NOT ONE MORE x McCallum Place
In The Victory Program at McCallum Place, we want to create a sports culture where Not One More athlete has to endure an eating disorder because of the environment sports can create.
On a personal note, I once had a mentor say to me, “when you imagine the world you want to create, be clear about what you want, rather than what you don’t want.” This messaging has resonated with me since hearing it, and I’d like to share my hope for a world of athletics that I wish to see, one that fosters longevity and joy in sport.
I envision a sports environment where…
- Before practice, athletes fuel themselves adequately. Athletes practice and give their best effort while understanding that “best-effort” can look differently depending on the specific day and circumstances. Athletes’ internal body cues are trusted and prioritized over any specific workout plan/metric. A workout is adjusted if an athlete feels tired, or is healing from injury or illness. Athletes check in with their body cues throughout practice to ensure they are challenging themselves in ways that support performance rather than being detrimental to it.
- Athletes and coaches work together to create an environment that values performance and each individual as a person. In my hope, athletes do not feel pressured to change their bodies in the name of performance, and coaches do not integrate harmful beliefs surrounding food, body, and performance fueled by diet culture.
- Coaches understand that athletic culture does not exist in a vacuum and they consider how systems of power and oppression impact team dynamics.
- Outside of practice, coaches encourage athletes to build identities outside of sport. This encouragement gives the athlete permission to engage in meaningful personal relationships and non-sport hobbies and interests. Creating a sense of self and meaning outside of athletics helps create a well-rounded identity, a protective factor in the event of athletic identity foreclosure.
- Throughout the day, athletes nourish themselves. They recognize that food is more than fuel; it is an opportunity for connection with their culture, family, friends, and teammates. With this in mind, athletes choose foods that fit their cultural identity, taste preference, and budget. Athletes find pleasure in the food they eat and do not have “rules” about foods they can/can’t eat. Athletes engage in flexible and spontaneous eating, going out for impromptu food-focused social events with teammates.
If we work to make this world of athletic culture a reality, it is possible that Not One More athlete will struggle with an eating disorder due to their engagement in sport. Not One More athlete will be negatively affected by diet culture within athletics. Not One More athlete will have to choose between their health and competition. Not One More athlete will lose their love for sport.
The Victory Program at McCallum Place in St. Louis, Missouri is the nation’s first, and only, residential eating disorder treatment facility specifically for athletes and performers. Residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and transitional living provide a full continuum of treatment options for every stage of recovery. With the support of a Sport Psychologist, Sport Dietitian, and Strength and Conditioning Coaches, The Victory Program uniquely addresses an athlete’s relationship to sport, as well as their sport performance and identity as a competitive athlete. To find out more about the one-of-a kind treatment for athletes The Victory Program has to offer, visit www.thevictoryprogram.com.