Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Appetites

This article* made me giggle a little because the athletes' "problem" sounded a lot like the "problem" of refeeding: how to pack in way more calories than the average person eats. My dietician once told me that as long as I was underweight, she wouldn't care if I ate french fries and donuts for every meal, because staying underweight was more dangerous than eating fast food. I guess for athletes burning off thousands and thousands of calories day after day, the only real way to sustain themselves is with super high-cal, processed foods.

But, of course, there are some glaringly obvious differences between world-class athletes and recovering anorexics, which may account for the fact that my experiences don't exactly line up with the researcher's statement at the end of the article:

"The overwhelming body of science...continues to show that any diet will succeed if you take in fewer calories than you burn."

I know for a fact that there have been times when I've taken in fewer calories than I've burned, and my weight loss has stagnated, or vice versa: times when I've taken in more calories than I've burned and not gained. So maybe "the overwhelming body of science" only applies to healthy bodies.

* contains calorie amounts - although they're BIG numbers, not lame little anorexic ones


  1. I thought the same thing when I read it! And yes, my dietitian was totally okay with me eating Ben & Jerry's by the pint as the easiest way to get enough calories into me when I was in major refeeding mode.

  2. Oh and meant to mention, the calories in vs calories out rule has definitely failed me over and over again during relapses, recoveries, etc. Metabolisms are not quite that simple, but like you said, during relapse/recovery your body is a lot different from that of an elite athlete.

  3. Thanks for posting this! I do like how they point out that eating "healthy" would be super difficult in getting the calories in. The body just needs what it needs. And I totally agree that metabolism isn't necessarily tied up in a neat little equation involving cals in and out. It never holds true for me, although I think the equation might have been constructed based on a healthy metabolism unaffected by an ED. Oops!

  4. This is true. I remember it being so hard being an athlete AND a recovering anorexic. I couldn't gain weight for anything. My coach almost lowered my mileage until I agreed to take in a whopping 3500 calories/day! It was tough, but I EVENTUALLY gained!
    Anyway, found your blog through my own, and I wanna say thank you for all of your sweet comments. It means the world to me. And I love your blog. *following now* :)
    xoxo Haley

  5. yup, the calories-in, calories-out equation has failed me many times too!