For years society has exposed us to their idea of the “perfect body.” With this being said, a certain societal standard has been set as to what the ideal athlete should look like; especially if that athlete hopes to be successful within their sport. Athletes are more likely to have a negative perspective of themselves and their skill level when comparing their bodies to that of a more “superior,” higher-skilled athlete within their same sport. An athlete should not feel their physique must be identical to that of a higher-skilled athlete in order to perform successfully. Weight and physical build-up does not truly define athletic capability. Unfortunately, many athletes are unable to realize this. The strive for the perfect body and/or increased performance often leads to eating disorders within athletes.
This topic is meaningful to me because many of my closest running friends have suffered from some sort of eating disorder. They became so caught up in becoming the skinniest because they assumed that meant they were getting into shape; which they also assumed would only lead to them becoming faster runners. No one is born with an eating disorder, but there are causal factors contributing to these disorders that commonly go unnoticed. Eating disorders are an issue that should be addressed and understood, as we live in a society that has become consumed with appearance.
A person is not anorexic or bulimic, they suffer from anorexia or bulimia. We tend to define the person by their disorder, rather than acknowledge that they are suffering from it. Regardless of which side the reader agrees with, the psychological or social, it is important to recognize the source of the problem in order to truly understand it. With eating disorders being so common, it is highly likely that one of my readers will encounter someone suffering from an eating disorder at some point or another. Hopefully the information I provide will allow my readers to realize that eating disorders are just as serious as any other disorder, and the individuals should be treated with equal compassion.