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Karen Duggan
February 25th, 2009, 11:53 AM
While waiting for my hubby at the pool last night I was talking to two of the lifeguards, one (female) is a former student of mine. The other, a guy, is really nice as well.

"She" was eating some Greek food from the "newer" restaurant across the street from the pool. We started talking about her food and the conversation quickly took a turn to how she, and many other age groupers on the team, are throwing up during workout. I was stunned and asked her why. She said that she just does it to get out early. But the others go home from school and gorge themselves and then go swimming and intentionally throw up to get rid of it (usually in the gutter!). They are bulimic. The male lifeguard concurred and said he was disgusted but yes they do do it all the time.

They both said that the synchro girls are worse and that they are constantly told they are too fat by coaches and parents. (I haven't seen a synchro girl that isn't too skinny already). They too are bulimic.

Being a former student of mine, I put on my teacher hat, and told her that if she learned about nutrition she wouldn't be so hungry, etc..
She said, "Yea, they teach us about nutrition."
I said, "Who?"
"The coaches, but we don't listen."

I just don't remember being THAT stupid as an age group swimmer...

jim clemmons
February 25th, 2009, 12:52 PM
Good thing for me I was a late bloomer.

3strokes
February 25th, 2009, 01:01 PM
"The coaches, but we don't listen."


If it's not coming via the screen of a cellphone or maybe a Wii or Nintendo or TV (MTV Channel), they won't pay attention.

Don't forget that this is the generation who learned driving on a GameBoy (box?) or a Nintendo (where you can Pause, Escape or buy more lives if you crash) then was given real drivers licenses and real cars.

Midas
February 25th, 2009, 01:09 PM
This is alarming. I don't remember this being an issue when I was a teen (though who knows what went on in the girls locker room). I worry for my 3-year old daughter (and son, to be honest)...

Ahelee Sue Osborn
February 25th, 2009, 01:19 PM
Karen -
I am shocked by this post!

It has been about 2 1/2 years since I coached age-group swimmers but never experienced this behavior.
I occassionally watch the age-group practices here at the pools I coach at and again have never seen or heard anything like this.

Call me a horn blower, but I think the conversation should be brought to the attention of concerned adults.
Even if it is in a semi-anonymous manner.

SLOmmafan
February 25th, 2009, 02:24 PM
I would not be so quick to put this odd phenomenon on the lack of perceived "listening skills" of the younger generation. I am a bit older than current age-groupers (25), but I don't think things have deteriorated so much in less then 10 years. I swim with and around a USA swimming club team (most of the swimmers are in the 12-16 age range). They are all good kids, swim hard, and I never have observed any out of place behavior like that.

In all truth, I could never keep enough food down (much less throw it up on purpose) when I was putting in 5000 + yards each day in the pool plus dry land training!

swimmj
February 25th, 2009, 02:55 PM
This is a hard issue as there is more pressure than ever on girls to be thin. We spend a bunch of time with our kids talking about nutrition and modeling good behavior. I would talk to the parents of the swimmers if this was my team - there are serious long term health issues related to eating disorders. I know of a friend's daughter who was on a division 1 swimming scholarship and she had a teammate with an eating disorder. It's far more common than you think.

--mj

elise526
February 25th, 2009, 03:11 PM
I would not say it is widespread, but it is enough of a problem that USA Swimming formed a task force on disordered eating. My hope is that all coaches of age-group swimmers will take the time to read the article below:

http://web.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=255&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en-US&mid=379&ItemId=347


Also, an interesting book, My Name is Caroline, tells the story of a young lady who developed bulimia while she was a student at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. An outstanding swimmer and student, Caroline mentions in her book how she learned the bulimic behavior from her fellow swimmers on the team. The book is her story of how she developed and overcame bulimia. I would highly recommend this book to any coach that works with female swimmers between the ages of 12 and 18.

This type of behavior does exist - I've seen it too many times as a swimmer and as a coach. It is, however, not something that is open and obvious. Girls suffering from bulimia are masters are keeping it hidden. Also, they are often of normal weight and may not discuss weight issues openly.

swimshark
February 25th, 2009, 03:22 PM
I currently practice with an age group team and have for 3 years and I have never seen weight be an issue. I talk to the kids on the team a bit and I have never heard them mention their weight like it was a huge issue. I know none are throwing up during practice unless they were really sick. Actually, we had one girl last week throw up (she was sick) and get back in and complete the practice. After reading what you heard, Karen, I'm thankful that I have not dealt with this on my team.

I think the coaches of that team need to be made aware of this issue.

coach's pet 1
February 25th, 2009, 03:33 PM
I don't believe this is happening at our local swim team, but I will ask the coach.

John

nkfrench
February 25th, 2009, 03:40 PM
We've had very talented girls who swam with our team that had eating disorders. Two made their Sr National cuts age 13-14 but ended up having to quit the sport. One was having chest pain and heart arrhythmias as her body was cannibalizing her muscles. I believe both girls were in family situations where they felt their acceptance was conditional based on their swimming. It was sad.

chlorini
February 25th, 2009, 03:58 PM
Maybe we should ask why we aren't listening. Doesn't it seem like this girl confiding this information in her former teacher might be a cry for help?

Karen Duggan
February 25th, 2009, 04:05 PM
This was definitely NOT a cry for help. Perhaps even more disturbing was the passive, that's just the way it is, matter of factness about it. The girl I mentioned has always been a bit lazy, not a go getter by any stretch. She was not throwing up, her teammates are.

Since I heard this at 8:30 last night and won't get to the pool until tonight, I haven't had a chance to speak with one of their coaches (who actually is one of my coaches too).

I just find it hard to believe that kids are throwing up in gutters and the coaches don't notice? Come on. I'll find out more when I talk to the coach tonight.

elise526
February 25th, 2009, 04:43 PM
Some coaches can be quite oblivious to it and could think throwing up in the gutters is just a sign they are pushing themselves hard.

My college coach brought in a nutritionist because it was somehow determined that 30% of the girls on the team had a form of disordered eating. We had at least 3 that I know were bulimic.

gatoruss
February 25th, 2009, 06:03 PM
Unfortunately, eating disorders among female athletes (and, indeed, male athletes) are not uncommon occurrences. Google "female athletes eating disorder", and see the hits that it turns up. The drive to be more competitive sometimes leads to bad decisions (just ask A Rod).

The truth of the matter, however, is that it is a prevalent affliction in all walks of life, not just athletics. http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Our culture fosters a world view that is obsessed with weight and where "thin is in." Take a look at Sports Illustrated's swim suit issue or any of the celebrity magazines that fill supermarket checkout isle. Too often, our society suggests that self worth with body image go hand in hand.

I am sorry, I Didn't mean to climb up on a soap box...this issue comes close to home for me.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
February 25th, 2009, 07:35 PM
Unfortunately, eating disorders among female athletes (and, indeed, male athletes) are not uncommon occurrences. Google "female athletes eating disorder", and see the hits that it turns up. The drive to be more competitive sometimes leads to bad decisions (just ask A Rod).

The truth of the matter, however, is that it is a prevalent affliction in all walks of life, not just athletics. http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Our culture fosters a world view that is obsessed with weight and where "thin is in." Take a look at Sports Illustrated's swim suit issue or any of the celebrity magazines that fill supermarket checkout isle. Too often, our society suggests that self worth with body image go hand in hand.

I am sorry, I Didn't mean to climb up on a soap box...this issue comes close to home for me.

Russ, thank you for the box climb - and you should keep at it!

Just when it seems like you can't do anything about the HUGE problem, you get a little inroad.
To the piece of the world you absolutely can influence.
Thats' when you go at it - and make something happen.

Don't stop trying.

Peter Cruise
February 25th, 2009, 08:29 PM
I heard on the radio that this current new generation is the first one expected to reverse the long growth in life expectancy and decline from the previous. That is scary.

ALM
February 25th, 2009, 11:37 PM
The scene: Our women's locker room, 7:00pm. The top-level ("elite") age group swimmers have finished their evening workout and are getting dressed....

Female swimmer: "I can't believe I'm so hungry. And I even ate today!"

Assistant coach: "What did you have to eat?"

Female swimmer: "Some Oreos."

blainesapprentice
February 26th, 2009, 08:50 AM
I would not be so quick to put this odd phenomenon on the lack of perceived "listening skills" of the younger generation. I am a bit older than current age-groupers (25), but I don't think things have deteriorated so much in less then 10 years. I swim with and around a USA swimming club team (most of the swimmers are in the 12-16 age range). They are all good kids, swim hard, and I never have observed any out of place behavior like that.

In all truth, I could never keep enough food down (much less throw it up on purpose) when I was putting in 5000 + yards each day in the pool plus dry land training!

agreed! I'm 22 and can't imagine this is a trend that just rapidly took wind in the few years I've been away from age-group swimming. I'm going to swim with my age group team from the old days next week while on spring break.

Coaches should say something if kids are throwing up during practice whether purposefully or otherwise on a consistent basis...no age-group aged swimmer is going to get better if they are doing that during regular practices.

Karen Duggan
February 26th, 2009, 12:07 PM
I did not mean that they are doing this b/c they are not listening. Obviously, there are any number of reasons why anyone feels the need to "be bulimic" (not that it's a goal, just a descriptor).

I'm just stupified b/c there is SO much more information on health and nutrition than when I was a kid, smoking comes to mind- why anyone would pick up that habit KNOWING what it's in a cigarrette, the effects on your health etc?

She told me flat out that yes they are learning nutrition but choosing not to listen...

I so wish I had someone, even my parents, to teach me about nutrition. I have learned so much as a young adult and I continue to learn. I make sure that I am giving my children an education on this topic as well. They have now stopped asking me to buy Lunchables when we go to the grocery store. I picked up a box, told them about the food label and pointed out the sodium. We had a mini lesson right then and there.

:blah:

Anyway, I did mention it to the coach and he didn't think there was much to her statements. I told him I didn't know b/c I wasn't in the locker room or swimming with them. I made it very clear, though, that he needs to tuck this information in the back of his head and be aware, just in case he hears of it somewhere else, or sees someone yakkin' in the gutter.

anita
February 26th, 2009, 12:25 PM
I take exception to the inference that it is a generational thing. I firmly believe part of this falls on the shoulders of the coach and is a sign of lack of leadership. If the yakking only happens during pool time, then the parents are most likely in the dark and aren't part of the equation at this point.

I had a good friend who was bullemic during our swimming years. Had nothing to do with swimming faster--she had other issues.
My kids are knowledgeable about health and nutrition, exercise and sleep. It only takes a little education and much discussion about self respect and respect towards the coach that the kids on said team obviously don't have.
Very sad.

Karen Duggan
February 26th, 2009, 12:32 PM
I can't speak to the respect issue, as I don't even know if this is in fact an issue. I can only go by what they said to me.

It is not my place to conduct "an investigation". I can however, recommend to her, the next time I see her, that if it really is an issue that she let an adult know.

lefty
February 26th, 2009, 12:34 PM
"The coaches, but we don't listen."




Since you asked, "why don't the listen?" I figured I'll answer:

Human beings tend to evaluate advice and recommendations based on the merits of the individuals rather than the soundness of the advice. Stanford Financial spent more than a million dollars on wood panelling from France so that people would believe that it is possible to earn 7.50% risk free.

My guess is the message doesn't sink in with these kids because the messenger, right or wrong, is not respected.

lefty
February 26th, 2009, 12:37 PM
because I am a bit of a blowhard I didn't read the thread before posting my response... Looks like others are saying the same thing...

gatoruss
February 27th, 2009, 08:37 AM
The causes of eating disorders are many and are complex. Often there isn't just one cause - societal mores and pressures, peer pressure, body image, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, low self esteem, to name a few. And a real biggie is "control." Took me a while to understand this one.

It isn't a generational issue. It is a societal issue. It is not just teenagers who have eating disorders. Many adults do as well. It isn't even necessarily a gender issue - but it is way more prevalent in females. For young female athletes, a contributing issue is the physical biological changes that a woman goes thru during adolescence. As the shape of their bodies change, they grow places with the effect that their body style may no longer be conducive to swimming quickly or running faster.

Education and and leadership are important, but not just education of the athlete (or non athlete) suffering. Education of parents, siblings, coaches, friends and, ultimately, society are as equally important.

Obviously, a red light should be going off in the mind of any coach, parent or other adult witnessing purging - that's the easy message to get across to people. The more difficult ones are the subtle things: comment such as "Have you been gaining weight?" "You're looking heavy," "If you were 5 pounds less you'd [fill in the blank--run fast, swim fast, tumble better, dance more gracefully]," "Look how skinny she is," "It's almost bathing suit season, I need to drop a few pounds."

The education cannot stop with what and when to eat. It must be a much more holistic approach - what to eat, when to eat, why to eat, inner peace with body image, acceptance of limitations, focus on inner beauty, normalcy (normal women do not look like swim suit models, and that's ok) etc.

Parents should educate themselves and learn to look for the contributing factors and the telltale signs.

Stepping off the box again.

rph

swimmj
February 27th, 2009, 12:20 PM
The causes of eating disorders are many and are complex. Often there isn't just one cause - societal mores and pressures, peer pressure, body image, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, low self esteem, to name a few. And a real biggie is "control." Took me a while to understand this one.

It isn't a generational issue. It is a societal issue. It is not just teenagers who have eating disorders. Many adults do as well. It isn't even necessarily a gender issue - but it is way more prevalent in females. For young female athletes, a contributing issue is the physical biological changes that a woman goes thru during adolescence. As the shape of their bodies change, they grow places with the effect that their body style may no longer be conducive to swimming quickly or running faster.

Education and and leadership are important, but not just education of the athlete (or non athlete) suffering. Education of parents, siblings, coaches, friends and, ultimately, society are as equally important.

Obviously, a red light should be going off in the mind of any coach, parent or other adult witnessing purging - that's the easy message to get across to people. The more difficult ones are the subtle things: comment such as "Have you been gaining weight?" "You're looking heavy," "If you were 5 pounds less you'd [fill in the blank--run fast, swim fast, tumble better, dance more gracefully]," "Look how skinny she is," "It's almost bathing suit season, I need to drop a few pounds."

The education cannot stop with what and when to eat. It must be a much more holistic approach - what to eat, when to eat, why to eat, inner peace with body image, acceptance of limitations, focus on inner beauty, normalcy (normal women do not look like swim suit models, and that's ok) etc.

Parents should educate themselves and learn to look for the contributing factors and the telltale signs.

Stepping off the box again.

rph

Stay on the soapbox - you are right on target here. I coach age group swimmers and talk about being strong, how training effect works, how what you eat can help you recover, etc. The message I want kids to get is that you have to eat healthy to be healthy and if you want to swim fast, you need to be strong.

--mj

laineybug
February 27th, 2009, 03:47 PM
straight from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.

Criteria for Bulimia
recurrent episodes of bing eating characterized by eating an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time. And, a sense of lack of control over eating.
recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain.the bing eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur on average of at least twice a week for three months.
self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.

The syncro girls MAY meet this criteria, but I'm not as sure the swim team kids who intentionally bing eat so that they can throw up to get out of a workout are bulimic. That intention suggests they have control over their eating. When they self-evaluate, do they say they aren't as fast as they can be because of their weight. Wouldn't think so, since the motivation for throwing up isn't to control weight gain, but to get out of workouts.

The question in my mind, Why do they want to get out of the practice? If they dislike swimming that much, then perhaps they are being pressured into it or perhaps the coaching is not what it should be.

Lainey

Karen Duggan
February 27th, 2009, 04:40 PM
Lainey, there were two different "groups" I was talking about. The lifeguard girl has always been lazy (and I don't know why she swims), but throws up to get out.

She and the other lifeguard concurred that other swimmers are in fact throwing up after gorging themselves when they get home from school b/c they're hungry.

trinollinger
February 27th, 2009, 04:55 PM
[
She told me flat out that yes they are learning nutrition but choosing not to listen...


:blah:
There is a lot of information available about proper nutrition, but it is not nearly as prevalent as the millions of ads for junk food, fast food, candy and soda. Not to mention that all of the above mentioned foods are often the cheapest and most available items in school cafeterias. We also have to remember that this is the "instant gratification generation". If they want something, they want it NOW. What quicker way to rid yourself of 1000 calories?

Karen Duggan
February 27th, 2009, 05:06 PM
It's always been my opinion, mostly based on personal observation, that athletes are usually more motivated, focused, determined, etc. and will usually do what they're told by coaches.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
February 27th, 2009, 05:17 PM
OK Karen -

Good job talking to the coach about tucking the information away for future reference. Guess that is what life experience is all about anyway.

Now here is an experience that has NEVER happened to me in 44 years of swimming. I totally blame you!

Yesterday at the end of a pretty hard practice, we swam a set with fins of 4 X 100 on 10 second rest interval - moderate to strong pace.
Then finished with 4 X 100 very FAST - on an interval that gave :05 rest.

I decided not to wear fins and try to swim with the group (and their interval) who were wearing fins. I did it - BUT -
On #3 of the second set I almost threw up.
Seriously. I couldn't believe it!

On #4, at the finish I felt it coming up and then... I thought of Karen!
It happened because of the effort - but somehow I thought of you and was sure EVERYONE in the pool had seen your forum post and would assume I was bulimic!
Ha Ha - that put a halt to that!

Oh boy... talk about creating a result with subtle mental images.
Girl - I have never thrown up in the pool ever!
And rarely anywhere else for that matter.

slowfish
February 27th, 2009, 05:33 PM
I had no idea anorexia and bulmia ever even happened in swimming!

with running, there is positive reinforcement with weight loss. you loose weight and get faster so it encourages people to loose more weight to get even faster. of course, it all implodes after a while because that the runner is injured more often than not.

the positive reinforcement coupled with the mental aspects of eating disorders makes it a very hard cycle to break.

I always thought that it was one of the sports where performance didn't improve with weight loss. does it? i can understand if one is significantly over weight, but i thought that the skinny build wasn't synonomous with fasters swimming.

The Fortress
February 27th, 2009, 06:01 PM
I coach age group swimmers and talk about being strong, how training effect works, how what you eat can help you recover, etc. The message I want kids to get is that you have to eat healthy to be healthy and if you want to swim fast, you need to be strong.

I say this to my swimming kid every day. And she certainly sees me eating well, training and getting strong. I never diet and rarely mention weight.

One big problem for girls is boys. From what I can tell, boys (especially those who are not yet developed themselves) seem to be programmed to prefer slim, non-athletic girls. (I am over-generalizing, I know.) Athletic girls are called/referred to as "buff," "butch," "men," etc. If I actually overheard this, I would seriously consider punching their lights out. It seems to cause girls to be very self conscious about their weight and muscles and makes them averse to doing any weights. It's such a shame. Even very confident girls have a hard time ignoring the jibes. I feel fortunate to be married to someone who likes athletic women. I tell my daughter to find the same.

I haven't heard about any bulimia/purging during practice issues on the teams I'm acquainted with. But I'm sure much of it isn't public. My daughter did attend a special swim team meeting for the female swimmers with a guest speaker last night. They girls were divided into 11-14 and 15-18. Much of the talk focused on body changes during puberty and how that might effect their swimming/cause injuries. They've had nutrition talks as well.

Life would also be better without the copious junk food ads and tabloid trash showcasing Hollywood stick figures.


Ahelee --- Ew, poor thing! How can you do "very fast" kick sets on 5 seconds rest though?!

Ahelee Sue Osborn
February 27th, 2009, 06:38 PM
Ahelee --- Ew, poor thing! How can you do "very fast" kick sets on 5 seconds rest though?!

I don't!

It was a challenge where I had no idea of the end result!

I remember coming off the wall at the 75 - SDK on my side across from my great challenger teammate (in FINz) thinking - OMG!
Why isn't he working this?

And then it happened again!
Tummy churn.

And then, well, the whole throw-up thing started to kick in!
Geez...

Its all that Karen's fault!
"Creekers" ... humph!

See ya Skinny Karen - in Clovis!

isobel
February 27th, 2009, 07:09 PM
I had an eating disorder when I started masters swimming. It's much bigger than body image or pressure to be thin, at least for me. It was more about filling up emptiness in my life.

I found that once I started masters I couldn't swim effectively if I was hungry. So I started eating and I gained weight, in the end, 30 pounds. But while I was gaining weight it was very hard, especially when people commented on it.

Swimming made me feel so great that I very slowly overcame this problem, and chose good performance/good nutrition over skinniness. I still had to deal with the emptiness, and still have to deal with it. Bummer!

In my journey to normal weight, I read a book that mentioned that many of Harvard's women's swim team were bulimic. I wish I could remember the title because this astounded me. How could they perform so well if they were throwing up?

Ironically, buying a bathing suit is the easiest shopping I do, because I associate the bathing suit with an identity that is truly mine and that means a great deal to me.

I went to a kids' meet that allowed masters swimmers to compete, and I noticed in the 12-15? (not sure re age groups) girls' heats, some girls had gone through puberty and some had not. The skinny non-puberty girls generally outswam the bigger girls. Perhaps that is part of why these girls you refer to want to stay skinny, thinking they will swim faster?

It's a terrible problem to get over. I wish I could go tell them all this. It took me a long, long time. It's expensive, too, both in terms of wasted food and dentistry. I kept a monthly log during my recovery, and saw the wasted money go from $300 a month to $0 a month. I was poor, too, but that didn't deter me. I do think it is a contagious and competitive illness. Also, I think younger girls have no idea of how dangerous it is to do this to themselves. I knew but the empty feeling drove me, not the wanting to be thin, and I didn't care. Anything to make that emptiness go away.

It sounds like these girls need a peer to talk to them, someone who saw her life messed up by bulimia but has now recovered, so perhaps they will listen. I'm not sure a coach or a parent will cut it.

gatoruss
February 27th, 2009, 11:09 PM
It's a terrible problem to get over. I wish I could go tell them all this. It took me a long, long time.

I am happy that you are on the road of recovery. I wish you continued success.

My daughter too is recovering. She was an elite distance runner. I believe for her the issue included body image, self esteem, control, and I have heard her too speak of an emptiness. I think that remaining competitive as a runner was not so much a contributing factor as were the changes brought on by puberty and the affect those changes had on her body image. But in truth only she knows what lead her down her path.

I am proud of how hard she has worked to re-balance her life. You should be proud of yourself as well.

swimmj
February 28th, 2009, 12:36 AM
I say this to my swimming kid every day. And she certainly sees me eating well, training and getting strong. I never diet and rarely mention weight.

One big problem for girls is boys. From what I can tell, boys (especially those who are not yet developed themselves) seem to be programmed to prefer slim, non-athletic girls. (I am over-generalizing, I know.) Athletic girls are called/referred to as "buff," "butch," "men," etc. If I actually overheard this, I would seriously consider punching their lights out. It seems to cause girls to be very self conscious about their weight and muscles and makes them averse to doing any weights. It's such a shame. Even very confident girls have a hard time ignoring the jibes. I feel fortunate to be married to someone who likes athletic women. I tell my daughter to find the same.

I haven't heard about any bulimia/purging during practice issues on the teams I'm acquainted with. But I'm sure much of it isn't public. My daughter did attend a special swim team meeting for the female swimmers with a guest speaker last night. They girls were divided into 11-14 and 15-18. Much of the talk focused on body changes during puberty and how that might effect their swimming/cause injuries. They've had nutrition talks as well.

Life would also be better without the copious junk food ads and tabloid trash showcasing Hollywood stick figures.


Ahelee --- Ew, poor thing! How can you do "very fast" kick sets on 5 seconds rest though?!

I certainly trained and was strong and had muscles in high school. There were certainly some boys who were threatened by that - I could beat most of them in the pool. I always figured that anybody worth hanging out with would appreciate me as I was. I would have hoped that things would be easier now, but perhaps not. You are telling your daughter exactly the right things - and the boys are mouthing off due to their own insecurity.

--mj

coffeegirl
February 28th, 2009, 12:04 PM
Thank you for sharing Isobel.

Swimalison
February 28th, 2009, 05:39 PM
WOW! I've can't believe kids are doing this. SO SAD! I was a little messed up senior year of high school. Swam twice a day and ate about 800 cals a day.So guess I can't talk. This is VERY disturbing. I think a lot of swimmers have major eating disorders.

Karen Duggan
March 1st, 2009, 09:35 PM
Ahelee- Thanks for thinking of me as you were going to throw up. I feel so loved! Geez.
I hope I get to meet you soon. Brian Stack speaks highly of you, and he's one of my favorite people : ]

Seagurl51
March 2nd, 2009, 05:59 PM
Talking about things is incredibly important, but sometimes in kids it can have the opposite effect. Control is almost the number one reason people develop eating disorders. They feel they have no control over their lives, but how much food they take into their bodies is something only they can do...assuming no force feeding is involved. Depending how often these kids are being talked to about nutrion it might be having the opposite effect. These kids are tired of being told what to do, so they are reacting by doing the exact opposite of what is healthy and good for them. Respecting the source is also an issue. Sounds to me like these kids are tired of hearing what their coach is saying and are going to do whatever they feel like.

geochuck
March 2nd, 2009, 06:22 PM
Eat, drink and be merry is my moto. Work hard and you will be trim and neat in the water no matter how much you eat. Bringup food and drink is very hard on the system. Get fat you float better. I have known coaches who require the steeds to loose weight. But that is the coach in the wrong and not the kids.

isobel
March 2nd, 2009, 07:48 PM
I found the USA Swimming article posted early on in this discussion by Elise526 (page one) to be very interesting.

It talks about how initially eating disorders/losing weight can increase swim performance, but after a few years, eating disorders often cause performance to take a huge dip. It also shows the bind coaches find themselves in, especially if they are training elite swimmers (how hard it is to curb frustration at destructive behavior in their athletes when they have spent much time and energy helping them be their best).

In addition, it addresses the identity problem for some kids re swimming: if they peak and then don't continue to improve, or burn out, or lose interest, who are they? A lot of times they put all their identity into swimming (according to this article). So it's important to let kids know they are many things besides good swimmers.

I like to do an exercise occasionally, where I draw a circle and divide it into pie slices, with each slice showing a different aspect of who I am/what I care about. I think this has a name: Self-complexity modeling. Anyway, it can sometimes put my overfocus on one issue or overidentity of one part of me into perspective. I can see I also like to read, to write, to draw, to help people; all kinds of things outside of swimming my butt off, which I also like to do.

I do hope all coaches for age-group swimming will read that article.