RED-S / REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport), is just that – a calorie intake that is insufficient to support your activity level. So your weight may be “normal,” but is that enough? And what is “normal,” anyway?
Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani discusses the ways in which we can be led into false beliefs of what “healthy” is and what it looks like.
Read the transcript
[Tina} My weight is normal and my nutrition is great. Surely it’s not RED-S?
[Jen] That’s a really common conception and it’s wrong, but it’s really tough because society tells us that all of malnutrition must come with weight loss or with underweight, and some people think that their nutrition is great, when in fact it’s just not adequate. We have to remember that we are surrounded by a society that is telling us continually as a result of the power of thin privilege and the power of the dieting industry, “Here’s what healthy is and here’s what healthy looks like.” These are both really damaging constructs that are not scientifically based, so it is absolutely not only possible, but common, for somebody who is inadequately fueling their body to have a weight that is maintained or even it’s actually rising, because our bodies will protect our weight at all costs in the context of inadequate nourishment.
And furthermore,people think they may be eating healthfully, and indeed, they might be getting various good food groups. They might be focused on a particular type of what they think is “healthy eating” and there’s all sorts of nonsense out there about what “healthy eating” is, but the reality is only a really well-trained sports dietitian is going to have the excellent knowledge to sit with you and say, “All right, what are you asking your body to do and how are you replenishing it?” How are you replenishing it with nourishment, which includes carbohydrates, hydration, rest, and sleep. So once we actually do that calculation, many athletes who feel, especially as they look right and look left, feel that they’re doing a perfectly reasonable job with their fueling, truly learn that they might be a thousand calories under per day compared with what their body wants, and when they actually begin to nourish themselves properly, their weight may or may not change, but the way that their body feels and the way that it performs can be transformative.
[Tina] Absolutely, and this is something I can personally attest to, having looked around on the start line, thought, “Well, I’m the ‘big one’ here”; was not the case, definitely was not fueling myself, and yeah, I always thought my weight was just normal, I was eating enough, but I was not. So thank you for clearing that up. That is such a critical one here; I appreciate that answer.
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 Dr G:
Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, CEDS-S, FAED, is an internist who specializes in eating disorders. She practices from a deeply anti-diet, weight-inclusive perspective and partners with therapists and dietitians around the country to ameliorate medical roadblocks in patients’ recovery journeys. Her book, “Sick Enough: A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders,” is for patients, families, and practitioners. You can find Jen at https://gaudianiclinic.com