What Coaches Can Do to Prevent Eating Disorders (Q&A with Paula Quatromoni, Part 3)

This is Part 3 of the Q&A with leading specialist in eating disorders and sports, Paula Quatromoni. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Q: What can coaches do to build a healthy culture and prevent eating disorders?

A: First, I’d recommend education. There is a lot that coaches can do to educate themselves and increase awareness on the topic of eating disorders in sport. They can turn to Walden GOALS materials, our resource guideRunning in Silence and Running in Silence blog posts, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, and credible websites like NEDA, etc. They can also attend lectures, events, and coaching conferences to engage in continuing education on the topic. Armed with this information, coaches can address concerns that they see on their teams in a one-on-one conversation and a referral to the AT like we were talking about in that last Q&A.

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For Coaches, Approaching an Athlete with an Eating Disorder (Q&A with Paula Quatromoni Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a Q&A with leading specialist in eating disorders and sports, Paula Quatromoni. Read Part 1 here.

Q: How do you recommend approaching an athlete you think might have an eating disorder?

A: Set up a private meeting with the athlete to discuss your concerns. Never, ever, ever do this in public and do not do it without some purposeful thought and advance preparation. In other words, do not have this conversation off the cuff or in the heat of a moment when you are having any kind of emotionally charged interaction with the athlete, like after a bad sport performance or when they suffer an injury.

It is important that you know the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder and that you have objective data and personal observations that align with those warning signs. Do not act on hearsay or second-hand information that could be false or inaccurate. Make notes about your observations and your concerns so that you can stay focused on the facts when you have this conversation.

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For Coaches, How to Help Athletes with Eating Disorders (Q&A with Paula Quatromoni Part 1)

Ever since meeting Paula Quatromoni at the Eating Disorders in Sport Conference last August, we have been in constant communication. Paula even had me come speak at Boston University to talk about my eating disorder experience, recovery process, and the book Running in Silence, which she endorses as a great resource for athletes and coaches, along with the information she provides below (including a downloadable PDF guide).

Paula has been especially helpful for me since I am not an expert/professional in the area of treating eating disorders. So as one of the leading experts in this field, it is a privilege and an honor to have Paula answer a few questions to help coaches better work with athletes who may have eating/weight struggles. Stay tuned for another Q&A with Paula in the near future!

Q: What can coaches/parents/sports programs do if an athlete is resistant to going to an eating disorder therapist or dietitian, but very clearly struggling with an eating disorder?

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Interview with National Champ Erin Herrmann: Speaking Up About Eating Disorders

I had the privilege of interviewing National Champion for the 3000m Steeplechase from Hope College Erin Herrmann, who came out about her eating disorder in May. She shares her story & advice for others who may be struggling in the video interview below! Biggest tip? TALK ABOUT IT.

Will be posting more YouTube videos SOON, so be sure to subscribe!

“Trust in the love of the people you are surrounded by. They will help you see what you need to see in yourself.”

Order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.

The Chin-Up Podcast: Eating Disorders in Running

I first connected with Amber Sayer (author, exercise psychologist, and certified personal trainer) years ago when I read her memoir PR: A Personal Record of Running From Anorexia. It was one of the first eating disorder running memoirs I had read so I appreciated that it was a new angle, and that I could relate so much. I recommend you check it out, along with Amber’s blog at ProcessingProblems.com.

Recently Amber invited me onto her new podcast, The Chin-Up Podcast, where we talked about eating disorders in runners, recovery, writing, and approaches for coaches for athletes with eating disorders. Check out the link below (photo) for this podcast along with the others she will post in the future!

Order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.

Why Don’t You Lose 5 Pounds: Eating Disorder and Sports Documentary

In a recent trip to St. Louis, MO for the Eating Disorders in Sports Conference through McCallum’s Place Victory Program, I was able to talk with and be interviewed by Chris Blunk, producer of the upcoming documentary Why Don’t You Lose 5 Pounds? And after a few days at the conference connecting with eating disorder therapists, dietitians, and athletic trainers focused on eating disorders in athletes/sports, I was even more excited for what Chris (and Nancy Kerrigan, Executive Producer!) have in store for us with this documentary. Chris Blunk has more background on the documentary below, but be sure to also follow the Why Don’t You Lose 5 Pounds website and social media pages for updates!

How long have you been in film?

I started making films my senior year of high school and went to the University of Kansas for a film degree. I graduated in 2004 and started working professional in film right after that.

What inspired you to start making a documentary for eating disorders in sports?

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Video: How Dad Responded to My Eating Disorder

For Mother’s Day I shared videos from my YouTube channel about how my mom responded to my eating disorder, and I figured it was good timing to interview my dad for this past Father’s Day. Both of my parents offer different, but very important perspectives of their understanding of eating disorders. I was also blessed to have parents who were willing to support me through it despite their confusion from the onset.

My dad, as you’ll notice in the videos below, has been a great source of laughter and joy through my difficulties. I am so thankful he was brave enough to do this with me, and he not only makes our conversations on the subject interesting, he makes them entertaining! You can read from a previous conversation we had years ago in The Difficulty in Understanding as well.

Order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.

Eating Disorder Recovery with my Mom: A Video Interview

From the first few chapters of Running in Silence my mom doesn’t suspect anything is wrong as I embark on a raw food diet. She doesn’t question my intense obsession with food and running fast, mostly because I kept the worst of the obsession to myself. I didn’t open up. I wasn’t myself, and HADN’T been for her and my dad for my whole life.

And then you get to the chapter where I come out about my binge eating disorder, but we both don’t know what monster we are dealing with. We are BOTH confused and lost, and she gives the typical answers to “cure” what I’m dealing with by telling me I can just eat less to lose weight again–a “normal” response from someone who doesn’t understand and just wants to help.

What my mom did right in that critical moment when I asked for help? She offered to get me the proper, professional help elsewhere. My mom brought me to an eating disorder support group to see a therapist and dietitian. My mom took on the role of eating disorder researcher, attended the parent support group meetings, and listened to me talk for hours on end about my fears, doubts, and why my brain was thinking the way it did.

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