What Can Coaches Do if An Athlete is Resistant to Eating Disorder Treatment? Q&A with Dr. Paula Quatromoni

Ever since meeting Paula Quatromoni at the Eating Disorders in Sport Conference last August, we have been in constant communication. Paula has been especially helpful for me since I am not a professional in treating eating disorders. So as one of the leading experts in this field, it is a privilege and an honor to have Paula answer questions to help coaches better work with athletes who may have eating/weight struggles. For more Q&As with Paula, which will be coming in the future, click here.

Q: What can coaches/parents/sports programs do if an athlete is resistant to going to an eating disorder therapist or dietitian, but very clearly struggling with an eating disorder?

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Book Tour: First Stop Colchester, Vermont

I recently took on my first book tour 11/29 through 12/7. It begins with me landing in Boston, driving to Vermont to speak at Saint Michael’s College, driving back to Boston to speak at BU, driving to Rhode Island to speak at URI (Kingston), and back to Boston for one last talk at BU. The following details my journey on Wednesday 11/29 through Thursday 11/30.

Book Tour Day 1

I woke up at 3:30am, arrived in Boston by 9am, grabbed a rental car and I was off for a 4-hour drive to Colchester, Vermont!

A quick description of the drive: Miles upon miles of tree-lined roads, Moose Crossing signs (we have deer crossing signs in Michigan), rolling roads, vast expanses of mountains. I was in awe, and the moment I arrived at Saint Michael’s College, I couldn’t stop telling everyone I met about my drive (the student-athlete journalist who interviewed me for the school newspaper, the photographer for the school newspaper, and later my host Emily and the SAAC leader and the athletic director).

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Why I Kept Silent About My Eating Disorder, and Why Coaches Shouldn’t

Updated March 25, 2021, to improve readability.

Dear Coach,

You are required to detect the early signs of concussions and when it’s important to sit an athlete out. This is all with good reason: concussions are common in many sports. Unfortunately, so are eating disorders. Yet we still don’t know how to talk about them. Coaches aren’t even trained on how to approach them.

By leaving this topic in the dark, we are failing our athletes. And as a past eating disorder sufferer and runner, my heart breaks to see other athletes struggle as I did. Maybe they don’t think their eating disorder is “bad enough.” Or they don’t think you would understand. I read these emails, and hear these stories over

and over

and over again.

As a fellow cross country coach, I want to thank you for wanting to do something about this. Read more

Eating Disorders and Running Faster: Beyond Fuel

Post updated March 14, 2021, to improve clarity and readability.

“But Rachael, you need fuel to run well.”

“Your body is a machine. You are the driver. The body needs fuel and maintenance.”

“If you burn it, it really does not matter what you put in the furnace.”

As a runner, I knew how important food was. In fact, I believed I knew a lot more about nutrition than most of my peers. When anyone assumed I didn’t see food as fuel, I didn’t give them much credit since I was the one constantly “researching” nutrition.

I believe this speaks to the complexity of eating disorders. As someone who was unknowingly struggling with disordered eating, hearing comments like the ones above did nothing to make me “just start eating more.”

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Lauren Fleshman: Eating Disorders in the Running World

Life has been busy. Not only have I started a Running in Silence YouTube channel, but I’ve also been scheduled for numerous speaking engagements, one of which I most recently completed this past Saturday with Yoga For a Cause.

As for the YouTube videos, it’s been a lot of trial and error. There have been numerous many retakes, what seems like minutes of “nothing-happening” recording time as I stare at the ground to try to gather my thoughts (promptly deleted in the editing process, of course), and admittedly, fears that people will not always agree with what I have to say. I’ve felt that any time I’ve worked in the eating disorder world, it’s been a tricky atmosphere. Perhaps that’s what makes it so difficult to talk about–especially for athletic coaches.

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