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PeteFromLeeds
post Mar 15 2021, 08:45 PM
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(May-or-may-not start a mini-series on this sort of thing based on how popular this one is)

I've been reading the ProCycling magazine since the start of this year, and it's struck me how often the issue of eating disorders in the peloton pops up. Obviously your diet and overall weight in the sport of cycling is incredibly important given how much time is dedicated to 'marginal gains' and of course the less you weigh the better that gain which can be really harmful for cyclists (and of course impact their performance). The article that really struck me was that of Janez Brajkovic who made his struggle with bulimia public last year, and mentioned he could be throwing up three to four times a day which is really scary. Obviously it's a really fine balance in a sport where riders' diets are controlled to the extreme but more definitely can be done.

I'd be interested to hear whether people are aware of this in other sports, or whether indeed you've come across this whilst playing sport yourself? Discuss away.
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Mack.
post Mar 15 2021, 09:46 PM
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I'm aware of this in horse racing, Frankie Dettori admitted having to take laxatives to keep his weight down. In horse racing, jockeys can struggle sometimes with having to get to 9st on the flat for their ride.
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Riser
post Mar 16 2021, 01:02 AM
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I've been meaning to watch the Freddie Flintoff documentary about his experience with bulimia. I'm not too familiar beyond that but would be interested to hear about other examples.
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PeteFromLeeds
post Mar 16 2021, 06:51 PM
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I must've missed hearing about that Flintoff documentary, will definitely need to give that a watch at some point.

Hadn't thought of horse racing being a big one for eating disorders either but it does make sense now you've mentioned it Mack. Needless to say *anyone* can develop an eating disorder regardless of whether they're taking part in a sport where weight is scrutinised.
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Mack.
post Mar 16 2021, 10:53 PM
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QUOTE(PeteFromLeeds @ Mar 16 2021, 07:51 PM) *
I must've missed hearing about that Flintoff documentary, will definitely need to give that a watch at some point.

Hadn't thought of horse racing being a big one for eating disorders either but it does make sense now you've mentioned it Mack. Needless to say *anyone* can develop an eating disorder regardless of whether they're taking part in a sport where weight is scrutinised.

I recommend the Flintoff documentary, it was very well done.

Very poignant.
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Riser
post Mar 17 2021, 02:41 AM
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I actually ended up watching the documentary right after I posted that laugh.gif It was very good and eye-opening!

I should say I related to some of it, while I never developed an eating disorder as a student-athlete (or anytime), I did have some of the thoughts/behaviors associated with it, and it's scary to think what could've happened if I thought I could get away with it. I'm sure it's more prevalent than we could imagine, whether it's media-driven such as Flintoff or the pressure to perform in horse racing/cycling, it's really unfortunate.
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Mack.
post Mar 17 2021, 11:36 AM
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There was an Panorama documentary last October regarding eating disorders in UK Sport hosted by Colin Jackson.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54592664
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Quarantilas
post Mar 17 2021, 01:17 PM
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I personally havenít had Sport cause a disordered eating pattern or know someone who has admitted to struggling with it but there is no doubt that in a lot of elite sports there is a huge amount of pressure. My sister for one was told near daily for years that she was Ątoo fatď (she was a perfectly healthy weight) when she was at the pinnacle of her athletics career. Even where the athletes donít develop an eating disorder it still leaves a lasting psychological scar

While there is a lot of good that comes from sports I think more needs to be put into the pressures to look a certain way or achieve a certain weight for whatever reasons. Itís not healthy in the short or long term. The long term after impacts of an athletic youth are rarely considered or studied. Especially amongst those who give up cold Turkey and effectively turn their backs on what up to that point was their entire life
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PeteFromLeeds
post Mar 17 2021, 09:44 PM
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Agree with all of the above Phil - in the interview I spoke of in the OP Brajkovic spoke about a similar thing where people come over to the riders and literally just say 'you're fat' to each of them which regardless of whether you're meeting whatever weight 'targets' are put before you is a ridiculous thing to say (because it's not true) and it's easy to see how that can leave a mark well into your future even if you don't develop an eating disorder.

More education on how to approach the subject of weight is definitely needed; athletes aren't emotionless entities that exist purely for speed/power output.
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