Eating Disorders

Many sports are focussed on the way you look - whether it is an aesthetic sport such as gymnastics where there may be pressure to be a certain weight, or sports like rugby where your muscle tone might be scrutinised. It can be overwhelming when all eyes are on you, and you feel like you are being judged not only for your performance but for the way you look.

There are different types of eating disorders, with the most common being anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder (BED), or other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).

Symptoms of eating disorders will vary depending on which type you have, but they are generally categorised by an unhealthy relationship with food. This can include:

  • Worrying excessively about food and weight

  • Eating very little or starving yourself

  • Adopting very strict rules or habits around food, which could include restrictive portion control and calorie counting

  • Deliberately forcing food out of yourself (e.g. laxatives or throwing up)

  • Exercising too much

  • Wearing different clothes to hide weight loss or gain

  • Avoiding social situations where food or drink may be involved

  • Disruptions to your period

  • Feeling dizzy or light headed

  • Feeling cold or tired

It is also important to remember that although eating disorders occur more frequently in women, it is something many male athletes will also struggle with.

Do you think you have, or know someone who has an eating disorder? Click the buttons below for further information around support.

Please note, this information is not intended to encourage people to self-diagnose. Please seek help from a medical professional if you feel that you need support with your mental health.

If you need urgent mental health support please contact Samaritans on 116 123. If your life is in danger, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. There is no shame in asking for help.