I can't think of a better sponsor for this week's episode while we explore the topic of female body image in sports with Dr. Megan Cannon, Sports Psychologist and Erin Sparrold, Sports Nutritionist from Mind of the Athlete. This episode is brought to you by Necessary Thickness. Necessary Thickness is an idea, an approach, a movement, where the brand’s founder preaches healthy bodies & strong minds, recognizing that these elements individually vary. "Thick" is a metaphor that encompasses a better and stronger you at work, at play and at life. It's about embracing your flaws, loving yourself, and making the choices that best yield your own happiness. NT is choosing the things in life that move you closer towards achieving your own visions and goals - that make you the best version of you. To find out how you can express your thickness, go to necessarythickness.com.
You might recognize Dr. Megan Cannon (above) from episode 49 where the topic of our conversation was managing post-concussion symptoms. Dr. Cannon has extensive training within the field of psychology. She received her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University in 2013, after earning a Bachelors Degree in psychology from Wilkes University.
Dr. Cannon works with teams and athletes at all different levels in their careers across the country. She has worked with individual athletes and teams at schools such as Old Dominion University, Bucknell University, University of Pittsburgh, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Duquense University, and many more.
Erin Sparrold, CN, MET (above) is a Sports Nutritionist with the Mind of the Athlete group and has over 20 years of nutrition coaching experience. Erin holds a degree in nutrition science from the University of Arizona and a sports specific certification in metabolic efficiency training. A major focus of her studies is on nutritional interventions for treatment of anxiety and depression which can be problematic for both healthy and injured athletes. You might remember Erin from episode 55, where we talked about nutrition both for athletes looking to improve their performance on the field and for those who are out of the game either temporarily or long-term. When an athlete is out of the game due to an injury, illness, retirement or other obstacle, a focus on nutrition can help distract from negative thoughts and puts you in control of getting healthy.
The next two episodes are going to focus on body image struggles for female athletes. Megan and Erin frequently work together on this topic in both the clinical and educational settings. Next week we hear from former pro tennis player Neha Uberoi where we talk about her personal struggles with body image throughout her career. You can find notes on this weeks episode below.
Body Image Concerns for female athletes:
- The conflict: There is a huge emphasis on being "thin" in our society, but for some sports, women are required to become "bigger" and more muscular.
- How social norms influence body image perception.
- Social Media
- The challenge of athletes constantly seeking measurable results.
- The number on the scale.
- Not knowing whether it’s muscle or fat.
- Muscle GAINZ leading to tighter fitting clothes.
- The danger in developing fearful relationships with food.
- Meal Prep
- Body image perception by sport.
- Whether it’s basketball, crew, wrestling, softball or gymnastics you see a lot of pressure to be a certain body set.
- Some of these sports also depend on the position played.
- Endurance sports largely affected.
- Social medias role
- Comparing yourself to teammates, coaches, Instagram models.
- Very contradicting source of information for dieting for athletes.
- Perceptual body image vs. how others view your body image.
- The Red Flags of eating disorders.
- Coaches influence on eating disorders.
- Words can be a form of gospel to these athletes.
- Sometimes out-dated information.
- (e.g., singlet, speedo, spandex)
- Can't discourage an athlete to participate in that sport.
- The evolution of uniforms
- Sexualization vs. Performance
- Why there needs to be a shift in mentality from skinny to powerful.
- Is it okay to wear makeup while playing a sport?
- Athleta catalog shift
- Some great body image role models: