You want to be healthy in the mind as well as the body, right? So do you think a gym is a place of healthy attitudes and positive role models? Unfortunately, it’s not always the best place for our mind or bodies especially when we are moving for the wrong reasons. Many times, I encourage my clients to move but fear they will get caught up in over-working their bodies, or triggered when their trainer or instructor give unsolicited diet advice or encourages more than one spin class a day. Well my colleague had the brilliant idea to create a training program to educate fitness specialists/trainers at the gym how to work with health seekers in a way that honors both the mind and body. This amazing training helps the gym employees to identify individuals with eating disorders and gives them tools to work with clients in a healthy way rather than encouraging the disorder. Read on to learn about Jodi’s Destructively Fit and perhaps think about whether or not your health club needs a little bit of Jodi’s energy.
By Guest Blogger, Jodi Rubin
Eating disorders have always been my passion. They have been my specialty since I began my LCSW private practice more than a decade ago. Over the years, I’ve directed a program for eating disorders, currently teach a curriculum I created on eating disorders at NYU’s Graduate School of Social Work, and have done a few other things. Yet, I have not found a way to connect my love of healthy fitness and honoring one’s body with my passion for helping those struggling with eating disorders.
The issue of eating disorders within fitness centers is a ubiquitous one. I’ve seen people spending hours on the treadmill, heard countless patients recounting their obsessiveness with the gym, and others seeming as though their self-esteem became immediately deflated if they couldn’t work out hard enough, fast enough or long enough. The research I have done has revealed that the presence of eating disorders within fitness centers is “sticky” and “complicated” and gets very little attention. Through no fault of anyone in particular, if people aren’t given the education and tools, then how can anyone feel knowledgable and confident enough to address this sensitive issue?
I went directly to fitness professionals to see what they thought about eating disorders within the fitness industry. As I suspected, it was clear that there was not a lack of interest in this issue. Quite the contrary. Most, if not all, of those with whom I spoke were eager and excited to finally have a forum in which they could learn about eating disorders and how to approach the issue. That’s when DESTRUCTIVELY FIT™: demystifying eating disorders for fitness professionals™ was born. I created this 3-hour training with the goal of educating those within the fitness industry about what eating disorders are and what to do if they notice that someone may be struggling. It has since been endorsed for continuing education by both the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has sparked the interest of variety of fitness clubs. Check out Destructively Fit™ in the news here!
Some stats for you…
• 25 million American women are struggling with eating disorders
• 7 million American men are struggling with eating disorders
• 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat
• 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they are dieting
• 45% of boys are unhappy with their bodies
• 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities, like giving an opinion and going to the doctor, because they feel badly about their looks
• An estimated 90-95% of those diagnosed with eating disorders are members of fitness centers