Fast as lightening, skinny as a stick

ImageMy daughter is 5’7 – maybe even 5’8. She is smart (unfortunately for me a little too damn smart at times); thin and muscular (she’s an athlete; probably weighs 130 pounds, wears a size 2); she is nice (to everyone except her 12-year old sister); she is beautiful (really, I’m not just saying that ‘cause she’s mine); and, most importantly, she is confident – well, for a 14-year old girl she is fairly secure.

But now this …

Now this … her coach wants her to lose weight.

“Not too much,” he said. “Five to 10 pounds. Gotta get it off her.”

I nod my head – listening, not agreeing. Not really even sure if I am hearing this correctly …

“What can we cut out of her diet? Soda? Chips?”

“She doesn’t drink soda,” I said.

“We gotta find something. A little weight off would make her the hottest runner her age.”

Hottest? Did he say hottest?? I walk away … let it all sink in … I know this man. He did NOT mean ‘hot’ in the way that it came across – of that I am certain. But. My daughter is fast. Very fast. But … she would be lightning fast (and hot like fire) if she lost the weight. That’s what he’s implying … right?

OK. Here’s the thing … I was a competitive runner. I get the weight thing – I do. Simple physics – but there is a fine line between being too thin where you become too weak to be effective and carrying that said extra few pounds that can weigh a runner down. But. Being that I was a competitive runner, I also struggled with eating disorders – as did most of the other young women I trained with. And once you have an eating disorder, it never fully goes away. It hides. Especially with good counseling and support of others … but it’s always there. Always.

My daughter is 14. I do not want her plagued by the monster that crowded my every thought when I was younger … and yet, if I don’t say something to her, her coach probably will. Or will he?

It’s not often I search for opinions out there in the wide world of the blogosphere, but if you have any thoughts, please, share them … I feel torn – anything I do or say could backfire one way or the other … sorry, no sarcasm in today’s post … I’m too busy being a concerned mother to dream up something witty to write about …

19 comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. As a swim coach, I’m well aware of how important “lean and mean” can be for competition, but I’ve also seen young women develop eating disorders when a well-meaning, but highly competitive coach suggested that “losing a little weight” will help the athlete’s performance.

    What if you spoke frankly with the coach about your own struggles with eating disorders and specifically ask him to not put that pressure on your daughter? She’s only 14, for goodness sake! Athletics can be fun, exciting, stimulating, but they always need to be kept in perspective. What’s the big picture here?

    • I expect some issues – I mean it’s “natural” for girls to be concerned … I guess … but I just don;t want to accentuate any issues – I decided to take her to see a sports nutritionist – sort of for fun … hopefully that will at least get her interested in eating the correct foods :) Thing is, she is thin – ugggghhhhh

  2. Wow…. I would certainly let the coach know that it is off limits to discuss weight Period, end of discussion. Knowing your daughter, she strikes me as sophisticated enough to see through the need for a nutritionist as a ploy to lose weight especially when she already eats healthy and has the energy needed to Kick ass. Now, that is my opinion.
    Being that you were quite the track star you have an insight into this debate that most don’t have. What would you say to the young Shauna?

    • I mentioned seeing a sports nutritionist to her … just off the cuff … she seemed to think it was a good idea … who knows – I’ll keep you posted.

  3. I can completely understand your concern and I’d feel the exact same way if I was in your shoes. Having an eating disorder, I don’t desire for anyone else to ever have to deal with one. It seems like this could set her up for an eating disorder. Being so concerned about her weight to increase her speed. But then those few pounds she loses won’t be enough. She may think that losing a few more will make her even more faster and on and on. When will enough be enough? She could potentially really harm her running ability if she ends up cutting too much from her diet and not giving her body the proper nutrition she needs.

    If you want an expert opinion, I agree that seeing a sports nutritionist would probably offer you the best expert advice and even help her develop a healthy diet plan to make sure she can get optimum performance while still being healthy.

    • I am going to take her to a sports nutritionist – I just don;t want her think it’s because of the weight – for the love of God the girl is thin! BUT,all athletes have to understand how proper nutrition can affect them … thanks for your comment – it’s a cray time :)

  4. i would be abpt to let a little time run its course. Inddor soccer all winter and lots of snow shrinking the window of time in which she can do all the winter training. Outdoor starts in 2 weeks and track on top of that.. She will be just fine.

  5. Hmmmm…..don’t like this but get it. I was such a bad eater that I broke my left leg off running waaaay to much and not eating properly. However, she is 14! I would go to a sport nutritionist doctor. NCAA headquarters in Indy-got to be some specialist doc there to reach out to?

    Lots of love,

    Sal

    PS. Yoga better for her. ;-)

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