You hate to admit it, but the fact is, you don’t want people to know you have RED-S / REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) because they may assume you have an eating disorder. There shouldn’t be a stigma around disordered eating, but there is, and the fear of judgment is keeping you from taking action to regain your period and your health.
Sports nutrition and performance expert Rebecca McConville understands your concerns, but has ways of looking at the situation that you may not have thought about, and that may make it easier to take the steps to overcome amenorrhea and conquer RED-S / REDs.
Read the transcript
[Tina] I really hate that I’m saying this, but it’s true. I don’t want people to assume I have an eating disorder. And I know that’s harmful to say, but if I’m honest, the fear of judgment is what stops me from taking action.
[Becca] Well, first of all I applaud you for being honest,right? When we are honest, we can get to the root of the change that we need to make, and I also hear you. It’s unfortunate that there is a stigma around eating disorders and mental health, and why that is a barrier that many don’t step forward. However, I can probably speak for a lot of us in this profession, that we don’t treat diagnosis, we treat people. So whatever suffering you may be enduring through this RED-S and low energy availability, that’s what you can focus on or get help for. And many times the diagnosis does not need to be there for you to get the medical help that you’re seeking.
The other piece of this is through your vulnerability and honesty, are there those that are out there that maybe aren’t aware of your struggles, and that’s why you don’t want that diagnosis, is because, you know, a lot of times disorders thrive in isolation. And by putting that out there, it may make you even more vulnerable. But I applaud you for asking such a tough question.
[Tina] And I’ve always heard Brene Brown talk about how shame thrives in the darkness, and the one thing it doesn’t want is to be brought out into the light, and that applies so well to, it doesn’t have to be eating disorders, but it could be disordered eating, or whatever, like wherever someone could be along the spectrum. It’s all about that shame and that little voice that tells you not to say anything, not to do anything, that you can figure this out on your own. And do you find that people who do tend to be in sport or are very driven within business or their life, are the people who struggle with that because they don’t want to let that… They want to have control over everything, and “I can do it myself” approach?
[Becca] Yeah, I call it the double-edged sword. A lot of times those personality traits that make them very successful at sport, life, are also sometimes their Achilles heel. For example, perfectionism. Perfectionism is one of those things that really can make you, at times, high achieving, but it can translate into our nutrition like nothing feels good enough, or our training, more is better. And so by being honest, by being able to say that sometimes we struggle, there’s a common humanity in there, and hopefully that will decrease the shame and allow you to get the help, or voice the struggles that are out there, so that others can feel that common bond, as well.
[Tina] Thank you.
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.
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