CSIC Workshop Focuses on Weight Issues of Female Athletes

On May 11, 2015, Registered Psychologist Natasha Kutlesa gave a presentation entitled "How to Talk About Weight to Female Athletes." The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's boardroom was filled to its twenty-four person capacity with the CSIC's coaches and support staff, underscoring the importance of the issue.

Kutlesa has been a part of the CSIC's mental performance team for ten years. After having the experience of working with many athletes who have issues with body image, disordered eating has become one of the areas that she specializes in. She conceived of the concept for this workshop after noting that there is a strong recurrence of eating disorders and body image issues among athletes. This is emphasized by research that has shown elite athletes as being more susceptible to eating disorders than the general population.

Noticing that coaches struggle to find the best ways of communicating with athletes who are battling disordered eating, Kutlesa recognized this as a good opportunity to facilitate a workshop in which coaches and therapists from different sports could share with each other and learn from others' experiences. This continuing education provided by the CSIC is one of the ways that Canadian coaches and support staff are given current relevant information.

Kutlesa put together an informative presentation that outlined the dos and don'ts of addressing the sensitive topic. She discussed signs and symptoms of disordered eating, providing methods for doing a general assessment to analyze how athletes are eating and recovering from training. She then gave suggestions for ways that staff can approach athletes' different issues using case-study examples. She reinforced the notion that if staff have concerns with one of their athletes, the first thing to do is direct them to a physician. The physician will then determine the appropriate course of action. She ensured that each person would retain the information by providing a handout titled "Coach & Athletic Trainer Toolkit."

Because of the topic's importance, Kutlesa's workshop will likely be offered again in the future. Additionally, there is discussion of forming sport-specific workshops to address the various ways that different sports uniquely influence an athlete's body image.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Sport Science Solutions, Integrated Support Team, Performance Services, Nutrition, Canadian Sport Institute Calgary Team, Natasha Kutlesa


Copyright ¬© 2013 Canadian Sport Institute Calgary | All Rights Reserved | Photo Credit : Dave Holland