Friday, August 20, 2010

Tip of the week by Gloria Averbuch – on the lookout for Eating Disorders

In only its second season, Women's Professional Soccer is heading for the final push toward teams vying for the precious four playoff spots for the 2010 Championship. FC Gold Pride and the Philadelphia Independence have been the solid top two, but making an impressive late run is the fast-improving Boston Breakers.

Those who play the game or who are fans, friends or family, are familiar with the troublesome topic of eating disorders. Below is important information on this subject from Food Guide for Soccer.

It's simply an unfortunate fact that eating disorders are a part of women's soccer, like many women's sports and women's lives. If you suspect your teammate(s) or friend is struggling with food issues, speak up! Anorexia and bulimia are self-destructive eating behaviors that may signal underlying depression and can be life-threatening. Below are some helpful tips. For a list of organizations dealing with food issues, check out the Internet, or Food Guide for Soccer.

• Approach the person gently but be persistent. Say that you are worried about her health. She, too, may be concerned about her loss of concentration, light-headedness, or chronic fatigue. These health changes are more likely to be a stepping-stone to accepting help, since the person clings to food and exercise for feelings of control and stability. If you are a parent, pay attention to your own player's eating habits, and those of her teammates. Consult with other parents or the coach if necessary.

• Don't discuss weight or eating habits. Address the fundamental problems of life. Focus on unhappiness as the reason for seeking help. Point out how anxious, tired, and/or irritable the person has been lately or, how unhappy she is with her performance on the field. Emphasize that she doesn't have to be that way.

• Suggest the coach or team manager distribute or post a list of resources (with tear-off websites at the bottom) where the person will see it.
Be proactive. Invite a sports nutritionist or other eating disorders expert to give a talk to the team.
Remember that you are not responsible and can only try to help. Your power comes from connecting with community resources and health professionals, such as a counselor, nutritionist, or eating disorders clinic.

Excerpted from Food Guide for Soccer-Tips & Recipes From the Pros, with Women's Professional Soccer, by Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, RD. Available on or

Gloria Averbuch/Sky Blue FC
Director, Marketing & Public Relations
Phone: 732-271-7700 x307 | Cell: 973-449-8880 Fax: 732-271-7735
80 Cottontail Lane | Suite 400 | Somerset, NJ 08873