Girl Coaches & Nutrition
11/04/2018 9:31:47 PM
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I know this is an extremely sensitive subject, but I really worry whenever I see an extremely thin girl running XC. I'm curious what a Coach's take on it is? Do you ask or say something confidentially to the runner? To the parent(s)? Maybe do a team meeting before & during the season about how important healthy eating is? I think we all realize it's an issue, but unsure what (if any) a good solution may be? I should mention I have no idea how to handle, as I have 3 boys....
I know this is an extremely sensitive subject, but I really worry whenever I see an extremely thin girl running XC. I'm curious what a Coach's take on it is? Do you ask or say something confidentially to the runner? To the parent(s)? Maybe do a team meeting before & during the season about how important healthy eating is? I think we all realize it's an issue, but unsure what (if any) a good solution may be?

I should mention I have no idea how to handle, as I have 3 boys....
11/05/2018 7:21:11 AM
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@jdpsu it is a sensitive subject for sure. With my team, I talk to the entire group about nutrition at the beginning of the season. If there are individual issues, I talk to the parent and athlete. I am curious what others say on this topic as well.
@jdpsu it is a sensitive subject for sure. With my team, I talk to the entire group about nutrition at the beginning of the season. If there are individual issues, I talk to the parent and athlete. I am curious what others say on this topic as well.
11/05/2018 7:40:01 AM
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With a few of my girls, I would hear, "I'm not hungry" And with this, we discovered they were drinking so much water during the day, they were decreasing their appetite.
With a few of my girls, I would hear, "I'm not hungry"
And with this, we discovered they were drinking so much water during the day, they were decreasing their appetite.
11/05/2018 7:50:28 AM
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I have always found it interesting when people are concerned about thin girls, but I almost never hear concern about over weight girls or boys. Especially when statistically we have an epidemic of obesity related health issues. And only a small number of underweight health issues, in the non elderly. Ask a thin girl how many comments she gets, on a weekly basis,( you are too thin, you should eat more, etc....). Typically these comments come from non medical professionals. Now ask an over weight person how often someone tells them to drop some pounds or eat less. Their answer would be that they never hear these things. Its just an interesting social bias and interesting that people feel its appropriate to give a thin girl critical advice on weight and diet. If a coach has a concern about any health issue, I would bring it up to the parents and recommend a visit to their family doctor.
I have always found it interesting when people are concerned about thin girls, but I almost never hear concern about over weight girls or boys. Especially when statistically we have an epidemic of obesity related health issues. And only a small number of underweight health issues, in the non elderly.

Ask a thin girl how many comments she gets, on a weekly basis,( you are too thin, you should eat more, etc....). Typically these comments come from non medical professionals.

Now ask an over weight person how often someone tells them to drop some pounds or eat less. Their answer would be that they never hear these things.

Its just an interesting social bias and interesting that people feel its appropriate to give a thin girl critical advice on weight and diet.

If a coach has a concern about any health issue, I would bring it up to the parents and recommend a visit to their family doctor.
11/05/2018 8:11:34 AM
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@JaXterra, There is a very real concern with young female runners becoming too thin and suffering lifetime consequences from it. They are more likely to suffer the "female triad" and it can destroy their running ability and lead to issues like Osteoporosis and horomonal issues. I agree that obesity is an issue, but for female athletes it can be very concerning when one becomes too thin.
@JaXterra, There is a very real concern with young female runners becoming too thin and suffering lifetime consequences from it. They are more likely to suffer the "female triad" and it can destroy their running ability and lead to issues like Osteoporosis and horomonal issues. I agree that obesity is an issue, but for female athletes it can be very concerning when one becomes too thin.
11/05/2018 8:28:37 AM
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Well if you are going to play doctor then ask her if she’s having her menses. Otherwise have her see her family doctor.
Well if you are going to play doctor then ask her if she's having her menses.

Otherwise have her see her family doctor.
11/05/2018 8:29:56 AM
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@JaXterra Social bias? I think you're entire post is so insensitive. You're comparing overweight "people" with cross country runners ? Truth is, and I have had to deal with this, girls especially begin to think the lighter they are the faster they are and fact of the matter is there are a few girls in the top 10 in certain regions that are alarmingly thin. Fact is, it will cause injury to them if they are not careful and if a parent or coach suspects restrictive eating habits then yes, a discussion with the parents is immediate. You tried to compare apples to oranges, that wasn't his question. I would rather have my child a little obese where she or he can lose the weight in a healthy manner then allow my child to restrict calories and have a stroke or heart attack while running. Re-think your comment, pretty ignorant. To the original poster, yes, you need to address it if you have concerns.
@JaXterra Social bias? I think you're entire post is so insensitive. You're comparing overweight "people" with cross country runners ? Truth is, and I have had to deal with this, girls especially begin to think the lighter they are the faster they are and fact of the matter is there are a few girls in the top 10 in certain regions that are alarmingly thin. Fact is, it will cause injury to them if they are not careful and if a parent or coach suspects restrictive eating habits then yes, a discussion with the parents is immediate.

You tried to compare apples to oranges, that wasn't his question. I would rather have my child a little obese where she or he can lose the weight in a healthy manner then allow my child to restrict calories and have a stroke or heart attack while running.

Re-think your comment, pretty ignorant. To the original poster, yes, you need to address it if you have concerns.
11/05/2018 8:36:17 AM
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@JaXterra I don't think anyone is trying to play Doctor here, I think it's called playing a responsible adult coach. I have been around long enough to see many girls that are risking their health and coaches turning their heads. I had a young lady in this position. It takes a team, coach, parents and medical professionals working together to right the ship. Coaches can't stick their heads in the sand. Discuss with parents and set boundaries for the athlete to be able to compete. Our young lady gained the weight we asked, ran on our state winning team and went on to lead a healthy life. She is still runs and is much healthier now. BUT, this happens to young men as well, so pay attention to all your athletes. Summer camp where you eat together for a week is a good time to pay attention.
@JaXterra I don't think anyone is trying to play Doctor here, I think it's called playing a responsible adult coach. I have been around long enough to see many girls that are risking their health and coaches turning their heads. I had a young lady in this position. It takes a team, coach, parents and medical professionals working together to right the ship. Coaches can't stick their heads in the sand. Discuss with parents and set boundaries for the athlete to be able to compete. Our young lady gained the weight we asked, ran on our state winning team and went on to lead a healthy life. She is still runs and is much healthier now. BUT, this happens to young men as well, so pay attention to all your athletes. Summer camp where you eat together for a week is a good time to pay attention.
11/05/2018 10:22:02 AM
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@jdpsu Coaching is so much more than just workouts. A coach has their athlete for about 2 hours a day, so as a coach we must preach what happens during the other 22 hours of the day. Physiologically speaking, the training we design as coaches is to push the body past its homeostatic state. During recovery, the body reaches a homeostatic state, but that new homeostatic state is superior to the previous one. In other words, the body overcompensates in preparation for the next bout. So, it is during recovery in which athletes become stronger or "fitter." So as coaches, we must emphasize the importance of Nutrition and Sleep so that the body has the necessary nutrients and time to not only rebuild what is broken, but to build it stronger. We as coaches need to teach athletes about Nutrition. Not only what to eat, but when to eat it as there is much research on not only nutrition, but nutrient timing regarding athletes. Hydration falls under nutrition too because the body can not store carbohydrates as glycogen without water. In teaching athletes about Nutrition, I place topics about nutrition and Performance Enhancing Drugs into a bag/hat at the beginning of the season. Those topics are: Carbohydrates, protein, fats, hydration, vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, red blood cells, white blood cells, EPO, testosterone, blood doping, recovery, etc. Anything you can think of...I have each athlete reach into the bag/hat and pick out a topic. Each athlete will end up with 2 topics. Their assignment is to research anything they can find on the topic, specifically looking for where that nutrient can be found (in foods) and how it is used in the body. Then, 2 days out of the week, I have 4 topics presented to the team, just before practice begins. It is very informal. If they leave anything out, then I add to it. I have athletes fill out weekly nutrition logs and analyze them looking for missing nutrients. I then SUGGEST they should eat more "whatever." As coaches, it is against Florida law to prescribe anything to athletes regarding food or tell them what to eat as we are not credentialed/licensed (that's what a Registered Dietitian does). Nutrition is talked/thought about everyday due to the presentations and logs, not just one time at the beginning of the season. It is just as important as running on a daily basis. So, I educate the athletes about the importance of Nutrition & Recovery for athletes. I talk about Nutrition with the parents because many athletes are forced to eat what their parents purchase/cook (especially the younger ones). If I suspect an eating disorder, then I speak to the parents about my thoughts. It is a very sensitive issue and you must be tactful and empathetic. You should have some type of plan for the parents. Contact a Registered Dietitian and ask if they would be willing to provide support and then hand the parents the R.D.'s contact info. If you do not know an R.D., then refer the parents to their doctor. The doctor will surely have proper contacts. Eating disorders are very much a psychological issue, so we as coaches are not trained or certified to treat that type of issue. All we can do is plant the seed of knowledge in the kids and parents, support them, refer them and allow the professionals (Doctors, Psychologists and Registered Dietitians) to handle the true underlying problem of a kid who is malnourished (obese/anorexic).
@jdpsu
Coaching is so much more than just workouts. A coach has their athlete for about 2 hours a day, so as a coach we must preach what happens during the other 22 hours of the day. Physiologically speaking, the training we design as coaches is to push the body past its homeostatic state. During recovery, the body reaches a homeostatic state, but that new homeostatic state is superior to the previous one. In other words, the body overcompensates in preparation for the next bout. So, it is during recovery in which athletes become stronger or "fitter."

So as coaches, we must emphasize the importance of Nutrition and Sleep so that the body has the necessary nutrients and time to not only rebuild what is broken, but to build it stronger.

We as coaches need to teach athletes about Nutrition. Not only what to eat, but when to eat it as there is much research on not only nutrition, but nutrient timing regarding athletes. Hydration falls under nutrition too because the body can not store carbohydrates as glycogen without water.

In teaching athletes about Nutrition, I place topics about nutrition and Performance Enhancing Drugs into a bag/hat at the beginning of the season. Those topics are: Carbohydrates, protein, fats, hydration, vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, red blood cells, white blood cells, EPO, testosterone, blood doping, recovery, etc. Anything you can think of...I have each athlete reach into the bag/hat and pick out a topic. Each athlete will end up with 2 topics. Their assignment is to research anything they can find on the topic, specifically looking for where that nutrient can be found (in foods) and how it is used in the body. Then, 2 days out of the week, I have 4 topics presented to the team, just before practice begins. It is very informal. If they leave anything out, then I add to it.

I have athletes fill out weekly nutrition logs and analyze them looking for missing nutrients. I then SUGGEST they should eat more "whatever." As coaches, it is against Florida law to prescribe anything to athletes regarding food or tell them what to eat as we are not credentialed/licensed (that's what a Registered Dietitian does). Nutrition is talked/thought about everyday due to the presentations and logs, not just one time at the beginning of the season. It is just as important as running on a daily basis.

So, I educate the athletes about the importance of Nutrition & Recovery for athletes.
I talk about Nutrition with the parents because many athletes are forced to eat what their parents purchase/cook (especially the younger ones).

If I suspect an eating disorder, then I speak to the parents about my thoughts. It is a very sensitive issue and you must be tactful and empathetic. You should have some type of plan for the parents. Contact a Registered Dietitian and ask if they would be willing to provide support and then hand the parents the R.D.'s contact info. If you do not know an R.D., then refer the parents to their doctor. The doctor will surely have proper contacts.

Eating disorders are very much a psychological issue, so we as coaches are not trained or certified to treat that type of issue. All we can do is plant the seed of knowledge in the kids and parents, support them, refer them and allow the professionals (Doctors, Psychologists and Registered Dietitians) to handle the true underlying problem of a kid who is malnourished (obese/anorexic).
11/05/2018 12:04:56 PM
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@CoachGoingRogue Yes a bias! Ask a very thin girl how often she hears comments on her weight and eating habits. These thin girls recieve almost daily comments. People for whatever reason, deem it appropriate to comment. Ask them.... As a medical professional myself, the answer is, talk to her parents and suggest she see a medical professional if a high suspicion of malnourishment or anorexia. “ Mr and Mrs X, I have a concern about your childs weight, perhaps you may consider discussing further with your childs doctor” And again, I find it interesting(not suggesting good or bad) that a childs weight is only a concern if they are thin. I would assume almost never is a parent or child approached about weighing too much. As far as runner having a stroke from being too thin, I have not seen this happen. I have seen heart arrythmias from electrolyte imbalance due to anorexia though. Again, refer to family doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
@CoachGoingRogue
Yes a bias!
Ask a very thin girl how often she hears comments on her weight and eating habits.
These thin girls recieve almost daily comments. People for whatever reason, deem it appropriate to comment. Ask them....

As a medical professional myself, the answer is, talk to her parents and suggest she see a medical professional if a high suspicion of malnourishment or anorexia.

" Mr and Mrs X, I have a concern about your childs weight, perhaps you may consider discussing further with your childs doctor"

And again, I find it interesting(not suggesting good or bad) that a childs weight is only a concern if they are thin. I would assume almost never is a parent or child approached about weighing too much.

As far as runner having a stroke from being too thin, I have not seen this happen. I have seen heart arrythmias from electrolyte imbalance due to anorexia though.

Again, refer to family doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
11/05/2018 12:12:15 PM
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@JaXterra I think your barking up the wrong tree here. In my 19 years coaching I have had maybe two runners that I would say were maybe 10% over weight. I would venture to say most if not all coaches on here would agree. We don't have athletes that are over weight. If we do, it is few and far between and after a season or two, they usually drop those pounds. You might want to post on the football website about kids being over weight. We all agree it is far more common in today's society. Just not in the xc world.
@JaXterra I think your barking up the wrong tree here. In my 19 years coaching I have had maybe two runners that I would say were maybe 10% over weight. I would venture to say most if not all coaches on here would agree. We don't have athletes that are over weight. If we do, it is few and far between and after a season or two, they usually drop those pounds. You might want to post on the football website about kids being over weight. We all agree it is far more common in today's society. Just not in the xc world.
11/05/2018 12:40:39 PM
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@coachbutler In the context of XC, I am sure you are accurate. I am commenting on generalities of the population. And yes, sure of course girls suffer from eating disorders and the female triad. But the coaches job is only to bring it up to the parents. I am just pointing out in my 12 years of practicing medicine, I find it fascinating that people see a thin girl and think “aghast a thin girl, something must be wrong”, when this same person may encounter 100 obese kids per week(classroom or athletic arena) and not blink an eye. I find thin girl bias and concern sociologically interesting, Especially when compared to the obesity epidemic. I am not suggesting anyone is incorrect.
@coachbutler
In the context of XC, I am sure you are accurate.
I am commenting on generalities of the population.
And yes, sure of course girls suffer from eating disorders and the female triad.
But the coaches job is only to bring it up to the parents.
I am just pointing out in my 12 years of practicing medicine, I find it fascinating that people see a thin girl and think "aghast a thin girl, something must be wrong", when this same person may encounter 100 obese kids per week(classroom or athletic arena) and not blink an eye.
I find thin girl bias and concern sociologically interesting, Especially when compared to the obesity epidemic.

I am not suggesting anyone is incorrect.
11/05/2018 12:46:57 PM
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@JaXterra But you are asking a population of people who are conditioned to be watching for kids with eating disorders.
@JaXterra But you are asking a population of people who are conditioned to be watching for kids with eating disorders.
11/05/2018 12:51:31 PM
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@JaXterra But as I said, your posting on a running forum, not many over weight kids in our sport or on the site.
@JaXterra But as I said, your posting on a running forum, not many over weight kids in our sport or on the site.
11/05/2018 1:56:14 PM
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@jlafollette And I am noticing girls that have become thinner over time. That throws off alarm bells in my mind.
@jlafollette And I am noticing girls that have become thinner over time. That throws off alarm bells in my mind.
11/05/2018 2:58:45 PM
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JaXterra The bias is contextual. The coaches posted here (including me) are not posting as health educators per say but addressing a relevant concern within the sport. Eating disordered behaviors in this context are a disproportional concern relative to obesity. That does not mean we are not concerned with obesity in the general population. That fact that eating disordered behaviors were accurately labeled as "sensitive" by the first 2 posters gives logical clarification to why in actuality they get little attention. (not seeing this topic at the FACA conference). Concerning but also logical. Jdpsu... The sport is the perfect culture for the development of the spectrum of eating discovered behaviors. The perfect place to develop an obsession with a "product oriented perfectionism" that can be numerically defined. Rankings and girls participating in high school sports in 6-8th grade may further facilitate their development. That may be why you are seeing a shift. multijumps ... agreement ...As coaches... the seeds we plant in our daily philosophy of engaging athletes... sets the athletes course. setting the definitions for what the sport is...preempts the forces of the sport defining the athlete. process over product . lightness of mind... not body.
JaXterra

The bias is contextual. The coaches posted here (including me) are not posting as health educators per say but addressing a relevant concern within the sport.
Eating disordered behaviors in this context are a disproportional concern relative to obesity. That does not mean we are not concerned with obesity in the general population. That fact that eating disordered behaviors were accurately labeled as "sensitive" by the first 2 posters gives logical clarification to why in actuality they get little attention. (not seeing this topic at the FACA conference). Concerning but also logical.

Jdpsu... The sport is the perfect culture for the development of the spectrum of eating discovered behaviors. The perfect place to develop an obsession with a "product oriented perfectionism" that can be numerically defined.
Rankings and girls participating in high school sports in 6-8th grade may further facilitate their development. That may be why you are seeing a shift.

multijumps ... agreement ...As coaches... the seeds we plant in our daily philosophy of engaging athletes... sets the athletes course. setting the definitions for what the sport is...preempts the forces of the sport defining the athlete.

process over product . lightness of mind... not body.
11/05/2018 3:19:06 PM
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@JaXterra the coaches job may not be treatment, but preempting the chances of development in a statistically significant way. i think there are many coaches who thinks that in that role ...a coach can be successful.
@JaXterra

the coaches job may not be treatment, but preempting the chances of development in a statistically significant way. i think there are many coaches who thinks that in that role ...a coach can be successful.
11/05/2018 4:13:10 PM
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Can I just say, all "trolling" aside, this is by far the most educated rational discussion I've read on here. Very intelligent responses for a serious topic. Thank you.
Can I just say, all "trolling" aside, this is by far the most educated rational discussion I've read on here. Very intelligent responses for a serious topic.

Thank you.
11/05/2018 9:09:03 PM
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This is a topic that cries out for addressing at a FACA Clinic. As a coach of multiple athletes whose eating disorders ultimately threatened their existence, I posit that a clinic presentation by somebody who has been in the trenches and has scientific credentials could literally be a lifesaver. From my own experience...NEVER assume the problem will just go away. Suck it up and do the hard work of confronting it. We're talking life and death here.
This is a topic that cries out for addressing at a FACA Clinic. As a coach of multiple athletes whose eating disorders ultimately threatened their existence, I posit that a clinic presentation by somebody who has been in the trenches and has scientific credentials could literally be a lifesaver.

From my own experience...NEVER assume the problem will just go away. Suck it up and do the hard work of confronting it. We're talking life and death here.
11/05/2018 9:27:42 PM
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Here is the website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This website has tons of information backed by scientific research. Top right corner of the website has a button "Find an expert" [url=https://www.eatright.org/]https://www.eatright.org/[/url] This is another website with tons of scientific research regarding sport Nutrition [url=https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/]https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/[/url]
Here is the website for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This website has tons of information backed by scientific research. Top right corner of the website has a button "Find an expert"

https://www.eatright.org/

This is another website with tons of scientific research regarding sport Nutrition

https://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/

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