Every now and then we hear about top figure skaters or other athletes suffering from various eating disorders. As figure skating is such a visual sport and there is a huge pressure to fit certain look already because of the laws of physics (to some extend) never mind the high stress and social pressure they might encounter. What is there to help young skaters develop healthy body image and self esteem? Is it good that top skaters or other come out with their issues and share it or can it be a trigger for others? Also what can coaches etc. do to encourage healthy eating habits and training but to prevent it from going over the top?
Also, why still so many coaches and other responsible people encourage the unhealthy habits or look? For what i've understood Frank Carroll encourages dieting, which could have been in Gracie when she moved under him. She lost weight even though she was very fit for the sport already before.
And how much do skaters push each other? This is common in normal teen life when friends start dieting and follow each other and it becomes a competition. How can a skater survive in that kind of situation?
And for last, i'm often appalled here in these threads when there's constant talk about" too fat" etc. "body development".. "oh she's gonna lose her jumps when gains weight". Those might be accurate or might not, but to talk about young and fragile (by which i mean their age and development, not their athletism) skaters is such a harsh way is just horrible! We never know who reads these pages, it might not be Gracie Gold but for sure tons of young and little figure skaters who might remember forever certain words and attitudes expressed here or elsewhere. The attitude still remains deep in figure skating, that god forbid if u gain weight. Please, let's not bring it here. Assuming most of us are adults, it's just unnecessary.
This hits home for me very closely since i myself have suffered from eating disorders over 10 years now. I'm sure there were multiple reason for it to develop, but the most painful moments have been those in early childhood when someone has commented my chubbiness or weight gain and what not. Also, the moment when u lose weight u feel like 1000 dollars and it's a vicious cycle that sucks u in. All this might sound very tempting for a young skater, especially when in the beginning everything might seem easier and jumps do get better and u get attention and compliments. But let me tell u, the honeymoon turns into nightmare sooner or later.
So, not to sound too depressing, i wish for candid discussion on the subject and ideas how to help our skaters!