Thursday, November 10, 2011

Female athlete triad

As of late, I have been thinking extensively about what else I could contribute to this blog other than provide recipes and ideas to fuel or re-nourish our bodies. So other than talk about certain food, I want to address something that can can happen to women if there are imbalances in our lifestyle.

I would have to admit that being a female is psychologically exhausting with the need to always to be perfect and just plainly better than our best girlfriend. Now bring in athletics and school, and our world becomes even more intense.  Sometimes this need to be perfect in all aspects in our lives can lead to us neglecting our bodies with the right psychological and physical nourishment.

The female athlete triad, is a risk that more girls are falling within. It is a combination of 3 conditions: disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis.  Some can have all 3, or just one or two, but the consequences of the either one can impair a person's quality of life.

1. disordered eating:
Just as any girl can critcize their "looks," a girl that has the female athlete triad will use athletic performance as a way to justify sudden weight loss. Disordered eating goes hand-in-hand with avoiding foods that they think are "bad" like high-fat foods, cutting carbs, or sugar more than a normal person would, or only eating at certain times of day, measuring all foods obsessively, etc. Sometimes this disordered eating can lead to an even more destructive eating disorder like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

2. Amonorrhea:
 When not enough calories are being eaten and exercise is intense for athletes, a decrease in estrogen causes a girl's menses to become irregular or stop. At times this normal,  so if this happens it does not mean that you have amenorrhea, but if it happens for 3 months or more, talk to your doctor. There may be a possibility of pregnancy . The decrease in estrogen happens because of low body fat and body weight. To check if you are at a healthy body weight for your height you can calculate your body mass index. There is a link to calculate at the bottom of the page

3. Osteoporosis:
Since estrogen levels are low and there is poor nutrition involved, low calcium intake is probably happening as well. Low calcium can cause osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bones in loss of bone density and bone formation. Basically your bones become porous like a sponge, and increase your chances of stress fractures, which can stall or ruin your athletic career. 

This information on the female athlete triad is not meant to scare you, but to INFORM you about what can happen if proper nutrition is not thought about logically in attempts to lose weight or increase athleticism.  Please find healthier ways to achieve your goals and talk to a registered dietian, coach, or counselor if you you feel something is wrong.

Until next time,
Starla Garcia
for more info:go here
for BMI calculator  click here

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