Importance of Nourishing your Body as an Athlete
Interoceptive awareness is crucial to becoming a good athlete. Interoceptive awareness is a powerful and innate ability, which includes perceiving the physical cues of hunger and satiety, bodily states such as rapid heartbeat and a full bladder, and the physical sensations produced by emotions (Tribole & Resch). Being able to tune into your body at any minute is advantageous in many ways. Knowing what food your body needs to be refueled is critical to optimize performance. Instead of being preoccupied with food and how your body looks, your brain can focus what’s happening on the ice at that moment.
Tuning into your body assures your getting your needs met. It also assures that you won't spend time during training thinking about food. You won't run out of energy in the middle of your training or performance and you'll have tools for greater body connection which carries over to other forms of self care.
To read about how finding satisfaction in food can improve your athletic training and performance, click here.
Nourishing your body is a protector against Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), previously known as the Female Athlete Triad. RED-S causes changes in physiological systems, including metabolism, menstrual function, bone health, immunity, protein synthesis and cardiovascular and psychological health (Mountjoy et al).
To learn more about amenorrhea and it's impact on the body, click here.
For information on how puberty impacts athletes, click here.
Athletes that engage in disordered eating behaviors are eight times more likely to get injured than athletes that do not engage in disordered eating behaviors (NEDA, 2018). Medical complications of malnutrition can affect every organ system. This includes poor circulation, electrolyte disturbances, lack of available injury, skeletal system complications, reproductive system complications, and organ failure (heart, liver, and kidney).
To read about eating disorders, click here.
References Mountjoy M, Sundgot-Borgen J, Burke L, et al. The IOC consensus statement: beyond the Female Athlete Triad—Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). Br J Sports Med 2014; 48: 491-497. Tribole, E. & Resche, E. (2017). The Intuitive Eating Workbook. Ney Harbinger Publications, Inc.