Dietician talks with girls’ cross country about being healthy athletes

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Dietician Heather Caplan with the girls’ cross country team. (Photo by Ms. Bagley)

“Who wants to be brave and name one thing they really like about their body?”

This was the first question posed by Heather Caplan to the St. John’s girls’ cross country team on Sept. 27 at a workshop centered on how to be a healthy athlete.

Caplan is a dietician who works for Lane 9, an organization aiming “to empower women struggling in the ninth lane. If you’re an active woman with disordered eating and/or amenorrhea, we want you to know you’re not alone, you’re not stuck, and you’re not done,” according to the organization’s website.

In running, disordered eating and eating disorders are startlingly prominent among women. Having low energy efficiency, irregular periods, and/or decreased bone mineral density can lead to the diagnosis of the female athlete triad, or RED-S. These issues stem from not fueling one’s body with the proper nutrients, actions often perpetuated by the idea that smaller means faster.

Caplan’s presentation emphasized fuel, flexibility, food freedom, fitness, healthy body, and positive body image. Each of these are important to be a healthy and successful athlete.

Coach Gaby Grebski, team member Cady Hyde ’20, and her mother, Courtney Hyde, coordinated the presentation to help bring awareness.

The event “made us appreciate that we all have different bodies that allow us to do something similar that makes us a team,” said team captain Sara Miller ’19. “It made us more confident around each other,” said Annie Hagerty ’19.

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