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Eating Disorders

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Essay title: Eating Disorders

As field hockey began in late August I thought that she was a lot better, but, as time went on, I found out that she was not any better than when she left school last May. She was really getting worse. Living with someone that has an eating disorder is very hard. My college roommate, also my field hockey teammate suffers from an eating disorder called bulimia. She is now not playing field hockey because she is so bad that her heart can stop at any moment, and she could die.

As an athlete there are many pressures to look and to be your best. Female athletes often try to lose weight to improve their game, to keep in shape or even just because of the pressures. Christy Henrich was a figure skater who died in 1994 from anorexia. Her mother told Scott Reid (2005) of the Buffalo News was that, "the first thing [other athletes] told [Christy] was if there's something you want to eat, eat it and throw it up. That's the first thing you learn when you're on the U.S. national team." Pressures come from all over not just from your parents, coaches, teammates and fans. They can show up anywhere.

There are many different kinds of eating disorders, from bulimia to anorexia to diet pill abuse to laxative abuse and many more (Otil,103). But the most common that we know of are bulimia and anorexia. Bulimia is a disease when a person eats a lot of food in a short amount of time (called bingeing) and then tries to prevent weight gain by purging. Anorexia is when you starve yourself in fear of gaining weight. As Richard Carey (1997) says in his article, an estimated in 1995 that 20% of college age women and 10% of adult women have suffered from eating disorders. An estimated 1,000,000 teenagers are affected by eating disorders. As many at 90% of all individuals with eating disorders are female this leaves only 10% of males. When it comes to losing weight there is a right way and a wrong way. For some of us we don't know the right for the wrong. And that's when an eating disorder steps in. Our body needs the chemical and neurological balance to be healthy. And when you resort in an unhealthy weight loss like not eating (anorexia) or bingeing and purging (bulimia) the chemical and neurological become unbalanced. When a female has an eating disorder or chemical/neurological unbalance and also is an active athlete she has a higher risk of heart problems, lowering the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), thyroid problems as well as many other health related problems which can all lead to death (Carey, 1997).

When you know a person that has an eating disorder it can be very hard to deal with. As Otis (2000) said in her book, one of the best things to do is to talk to her. Most women with the female athlete profession do not want others to know about their disorders and will resist caring efforts by friends and even their family to help them. Just talk to your friend! Don't go behind her back and talk to other friends. Tell her you honestly care about her happiness and health. Do NOT accuse, act judgmental or make her feel guilty. She needs to know that she has privacy and confidentiality with you. Expect denial, shame, or fear. Talk to her with consistent, caring concern. Be honest! There are many things to say to her, "I'm really concerned that you are struggling with your weight, diet, or training, I'm worried about you!", "I'm worried

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