The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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COLUMN: Body image within athletes

Sia DeyKoontz
Chloe Proffitt

When it comes to athletics, how far would one go to achieve their goals? As an athlete, one will do the unthinkable to achieve their standards.

For me and many other athletes, our mind creates a hypothesis known to fail in the long run: morph our body into the “ideal” size or shape.

But how does one define ideal?

Truth: there is no “perfect” body type.

My body does a lot for me. I am a Division I cross country and track athlete.

I run miles upon miles. I am fit, and I am strong. I am grateful for what all she does for me, but I’m not happy with her.

I look in the mirror and tear myself to shreds. I see a picture, and I think my thighs are too big.

Why don’t I look like other runners? This mind game is relentless and all-consuming.

My whole life I have been an athlete under the spotlight of performance to the highest standard. Along with that, I have dealt with an eating disorder and many body image struggles along the way.

In high school, I fell deep into the trap, and I was convinced that being smaller would lead to faster times. In reality, I had no idea what the real destruction was doing to my body.

I was running on empty, physically and mentally drained, and my body began to fail itself.

I got weaker, and days would drag on and on till I was taken out of my sport for something I believed would be the fix all to better times.

I was hospitalized. I was forced to take a step back and look at food and my body from a different angle.

The sad reality: I am not alone in this. Many other athletes have faced the same or similar struggles.

I hate the idea that there is one body type that fits all for any sport.

That is nothing but lies.

There are so many factors that lead us to this skewed way of thinking. According to statistics from Bridget Clerkin, an alarming 84% of college athletes have experienced patterns and symptoms of eating disorders.

One of the most common eating disorders in athletes is orthorexia. Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy, and it is one of the most common eating disorders found within athletes.

What is even more alarming is how little an athlete’s body image is talked about and the lack of awareness there is about body image.

Many just assume athletes are in the best shape of our lives, and we are competing at such a high level, so why would we be stressing over how we look?

Those people are wrong. So many athletes are at high risk for an eating disorder, especially with our competitive nature.

Dissatisfaction within the body can bring out the worst mentally which seeps into performance, and this is exactly why body image and eating disorders within athletes should be talked about more.

We need to create an open space for athletes to talk and know they are not alone in this debilitating mind battles.


Chloe Proffitt can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Chloe Proffitt, Sports Reporter
Chloe Proffitt is a freshman nutrition and dietetics major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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