Jenny’s Recovery Story: To the Athletes who are Struggling
**This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist as needed.
Jenny Scherer was a college athlete who struggled with anorexia. She is currently recovered and is a runner, yogi, and WI sports fan. Jenny works to help student-athletes learn, develop and thrive.
To the Athletes Out There Struggling with Food, Body Image, and Exercise…
Remember that you are not alone and that you never have to struggle silently.
If you are an athlete who is battling an unhealthy relationship with your body image, food, and exercise, I would recommend that you start pursuing more answers as soon as possible. For example, you can take a free, confidential assessment that will help you understand and recognize the presence of an eating disorder in your life. These resources can help athletes determine if it’s time to seek professional help.
Next, I’d recommend talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling, whether that is a teammate, a friend, a coach, an athletic trainer, or a parent. Know that they may not be well-educated on eating disorders, so talking about assessments you have taken or treatment center websites you have consulted could be a good way to help you discuss the topic.
As I mentioned above, I suggest talking with a friend you trust. I recommend trying to find a comfortable place away from other people and distractions so that you can talk openly about your concerns and feelings. Explain in detail your thoughts and behaviors related to food, body image, and exercise that you are concerned about. Talk about when they began developing, and why you have continued them. You can also talk about the symptoms you’re experiencing, and that you’re trying to find more help. Someone who cares about you wants the best for you, so telling this person – even if they aren’t exactly sure how to find you specific help related to eating disorder recovery – means having someone who is willing to continue to check in on you and be available to listen, which is incredibly important.
Many other competitive athletes battle issues with their body image, food, and exercise. As someone who has been there, it is far better to seek help than to try to continue to compete with distorted thoughts and behaviors controlling your life. Eating disorders can trick you in to thinking you’re fine, but over time their grip is all-consuming. You will not be able to sustain competing and performing at a high level with an eating disorder. And there is no such thing as “not sick enough” to ask for help. If you think you have a problem, take an assessment and reach out to someone you trust for help. There are so many people who care about you and can help you get better. All athletes deserve to have a healthy relationship with body image, food, and exercise!