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  • Writer's picturekat shultis

To my athletes, I'm sorry...

To the girl in college sports…
I was there one time too, it’s weird how something you are so far removed from still makes an impact. Don’t get me wrong, college athletics and the programs I have been involved in are amazing. 
 We all know the stereotypes of being in certain collegiate sports though. As a distance runner you are expected to be the tiniest in everything you do. In college, even outside of sport arenas, like church, if I was not the smallest in the room I literally thought “I am not skinny enough” and started to play the comparison game. 
 I had a coach tell me “its okay some people just gain about ten pounds during injury and then never lose it and never get fast again.” This was during my lowest point of depression and injuries my freshman year when I already had a HORRIBLE relationship with food and my body and the recovery process. 
 Gosh it just makes me tear up. To the girl in college sports.. i'm sorry. I’m sorry for the stereotypes that are forced on you because of your sport even though you are different than any one else in your field and should not be compared. 
 One time the cross country girls were walking back from a football game at Baylor and we had student athlete shirts on, one person stopped us and wanted to guess our sports, they guessed I was a soccer player. Instead of thinking “yaaa gosh, that’s sick, they think I look strong and powerful” my mind immediately got so emo and thought “that means they think my quads are big and a runner shouldn’t have big quads.” It is insane to see the way our minds can spiral when something triggers us because of what we are told we are “supposed to be.” 
 To the girl who forgot to order your salad dressing “on the side” cause you genuinely like dressing and then got reprimanded by the coach for not being healthy, im sorry?? I have SEEN this happen, not being dramatic. To the guys who run 10-20 miles a day who had a coach say “do you know how many calories is in that bread stick?” the night before a race, IM SORRY cause what?! That just shouldn’t be happening. 
 Food is fuel, not some sort of “cursed” thing that we have to count out to the ‘nth degree. I hate how a love for sports can be tainted into a hatred of food?? Like how did that even start to happen? 
 Even in high school I remember not eating my sandwich at lunch sometimes just because I knew I had to cross train that day since I was in a season of injury and wouldn’t be able to run. I would be STARVING in my classes but so sad about running and not being able to compete that did it matter?? Makes me tear up cause I know I am not even close to being the only one who struggled with this. 
 I remember one time my mom sat me down in high school when I did not want to eat dinner and she said “no. we are not dealing with this too.” She had been the one taking me to COUNTLESS doctors appointments for all of my injuries and she said “no, we are not having an eating disorder on top of all of this, you are going to eat.” Love her ahah. Honestly SO thankful she said that because even if I have struggled with body image stuff I have never had a clinically diagnosed eating disorder and it has never gotten to the point where it has severely impacted my health and that is because my mom, someone I look up to said “NO.” 
 But what do we do when someone we look up to like a coach says “you have to.”
So many of us are around amazing teammates and staff but still have so many insecurities from different experiences we have had that fester underneath the surface. What do we do with that? I think it is the most encouraging thing when someone goes against the grain. One of my roommates my freshman year was the fastest girl on the team and she ate literally whatever she wanted, it seemed like she had no confidence issues whatsoever. It inspired me to not worry so much. The world is not going to end if you eat a burger and ice cream. 
 I do think it is extremely important to train hard and eat the right things to have proper nutrition when you are pursuing excellence in a sport, but not to the obsessive extent we cannot enjoy food and properly fuel our body, that is where it gets dangerous. 
 So, this blog was basically just to say I’m sorry if it feels like you have been cheated by the system, the stereotypes, the things that were said to you by someone who didn't realize the damage of their words. But you still get to make decisions for yourself. You get to instill a confidence to be different, and not hate your body, but give it exactly what it needs in a certain season. You get to be disciplined in your eating, whether that means eating less or eating more or certain things, to help achieve your goals. Maaad grateful for all our bodies can do and that food allows us to continue to push our bodies one day at a time. 

Thanks for reading, comment below <3 

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