Episode 71: Figure Skating and Eating Disorders with Nichole Soltis
Nichole Soltis recently earned her master’s degree from The University of Akron and is now a licensed therapist in the state of Ohio. A long-time figure skater, she will be competing at her second Adult National Championships this month. She has a passion for eating disorders and their impact on athletes, and she hopes to use her platform to spread awareness, support others, and start the conversation about eating disorders and sports.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Nichole discusses how her passion for figure skating played a role in the development and maintenance of her eating disorder, as well as how she was able to get back on the ice after treatment. Delving first into the complicated relationship between aesthetic sports and eating disorders, she shares how restricting her food did not improve her skating performance in the way her eating disorder promised it would. Instead, it negatively affected not just her sport, but also her physical and mental health. Through recovery, Nichole learned that nourishing her body and working on her technique was the best thing for her skating performance. Now as a therapist passionate about supporting athletes, she encourages all coaches to get their athletes professional help if they notice the warning signs of an eating disorder. Nicole ends the conversation by assuring any athletes struggling with an eating disorder that getting help can mean enjoying life, food, and their sport once again.
- The impact aesthetic sports can have on body image
- How the stigma surrounding eating disorders can make it more difficult to seek help
- How nourishing your body is the best thing you can do to be successful in your sport
- The unique role of coaches in the lives of athletes
- The importance of taking care of your mind and body
In Nichole’s words:
- On the stigma surrounding eating disorders: “Everybody’s okay with any body part breaking down except our brains… The stigma is still around and it impacts us definitely.”
- On improving athletic performance in a healthy way: “I focus more on technique now as opposed to my body composition… I really think it’s important to focus on… changing that technique and adjusting it, as opposed to changing and adjusting your body.”
- On life in recovery: “You can still enjoy your life and enjoy food and enjoy your sport as well… You really do need to make sure that you’re taking care of your whole self… your mind, body, your soul.”
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