Today I’m so thankful for the chance to write about something near and dear to my heart. It involves health, food & exercise… but it’s not the story most people are used to hearing.
NPR posted this amazing piece about the challenges young, female athletes face with nutrition. This is a topic I’m very familiar with, because it’s a big part of my story.
Nutrition is SO important at any stage in life, whether you’re losing weight, trying to get more energy or putting on muscle. Yet, young female athletes are frequently not getting enough food and nutrients to keep them healthy.
This can be a girl who eats regular meals. A girl who eats more food than the average person.
Yet, she isn’t eating the right food. And because people focus on being a healthy weight, instead of focusing on being a healthy person as a whole, no one teaches her what to eat or how to care for her body.
For me, physical activity combined with a high metabolism posed a huge challenge. I love soccer, tennis, running, yoga, track, flag football, ultimate frisbee… most sports it seems! Yet I was always tired, and could never keep on weight.
I was lucky enough to have parents and a doctor who knew a bit about the situation and encouraged me to eat more. Unfortunately, not enough information was shared about the type of food to eat, and I found meal planning extremely difficult.
The thing that was the most frustrating is how small of an issue people saw it to be. I frequently heard that I was just lucky to be skinny.
Yet, this is a form of malnutrition! It leads to low energy, missed menstrual cycles & low bone density. It’s extremely difficult to find the right diet, the right workout routine, and a way to keep yourself healthy.
I’m so happy to see some media attention on this topic, and I hope people take it seriously. A bit thanks to Patti Neighmond for putting the story out there!