Friday, August 2, 2013

A little something Fitness Professionals should Ponder...

Have you ever suspected that one of your clients has an eating disorder?  Maybe they always seem exhausted, are taking two or three cardio classes each day, or lost a significant amount of weight.  The secretive aspects of eating disorders make detection challenging and possibly go unnoticed by family and friends.  This puts fitness professionals in a unique and ideal position to detect individuals who are struggling with eating disorders.  People trust their trainers, listen to them, use them as role models, and take their advice.  Because of this, it is essential fitness professionals feel equipped and confident in their abilities to address eating disorder concerns with individuals. 

Still not convinced? Consider the following food for thought... 
  • An estimated 95% of University students diagnosed with an eating disorder (both men AND women) are members of fitness centers.
  • Over one million people in Canada suffer from an eating disorder or have significant symptoms.
  • Of all psychiatric disorders, eating disorders hold the highest mortality rate due to natural and unnatural causes.
  • 25% of all reported cases are male (7 million).
  • 91% of University students attempted to control their weight through diet.

These statistics briefly shed some light on the severity of a widespread struggle that has a particular hold on people. I know for myself, I refused to allow a morsel of food pass through my lips without a punishing and exhausting workout. My body was an enemy that needed to be controlled and punished through exercise. I remember purchasing a membership at my local gym and would wake every morning at 5:00am to be the first one there, exercise for an hour per machine (bike, then elliptical, then treadmill – all while watching Food Network TV), come home by 9:00am, shower, and off to school. I would compare myself to everyone at the gym, wondering how in awe they must be of my magnificent thin creation.  But what should you say to someone like me?  What should you not say?  How can you help?  Come join me on Wednesday, August 14th at 6:00pm in the InfoFIT Education Centre where I’ll share my struggle with anorexia and help clarify this delicate and tremendously important topic of eating disorders.  I’ll dispel some myths, shed some light into what goes on in the mind of an eating disorder, discuss ways to recover, and how to approach a client.  I’ll have several resources with me and information on eating disorder programs across the Province of B.C.

Fitness professionals are very quick and happy to jump on individuals for weight loss, and it is important to be just as quick to respond to eating disorders.

Hope to see you there.


Note: The following statistics have been compiled from specific research studies and papers found on the National Eating Disorders Information Centre. These statistics may not be applicable to other groups. See for more information

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