4/8/16

Disordered eating


We live in a culture that emphasizes, rewards, worships and celebrates lean, toned and fit bodies. Individuals with an unhealthy relationship with food and the body may seek extreme events to train for and restrictive methods of eating and fueling in an effort to control weight and to justify excessive exercise patterns.  

Many athletes succeed in sports (especially endurance events) because they are great at doing things in extreme. But extreme thoughts, attitudes and beliefs about food and the body (especially as it relates to performance improvements) can become obsessive and may lead to more serious disordered eating habits.

If your self-imposed rules, regulations and guidelines about what to eat and not to eat around and during workouts are taking precedence of what your body actually needs (and even with alarming symptoms like low blood sugar, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, blurred vision, headache, dehydration manifesting into your workout or day), you are manipulating your diet in a restrictive way as a coping mechanisms for not dealing with feelings about your body, relationships or in life, needing to feel more control, or you want to please others or you hate the way you look, don't wait for a serious health issue or a massive performance decline or blood tests to demonstrate an underlying issue. Get help now.

We live in a society where it's easy to get stuck into one style of eating and then to jump from one style to another when you no longer find success in one diet. 
Sadly, many athletes believe that the thinner and leaner you are, the better you will perform and the happier you will be. And when you don't succeed with your weight goals, the blame is often put on you that you "failed" the diet and that you didn't give it "enough time". You then scratch your head because you simply don't understand how the method that apparently works for everyone else (as claimed by social media, forums and word of mouth) is not working for you, despite every article and scientific research study proving that this is the best way to eat.
Athletes are exceptional at adhering to guidelines and rules and can believe that there's only one right way to eat, thus assuming that everything else (ex. sugar, carbs, sport nutrition, hydration, salt, grains, dairy, etc.) are "bad".
We live in a world where seeing is believing. 

What if the fitness experts, coaches and athletes (of all levels) that you look up to and follow are engaged in disordered eating? These disordered beliefs, attitudes and behaviors around food or exercise make onlookers and followers (YOU) believe that these depriving and restricting methods are "normal" or even required in order to be healthy and to perform at your best.

Athletes can easily hide or rationalize disordered eating behaviors under the claims "I'm training for an event and I need to get leaner" or "I'm improving my performance by becoming a better fat adapted" or "I can't eat that because it will ruin my health" or "I need to exercise more to get into better shape."


While every athlete can welcome a healthier style of eating and should consider working with a sport dietitian to master performance eating and fueling, extreme methods or unrealistic weight or performance goals can can easily foster unhealthy eating habits and disordered body image thoughts. These eating habits cause also cause great stress, anxiety and social isolation.  

To develop new skills and dietary habits that actually improve your health and performance you must be willing to welcome positive messages about food and your body.

The more rules, plans, experts, diets and nutrition information overload that you welcome into your life, the more likely that your your eating patterns (and thoughts about your body) will become more distorted and obsessive which will ultimately sabotage your performance and health goals.



If you are struggling with your relationship with food and the body, get professional help.
Let food enhance your life, not control your life.