Monday, August 11, 2008

Elite athletes and healthy eating

Eating disorders and disordered eating have recently been discussed in athletics. I've posted about it on here a number of times.. Although an eltie athlete's needs are different nutritionally than the average person, I think it's also important to showcase those who have "normal, healthy" eating habits.

Here are some brief interviews with Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gymnast in 1984, Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic speedskater in 2002 and 2006, and Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer who now has won 10 Olympic medals.

Mary Lou's interview is here.

Apolo Anton Ohno is here.

Dara Torres is here.

Two other elite athlets in the sport of running also talk about healthy eating. With Kara Goucher who will be running the 5,000m and 10,000m in this Olympics, in this interview she discusses how she overcame disordered eating and now eats healthy, making sure she gets enough calories for her perfomances.

Jennifer Rhines never had an eating disorder but knew many of her fellow teammates that did. Her emphasis in this interview is that if an athlete wants to make it to the elite level, an athlete has to fuel his/her body appropriately. Otherwise, he/she won't last.

What I love about these athletes is that they do not count calories. Each eat healthily for their body, realizing food is fuel for their body, and if they want to do well, they must eat enough. The other aspect of these athletes is that they are not depriving themselves of "bad" food. They eat dessert, doritoes, m&ms, etc. It's all a balance.

I think it's just a good take away message. Sometimes it's easy to look at all the negatives, but it's important to remember the positives too and what we can learn from them.


kb said...


I think there is a lot of criticism out there about the unhealthy obsession of athletes regarding food and weight, so it's nice to see people truly embracing a more well-rounded approach. Although I wouldn't classify myself as an athlete by any means, I do know that when I'm active, I feel more motivated to eat to fuel my body and I focus more on the activity and not on food and weight stuff.
- Kristina

Tiptoe said...

Kb, you're right that when you are more active, your body needs more and is really signaling that to you. I think sports in an appropriate manner makes you realize more about the capabilities of your body rather the size. At least that should be the goal.

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I love Apolo Anton's interview, he is really committed on his beliefs and in his way of deal with the food and his exercises.

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