Oct. 24, 2022

Ep.11 Explore Your Relationship with Food

If you are at a point in life where it feels like you are in a never-ending battle navigating your relationship with food, then this episode is for you! Exploring Your Relationship with Food is the real talk about the importance for athletes to manage th...


If you are at a point in life where it feels like you are in a never-ending battle navigating your relationship with food, then this episode is for you! Exploring Your Relationship with Food is the real talk about the importance for athletes to manage their nutrition to fuel their performance. Rey shares her real-life experiences on her struggles and strategies to manage her relationship with food. She also shares key facts about the increasing troubles high performing athletes are facing with disordered eating. Finally, Rey wraps up the episode with 3 actionable steps for you to further uncover your relationship with food:

  1. Fuel your body for performance 
  2. Acknowledge your eating habits
  3. Seek support form a professional to guide you

Hold the Mic: Canadian Sport Institute - Sport Nutrition

Sources:

[1] Why do Athletes Struggle with Eating Disorders? | Magnolia Creek

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Transcript

Ep. 11 Explore Your Relationship with Food


[00:00:16] Intro


Hey guys! Welcome back to Growth on the Daily, the personal development podcast for athletes. My name is Rey and I'm your host. I'm a former competitive hockey player and I'm passionate about self-growth, so I'm here to support you on your journey to becoming the best version of you. 


For those of you who are new to the show, thank you so much for tuning in. Follow us on Instagram @Growthonthedaily to stay up to date with the show. For those of you who are back at it again for another episode, thank you so much for your continuous support. The show wouldn't be here without you. Alright, let's dive it into today's episode.


As you can see from the title, we're talking about exploring your relationship with food. In terms of Specialties for Success, we're really focused on the physical category here, which talks about taking care of your body. As you can imagine athletes, food, extremely important when you're talking about performing optimally in your sport.


So I'm going to help you guys today with exploring that relationship. So if you are in a point in life where it feels like you are in a never-ending battle navigating your relationship with food, then this episode is for you. Alright, let's hear from the experts. 


[00:01:20] No Cap All Facts


Athletes and food. What's the relationship? Ultimately, that's what I wanted to figure out in my research this week. I've concluded that there's ultimately a battle between eating to perform and eating to appear as if you were optimal to perform. I took a look at some data provided by Magnolia Creek who explored why athletes tend to struggle with eating disorders, and this is what I discovered.


Magnolia Creek mentioned that eating disorders affect all populations, but athletes are uniquely susceptible due to performance anxiety and pressures, high levels of competition and sports that are more weight-sensitive. Certain sports are especially at risk. Those sports include things like cross country and track running, wrestling, gymnastics, figure skating, swimming and ballet. But honestly, the list was endless. 


The question really is though, why are athletes so at risk and Magnolia Creek sum this up perfectly in three points for you guys, and the first is understanding the fact that athletes weighing more than what's considered the "optimal" weight, they're at risk of performing less effectively. So that's one thing that's in their minds. 


The second thing that's in their minds is that athletes weighing above some sort of upper limit, if they have a weight class for a sport such as wrestling, they're at risk of not even being able to compete at all. So that's a second thing in their head. 


And finally, athletes who compete in aesthetically judged sports tend to receive tremendous. And attention on their body composition and weight. So of course another thing in their head that's ultimately leading to increased performance, anxiety and pressure, and thus influencing the relationship that they have with food, and thus their eating habits.


So ultimately we can see that there is a lot of pressure on athletes to perform, and that's affecting their relationship with food. So what does that mean for you as an athlete individually? Well today, I want to explore your relationship with food. I want to help you in three steps, figure out how you eat, why you eat, and the best way for you to fuel your body to perform at the optimal level. So let's hear my take.


[00:03:31] Rey's Remedy 


The first step in exploring your relationship with food is be honest with yourself about how you eat and how you feel about the way you eat. So what does that mean? Take a look at how you eat. What did you eat today? What did you eat this week? And how'd you feel about it? You know, did you feel like crap at the end of the day?


Did you feel good? Like it was fuelling your body? You performed well in practices and training in games and tournaments, whatever your performance stage looks like. How did you feel about it? And the reason I ask you is because I want to share with you guys a story, and this is a personal story of mine and I'm sure many of you can relate. And if you can, send us a DM @Growthonthedaily on Instagram, would love to connect further on this. 


The story starts like this. I was at the tender age of 18 in my final season of hockey, finishing up at a high performing level. To then go start my university journey doing absolutely nothing. And the reason I mention this as something that's critical for you guys to hear is because, you often hear the term Freshman 15, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it means, first years in university tend to gain around 15 pounds because they eat a lot of crap essentially, and party a ton.


For me, it was less so that fact, but it was more of the fact that no one kind of tells you once you go from high performing athlete to regular person, you got to adjust your eating. And that's a very hard thing to do, especially when you don't know what you're doing. And unfortunately, like myself, you can develop very poor habits and a poor relationship with food.
And ultimately, that'll be detrimental to your physical and your mental health. So the reason I'm mentioning this is because I want to stress how important it is to understand how you eat and how you feel about the way you eat. So for me, in that first-year university, not competing, eating, who knows what. I didn't feel good about that. It didn't make me feel good and it wasn't optimal for me as a student, as an individual, and as someone focused on healthy active living. So if you're going through something like that or you can really relate to that sentiment, then keep on listening because I got more for you guys.


So the second step in exploring your relationship with food is determine why you eat the way you do. Where does this stem from? So for me, I'll take you through a couple stages that I've been through, and honestly, it's on a cyclical, ongoing basis. It's a lack of knowledge, so not recognizing the types of foods that you should be eating, the quantity of foods, portion sizes, how they should be prepared. All of those things that come from knowledge on nutrition and sports nutrition. 


The second is an overwhelm, so just being too overwhelmed in nutrition. Not even want to give it a second of thought because it's just absolutely too much. You're just eating whatever makes your stomach happy. The third is a lack of care, and it's ultimately you know what? I performed, I did this and this today. I deserve this. I'm just going to eat that. And the fourth is obsession, obsessive about every single nutrient, calorie, macro, whatever you want to name it. Those were four separate reasons of four different stages in my life, in my nutrition journey is what I call it.


And as I was able to identify each of those "whys" as to what powered my eating habits, I was able to then overcome them or challenge them and seek that change. So I don't know what your "whys" are. Maybe they're what I mentioned. Maybe they're something different. But it's important to understand why you eat the way you do, because you can't really get to that optimal level if you can't identify where you are yet.


Now the final step, I kind of hinted to it already. It's seeking change. It's trying something new. So maybe that's adopting some sort of healthy habit in your nutrition. For example, swapping out one of your desserts for a bowl fruit, drinking more water, adding another serving of vegetables, whatever it is, and adopting that over time after you've analyzed how you've eaten, how you feel you've been eating. 


But another step to that, and this is highly related to disordered eating, it's asking for help. That help comes in many ways. You can look at registered dieticians. One thing I would flag there is make sure as high performing athletes, that you're really looking at sports nutritionists. So make sure they're registered dieticians, but they actually understand sports nutrition. You might even have that resource through your teams, through your schools, through your coaches. So make sure you utilize those resources. There's also several apps that you can use, there's several influencers and people that talk about nutrition.


The only thing that I ask, and I don't ask much of you guys, but I'm going to ask one thing, is that whoever you're seeking that help from, make sure they are a credible resource. So if they're providing medical information, they're someone with the qualifications to provide medical information.


So those are the three steps in exploring your relationship with food. It's understanding how you eat, how you feel about the way you eat, and why you eat the way you do. And then it's seeking some sort of change.So I invite you to go on that journey. Maybe that's opening a journal, going on your phone, typing on your laptop, and just really taking a step back and reflecting on your eating habits. Alright guys, we're gonna a quick break because I know you've heard enough from me. Time for a quick shout out. 


[00:09:00] Hold the Mic

I want to introduce you guys to the Canadian Sport Institute. For those of you who haven't heard of them, they're an entity that takes a look at from a national level, various sports and athletic resources. They do have a sport nutrition program and segment, which is what I want to share with you guys today.

So to provide some context, the sport nutrition team at the Canadian Sport Institute helps athletes and coaches recognize the critical importance of fueling the body to maximize performance. So they're composed of registered dieticians and experts. They support athletes to make ideal nutritional decisions as well as develop individualized sports, specific nutritional plans to better their performance, both in training and competitive environments.

So if you are a team or you have a program and you are looking to utilize some sort of resource to help implement that on your team or for yourself individually, that is a great resource for you guys to take a look at. I'll link it in the show notes for you for later. 
Alright guys, it's time to wrap up this episode.


[00:09:57] Meaningful Mentions


In this week's Meaningful Mentions, I have three key takeaways and actionable steps for you. The first is understanding that you need to fuel your body for performance. Your nutrition versus an average individual looks completely different because you are a high performing athlete, so you need that knowledge on how to fuel your body for performance. And that comes from either leveraging resources online, maybe you have coaches, maybe you have a registered dietician, whatever that looks like you need to understand what your body needs to perform at the optimal level. 


The second is acknowledging your eating habits. So that's looking at your past, but it's also looking at your present. And so what are you doing right now, and where can you improve, and how do you actually feel about everything that's going on in this process? That's important because there's a psychological aspect of your relationship with food that's directly tied and correlated, so you have to acknowledge that, that that relationship exists to set yourself up for success on this nutritional journey. 


And the third thing is seek support from a professional to guide you. If that's what you need, that's what you need, get help, great. But make sure you're getting help from the right people, those who are qualified to provide you medical advice. So registered dieticians versus nutritionist. A nutritionist is not the same thing as a registered dieticians. Registered dieticians went to school and have the qualifications to provide you with medical advice in terms of your nutrition. Nutritionists do not. So, make sure you understand the difference there. And on an added layer, make sure they're qualified to provide sports performance related nutrition so you're getting the right advice for you.


[00:11:40] Quality Quote


Alright guys, to further motivate you guys this week, I have a great quote tying in nutrition into your entire athletic performance journey. It reads like this "exercise is king, nutrition is queen, put them together and you've got a kingdom". I love this quote guys, because it really emphasizes the importance of nutrition equally weighted to exercise, and that's what I think is so important to realize. Exercise alone isn't going to get you there. Nutrition alone isn't going to get you there. You need both. Build that kingdom guys!


[00:12:10] Outro 


Alright guys that's all I have for you this week. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode and committing to Learn, Grow, and Thrive. Follow us on Instagram @Growthonthedaily to stay up to date with the show and check out growthonthedaily.com for more info.
Thanks guys, and see you next week!