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Crossing the Line from Athletic to Obsessive Exercise

By June 6, 2012

I’m going to be 27yrs old shortly and am a long distance biker during the summer and fall months. I usually bike about 75miles per week. I’ve always had concerns about eating and maintaining a healthy body, but at times I go overboard and don’t consume enough calories. I know that I struggle with a “fear of food” and have been borderline anorexic during and after college (about three years ago). At this time, during the past month I’ve begun to struggle with eating again and have lost weight. I’m not sure what to do. Possibly talking to a nutritionist would be helpful. I would appreciate any advice that you have – thanks.   P.S. I have been seeing a counselor and we have discussed eating and body image briefly. I think that talking w/ someone who has more experience in this area would be beneficial.

Catherine,
Your concern for your body is evident in your questions. Dedicated athletes are at risk of crossing lines into disordered eating thinking and behavior. For you, I recommend the book “The Athletic Woman’s Survival Guide” by Carol Otis and Roger Goldingay. This guide addresses ways to avoid crossing the line from athletic to obsessive. It describes the dangers of too little food and too much movement.

You are also wise to consider consulting a qualified nutritionist. Be sure she/he has specialized training in preventing eating disorders. And yes, you could really learn a lot about healthy body image by consulting a therapist trained in this area!! There are also some great books on this topic, such as “Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks & Ourselves” by Rita Freedman, Ph.D.

Congratulations on your care of your body! Isn’t it amazing? We strongly support you in adding new tools to your regime.

Warmly,
Carla