You know that you have RED-S / REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) and want to take steps to get healthy. But not only is your doctor not helpful, her or she is actually against you gaining weight. What can you do?
Sports nutrition and performance expert Rebecca McConville reminds us that your medical team should work with you, not against you. She shares advice on how to talk to your current provider and how to find a doctor who’s more aligned with your health needs.
Read the transcript
[Tina] My doctor is not supportive at all and they seem to be against me gaining weight. What should I do?
[Becca] Big sigh here. First of all, you’re within your rights to find a physician that’s going to align and advocate with what you are desiring from health. Second of all, it’s a systematic error within our medical model that there is an overemphasis on weight, specifically suppression of weight, as a marker of health. And unfortunately, that’s something that we endure when we go to the doctor’s office, right? One of the very first things we’re to do, is to step on a scale. I think I would reach out to those in your area, or look for great resources like the one that you’re at right now, that could help you find providers that are going to help at every size and not put that as a priority. And be able to advocate and maybe educate, the fact that your under fueling is not indicative of your weight, and these are the things that you’ve endured as a result of it.
[Tina] Can you just speak a little bit more to how difficult that can be, when the doctor is the authoritarian figure who is supposed to know it all. And to go against what you’re told, you’re supposed to listen to your doctor, but going with that gut feeling, it can be difficult to do. Can you just give a little more advice for someone who is hearing what you’re saying, but they’ve been told their whole lives, you listen to what these figures tell you.
[Becca] Oh, absolutely, and I hope that’s something over time that we see change, but your medical team should work with you, not against you. And so find somebody that you feel comfortable being able to sit down, express what you’re going through, and they ask you what you need. Obviously we’re there for medical advice, but it shouldn’t be that that weight is the priority of why you’re there. Or asking more about why weight gain might be important to your health. Ask around to those that may have recovered or struggled from RED-S, providers that have been supportive for them. I know in our area we have a list of providers, so being able to reach out, maybe on social media, and ask colleagues. We’re more than willing to help them. I know that that is a very tough conversation, but I know it’s such an important one that you are heard, and that someone feels vested in your health.
[Tina] Thank you; 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 athleticgreens.com/reds 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 https://tracksmith.com/tina 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 becca:
Rebecca McConville, RD, LD, CSSD, CEDS, is a sports nutrition and performance expert who helps her clients explore and strengthen their relationship with food, weight, body image and sports performance. Her book, “Finding Your Sweet Spot,” helps athletes maximize their potential while avoiding the dangers of RED-S. You can find Becca at https://beccamcconville.com.