.

Resources available

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) has resources available 24-7. Available at NationalEatingDisorders.org.

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Basketball’s Jennah Isai Opens Up About Struggles With Bulimia