Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Parent to Parent: Athletes & Eating Disorders
Young athletes are under a lot of pressure to be the best at their sport. Experts say that can put them at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder. 7's Lynn Martinez has one young woman's battle in tonight's Parent to Parent.
Kelsey Hensel: "I started playing softball really competitively at a young age."
The better she got, the more pressure she put on herself.
Kelsey Hensel: "Always wanting to be better and always knowing that it wasn't ever good enough."
By 7th grade, she developed an eating disorder.
Kelsey Hensel: "It started out as bulimia where I could eat whatever I wanted and get rid of it and have that release."
Kelsey says it was her way of coping with stress.
Kelsey Hensel: "It's how I dealt with things, it was my little escape."
Experts at the Renfrew Center, a treatment center for women with eating disorders say young athletes may be at a higher risk.
Ryann Smith: "Athletes tend to have certain characteristics, they are perfectionistic, they're disciplined, they're dedicated and focused and competitive."
Signs parents should watch out for include excessive training are exercising even when injured, being overly focused on food or weight, and changes in eating behavior.
Ryann Smith: "Maybe skipping meals, maybe avoiding family meals."
Kelsey went to college on a softball scholarship, but all she obsessed about was her eating disorder.
Kelsey Hensel: "24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it was all I thought about."
Until she couldn't keep her secret any longer.
Kelsey Hensel: "Almost like a dual life."
She took the first step to recovery at the Renfrew Center.
Ryann Smith: "Each treatment is very specific to the individual. Focus on taste, texture and just the experience overall."
Ryann teaches Kelsey about mindful eating, learning how to have a healthy relationship with food.
Ryann Smith: "Being able to enjoy it that's the goal, and not judging yourself for eating a cookie."
Now Kelsey feels better than ever. She's coaching softball and doesn't obsess over food anymore. She says if she can overcome her eating disorder, anyone can.
Kelsey Hensel: "My head is clear, I have dreams, I have goals, I can focus my life on other things other than my eating disorder."
Ryann says a low body weight can lead to stress fractures and bone breaks. So make sure your young athlete knows about proper nutrition
FOR MORE INFORMATION: