Binge Eating And Athletes
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say the words ‘eating disorder’?
Would you perhaps picture a ripped and talented athlete? The following story might click with you:
Athletes are so disciplined! That’s one of the main reasons I love working with them, but discipline and pressure as an athlete make up a double-sided coin.
Recently I had a meeting with one of my clients, a young and very talented athlete whose coaches started noticing amazing growth in her performance just a few months after we teamed up.
She and her family must be so proud, huh!?
Well, as I started this story, here is another side of the triumph that we must consider.
We often think of eating disorders as someone struggling with their perception of their own weight, most of us immediately picturing an overweight or ultra-skinny person.
But honestly, sometimes eating disorders take form within a ripped gold medalist.
Back to my client’s story, who for purposes of privacy protection, we will call Linda.
Linda’s mom comes to the consultation FURIOUS because she caught Linda sneaking food and hiding food in her room and other places. “I am tired of her cheating, Andrea. Why is she doing this?! I am spending this amount of money for her to throw it in the trash.”
She needed me to explain why her daughter couldn’t stop binge eating.
WHY DO WE BINGE EAT?
Any type of restrictive eating, whether unintentional or on purpose for athletic training and competition, can increase the urge to binge eat.
The pressure to perform plus the constant restrictions on when and what we can eat result in binge eating when we are finally “allowed” to eat. It will not only make you feel very guilty, but bloated, and your organism will not be happy.
Industrial strength overeating, when you devouring food like a wolf that cannot control itself.
STEPS TO AVOID BINGE EATING:
It is not a matter of your will power, it is that you are hungry! If you are deficient in nutrients or lacking enough fat or protein, your brain will signal you to look for more food.
Avoid skipping meals. Don’t control your appetite or restrict calories. Instead, adapt your training and goals to an individualized meal plan that meets your needs.
Be mindful of your diet. Several studies emphasize the benefits of eating alongside people and taking the time to actually enjoy your food.
It is okay to love food! I repete: Love food!! It is okay to love food! You need to fuel yourself with good stuff so that you will not be running on empty and feel the need to shovel up all the bad stuff.
Get enough sleep!
Sleep deprivation has been shown to alter the levels of hormones that affect hunger and appetite.
Seek help if necessary. Talk to a friend about your concerns but seek council specifically from experts like psychologists or dietitians who have expertise in the topic.
Remember this is a team effort we all need to do our part.
Please feel free to send me an email if you are going through this, we would love to support you.