In a blog for the National Eating Disorders Association*, Dr. Riley Nickols, writes about the challenges that athletes face with body image and eating concerns. He states, “Athletes devote a significant amount of time and resources in pursuit of maximizing performance in sport. Athletes’ bodies are used as vessels to compete in sport and, when nourished and nurtured, the human brain and body are best equipped to perform optimally and consistently over a prolonged period of time. An athlete’s heightened attunement to their body and associated body cues are both critical for sport performance, but the increased awareness to one’s body can also pose notable difficulties for athletes with an eating disorder.”
Dr. Nickols also highlights:
Being a caretaker for your body as an athlete entails honoring your body despite how you feel about your body. This might include:
– Consistently prioritizing meeting your energy and hydration needs
– Getting adequate sleep and rest
– Abstaining from body comparisons that you make toward yourself, your teammates, and/or others
– Remaining within approved training parameters
– Immediately communicating to your coach/treatment team if you are injured
– Skipping or modifying a workout if/when needed
– Acknowledging gratitude for what your body allows you to do in life and sport
– Respecting and appropriately responding to behaviors and objective data (e.g., labs, cardiac functioning, weight) that are contraindicative of safe sport participation
*Dr. Nickols is a member of the Clinical Advisory Council for the National Eating Disorders Association.
Trying to find a psychologist or dietitian who understands the unique mental, physical, and emotional needs of an athlete? The team at Mind Body Endurance can help.