You know you need to recover from RED-S / REDs, but you really don’t want to go see somebody. Can you just do it yourself?

Sport psychologist Marissa Norman admits that she may be biased, and acknowledges that some people can recover from Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport on their own. But for the most part, she believes that those who are most successful in reaching their healing goals work with a team. She explains what experts are the most helpful to consult and how to find a therapist who is the right fit for you.


Read the transcript

[Tina]  I don’t want to go see someone. Can I just do this myself? 

[Marissa]  So obviously, as a therapist, I’m a little biased here, and I truly do believe that regardless of where we are at  and what we might be struggling with, we can all benefit from therapy. But I won’t lie and pretend that there aren’t people out there that are doing the work on their own and doing it well, and that could be them doing their own research or using self-help books to kind of guide their process, but in my experience, the people that do this and do it successfully, and by “successfully,” I mean just reaching their healing goals, do it with a team. 

 And this isn’t just a team thrown together, but it’s an intentional team that includes professionals in the field that are competent in this specific area, are willing to communicate and collaborate with each other, right?  So it’s not just left on the individual person to communicate to every single person what’s going on, and so that everyone’s on the same page and working towards the same thing.  And that team can look very different for every single person, depending on where you are in your healing journey or what you might need.  So that might include people like your medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians, your family, your friends… For athletes that could also include coaches; athletic trainers; in some cases, even your teammates. 

 And there’s another point I do want to make, and that is when it comes to eating disorders and disordered eating, those are purposefully very isolating and extremely lonely experiences and I say “purposefully,” because your eating disorder and disordered eating, they want to isolate you, because if it isolates you, then it can better control you and it thrives off of the stigma and shame that keeps you by yourself.  And so the antidote to shame is vulnerability, so that means expressing ourselves, and sharing our stories, our narratives, our feelings about things, with others. And so that is why I really do think that working with a team, working with professionals, can be so important. 

 And the last point I’m going to make here is that if you are not interested in working with a professional, or just even hesitant, I would encourage you to think about why that might be, and if your answer to that question is, “Because I am scared; I am anxious; I’m fearful,” I would say, “Well, that is very normal to feel that way.” However, I would challenge you to never let your emotions, fear, anxiety, dictate your behaviors. I think we’ve all fallen in that trap, but when we do so, we are much more likely to regret that decision. And so utilize your goals, your values, what is important to you, to kind of guide that decision making, because when we do so in that way, we’re more likely to make the best decision for us at the end of the day, and much less likely to regret that decision. 

[Tina]  Wow, thank you so much; that’s really helpful. One follow-up with that. What if someone has had a really negative experience; they did go to see someone, they took that step, it was really scary, and that person they didn’t feel like they clicked with, and so now it’s the barrier of, “I tried and it didn’t work for me.”  

[Marissa]  Yes, absolutely, and I think the misconception is that, specifically with therapists, we are all the same, and we’re not. We are humans and we bring ourselves as a tool into the therapy, and so I am a great fit for some people and not such a great fit for others. And so I almost like to think about finding your therapist is like finding the perfect running sneaker, in that there are so many great running sneakers out there built for different purposes, so you have to go out there and try different ones to find the best for you.

 Do your research; make sure that they’re competent in the thing that you’re looking for,  making sure that before you even sit with them, that you can call them for 15 minutes for a conversation. Kind of ask them questions about their approach, like  have they worked with this specific thing before, and see if you feel that connection, because I am a firm believer that the relationship is number one the most important in therapy. Before you even get to the information piece, the learning coping strategies, and things like that, so first kind of try out different people to find the best fit, and I can absolutely understand that’s a turn off when you miss the mark with your first therapist, but there definitely is someone out there who will get you and you will connect with.

[Tina]  Thank you so much; that’s really helpful.

check it out

Recovering from RED-S is hard. It’s even harder if you’re working through it alone. Even if you have professional support, they’re not available 24-7, and that can lead to going down search engine rabbit holes that have the potential to derail everything.

Our online resource, RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover, will answer all those questions swimming around in your head about recovery. It will give you the opportunity to connect with the experts you’ve come to know here, and to surround  yourself with a community of others who are going through it too.

THANK YOU! to Athletic Greens and Tracksmith for supporting this YouTube series and RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover.

Go to to get five free travel packs of AG1 and a free one year’s supply of vitamin D3+K2 with your subscription!

When you go to and use the code TINA15 at checkout, you’ll get free shipping and Tracksmith will donate 5% of your order to Rising Hearts, the Indigenous-led nonprofit founded by Jordan Marie Daniels.

more about Marissa:

Marissa Norman, Psy.D, CMPC, is a Sport Psychologist in the New Jersey area. She has her own private telehealth practice, and  works with youth to professional athletes from mental skills training to mental health services. She’s a former college track and field pentathlete who loves to laugh, to eat, and adventure. You can find Marissa at

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