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Eating Disorders And The Athlete

We hear about the prevalence of eating disorders in the fashion industry and Hollywood. What is less well known is its prevalence in professional sports. Athletes operate under enormous pressure to fit a physical ideal and to constantly perform at their best. Because of this, professional athletes are three times more likely to develop an eating disorder than the average person (Bowers, n.d.).

The two most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. People afflicted with anorexia restrict their intake of food in an effort to meet their ideal weight. Many do this to the point of starvation. In bulimia, the afflicted person goes through a cycle of bingeing and purging. The person will binge on a large amount of food in a short period of time, then eradicate what they’ve eaten through self-induced vomiting or other means. This cycle is usually followed by feelings of guilt, shame and remorse.

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Coaches’ Corner: Three Summer Tips for Collegiate Coaches

No matter the season of your sport, coaching never stops. It is a yearlong process of recruiting new talent, providing guidance and instruction for athletes during the off season, and formulating your goals for the coming competitive year. Coaching is multifaceted, covering various administrative duties and interpersonal roles.

Here are three initial tips to help set you and your players up for success and support all around!

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14th International Society of Sport Psychology – Presentation by Dr. Chirban

Sharon presented at the 14th International Society of Sport Psychology on a panel “Lessons learnt as practitioners in sport and exercise psychology: A case study approach.” Her case documented the beginning of a Boston Ballet Company dancer’s transition after dancing with the corps (the group of dancers who are not soloists) for ten years through her complete termination. Her transition began post Achilles tendon surgery, due to a Haglund’s deformity. She danced through her rehabilitation of her ankle for three years post-surgery, modifying role selection, intensity of her seasons and number of performances to manage the chronic pain that ensued post-surgery.

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Sexualized Athletes

At the bi-annual Female Athlete Conference, Dr. Chirban gave a talk highlighting the issues related to the sexualization of girls and the implications of sexualization and self-objectification on both male and female athletes.

According the APA Task Force report (2007), sexualization occurs when a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior; when a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness with being sexy and when a person is sexually objectified — that is, made into a thing for the others’ sexual use.

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Monthly Fencing Workshops

Michael Berrebi at Amplifying Performance has been conducting monthly workshops with the Marx Fencing Academy, which offers elite fencing programs in Concord, Mass.

During these workshops, fencers have had the unique opportunity to explore core sport psychology skills and strategies aimed at helping to increase enjoyment and overall performance.

Topics to date have included: how to properly and positively self-assess one’s performance, understanding and improving the power of self-talk, and utilizing effective imagery.

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Spin Mind Body @the Barn

Amplifying Performance is partnering with Spin @the Barn to offer an exercise is medicine spin class, located in a renovated barn in Carlisle, Mass. Classes will be scheduled on Saturdays. The 45-minute “Spin Mind Body” class will be led by a certified spin instructor who is trained to inspire in participants a positive mindset while safely modifying a class for all levels of physical fitness. A licensed mental health professional, who will participate in the spin class, will conduct the 45-minute group, to follow. Individuals appropriate for this group will be targeting a mental health issue (anxiety, depression, life balance, motivation, eating recovery, etc). The key to using exercise to improve mental health is accountability and supervision. See this helpful handout to distribute to patients and athletes looking to improve well-being with exercise. For more information contact

Register for Spin Mind Body.

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