Too Thin? Athletes and Body Image Concerns

September 20th, 2011 by Andrea McDonough · No Comments · Resources We Recommend, Sports Medicine, Sports Parenting, Sports Psychology

There’s no doubt about it, for athletes, bodies are their instruments. Unfortunately, in the process of fine-tuning their instruments, eating disordered attitudes and behaviors can be triggered.

For the distance runner, body builder, wrestler, gymnast, skater, diver, or dancer, thinner equates with “better.” Thinner means I can run faster for a longer period of time. Thinner means I can look more graceful, more appealing to the judges. Thinner means I have less fat on my body. Thinner means I make the lowest weight possible in which to compete.

There may be some truth to those beliefs, but thinner is not always better for athletes or for the general population.

What IS better for the athletes: knowing how to fuel their bodies, train their bodies and most importantly, RESPECT their bodies. It is almost impossible to ignore the body image pressures inundating our athletes and culture. The pursuit of perfection goes hand in hand with body image. Not only do I have to be a great student, elite athlete, #1 friend and child, I have to look perfect. It’s a lot to bear as a teenager or young adult.

There are some wonderful resources for parents, coaches and athletes to help nurture and grow a healthy body image. Nurturing and growing healthy athletes is my passion.Here are two excellent resources:

Sports Medicine Doctor


National Eating Disorders Association Tool Kits for Coaches



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