While I never moved post high school varsity sports, I spent my entire childhood trying to be the best I could be. The drive turned into fear, disappointment, and frustration leading to mental health concerns and finally a serious eating disorder lasting countless years. I've helped athletes from high school and college to Olympic level. I can help you.
Athletes are expected to be exceptional and highly competitive individuals. Following rigid programs with meals and exercise are the expectation. But what happens when performance falls off? The International Olympic Committee developed a diagnosis that helps providers and athletes normalize this experience and seek help. It's called Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports, or RED-S. Working with a team that understands the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors among competitive athletes is essential. But as is becoming more acknowledged, the issue is not always about nutrition and training. The issue is often deeper and completely related to mental health. As Michael Phelps advocates, "It's okay to not be okay." Talking to someone who only wants the best for you and can truly listen is vital, and might even lead to better results in the end. The drive to be great sometimes can be too great. That's often where the work lies.
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