We all are aware, but there is hardly do much about this good health fact – Body Weight. Maintaining good body weight is absolutely essential for a happy and healthy life. And, for this one needs to follow a balanced diet along with getting ample physical activity. While this applies to all of us, it is more crucial for athletes. While a fire in a belly that drive athletes to perform better, is a great trait, some may often get ahead of themselves and it could be a cause for concern. Some athletes may have issues with their body image, and may give into harmful eating habits, that are not good for health, these eating disorders are not good in the long term, and when this happens, seeking help is necessary.
There are three eating disorders that should be paid attention to:
- Anorexia Nervosa: When people restrict the intake of food with or without binge-purge rounds
- Bulimia Nervosa: A Series of Binge and Purge
- EDNOS (Eating Disorders that are otherwise not specified): Could be related to psychological disorders such as anxiety, over compulsive behavior and depression.
Being an athlete is demanding on one’s body. In order to perform repeatedly or sustain performance for a long time and to aid recovery, the body requires energy and other nutrients. And, this is the reason why nutrition counseling is becoming extremely important for all athletes. Carbohydrates and fats are the most essential sources of energy. Protein too is required so that muscle can be built and repaired. Athletes who take on harmful eating practices unknowingly tend to hamper their athletic performance as muscle mass decreases and fatigue sets in more quickly. A diet that is low in calories also makes it difficult for athletes to meet a minimum level of nutrients that is required by the body to stay healthy. Vitamin B-12, Calcium and iron are the most common nutrient deficiencies that are found in food diets that are restricted. Since the body has lack of energy and is low on other essential nutrients as well, the risk of injury is higher.
It is sad and true, that athletes exert a lot of pressure on themselves to perform well every time. Some sports have additional pressure that compels athletes to maintain a certain body image. Runners and gymnasts are more often more likely to develop eating disorders.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of eating disorders vary from one individual to another and it is important that one knows, that restricting food is not the only sign of an eating disorder.
1) Fear of gaining weight
2) Connection between self worth and body shape
3) Weight loss that drops below 85% of weight for age and height, and the person is unable to comprehend the problem that extreme weight loss might cause
4) For women, delay in menstruation cycle for more than three months
5) Binge eating, quickly followed by trips to the bathroom for a purge, which is often self induced by misusing laxatives, vomiting and over exercising
6) Binge eating and purging twice a week for periods longer than three months
There is nothing good that can come from an eating disorder, and athletes should indeed recognize that. It is important that athletes consult with Registered Holistic Nutritionists so that they can help achieve a diet that allows them to maintain an ideal body weight by consuming the right food which contains essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals that their body needs. Proteins and carbohydrates are and absolute must for energy, and athletes tend to avoid these from the fear of weight gain.
Nutrition consultancy is an absolute must for all athletes. In fact homeopathy too can help in this area as it provides great natural remedies that can overcome the mental, physical issues that cause eating disorders.