To kick of March National Nutrition Month theme in our t2Endurance Club Facebook group, it is also National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I completed my Masters Thesis on Eating Disorders Among Triathletes, so I wanted to share a quick story.
After my freshman year in college, 1992, my college swim coach told me that I should lose 5 pounds over the summer, I am 5’7, and weighed 135 pounds. I had poor posture and carried my weight around my waist and so I think it just appeared that I was a little bit heavier, body fat wise, then if I had a stronger core, better posture and different genetics. When I turned 25 years old, I realized I had the “Mader” gut 🙂
That summer, 1992, I had complications and had my left ovary removed. Due to post surgery recovery, bloated and full after eating very little, I easily lost 5-10 pounds, not exercising, just from not eating much. In the fall when I got back to college, I had many compliments about how good I looked. Thin = Looking Great!
That got to my head and I started restricting my food intake because I thought being thinner was “good’. I definitely had a mental disorder and insecurity, trying to fit in etc.
And, it was after my first year doing triathlons so as an endurance triathlete/runner being thin = faster, at least, so I thought at that time, so I kept losing weight after that.
The lowest weight I saw was 105 pounds and I knew I was thin looking in the mirror, I did not think I was fat, still always preoccupied with food intake. I was just very particular on what and how much I ate. A term, Orthoexica
After my sophomore/junior year, my coach threatened to take away my scholarship because my performance had declined, starting my junior year that is when the lightbulb went on. I did not want to lose my scholarship. Performing became more important then weighing 105 pounds The EAT TO TRAIN, VS TRAIN TO EAT, mentality kicked in.
By the end of senior year I weighed 120 pounds and it was not a muscular 120 pound. I was “skinny/fat” so still had some body image issues.
I have regrets because my relationship with food negatively impacted my swimming performance. If you struggle, seek out help with a Registered Dietitian, Mental Health Expert to help you change your relationship with food and the scale
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