Figure Skating has always been a judged sport so often obsessed with appearance and aesthetics. I am now seeing this obsession from a bit of a different perspective as I reside outside of the competitive skating bubble… and it’s honestly scary. I knew I had to sit down and write out my thoughts.
I am finding the number of figure skaters that are fixated on calories, not eating properly, and not hydrating properly a deeply concerning trend. What’s more is how public it has become in the social media era. I have read many articles, Instagram and Twitter posts from international figure skaters surrounding food recently including discussions of what they eat (which is scarily insufficient) and their training methods. They seem to brag about how they can survive off of eating as little as an apple a day!
I want to be a voice that promotes food for athletes. I want to encourage healthy eating habits and wellness for everyone! It’s a fact that we CAN eat healthy and STILL be in top shape. During my own journey, I’ve tried to help set a good example that others can model and learn from. Education is key to fighting back against these negative stereotypes. As a result, I didn’t suffer from an eating disorder. And certainly, I never avoided water because I was afraid of “water weight”!
The articles and posts circulating in the skating world scare me because they convey an unhealthy image. Don’t we athletes want to become the very best version of ourselves we can be? How can one be their best if they aren’t fuelling themselves properly? Your body is like a car. If you want your car to drive smoothly and run properly, you fuel it with the necessities! Proper nutrition and eating is that fuel! Shouldn’t we be treating our bodies the same way?
I always wanted my body to preform at it’s maximum capability every single time. I wanted to recover quickly from training sessions and keep my inflammation down to prevent injuries. I focused on eating well for energy before training, snacked during training to help with focus and concentration, and then ate properly in the evening so I could recover quickly before my next training session. Staying consistent to this cycle year-round has been a key factor to staying healthy and having a long career.
Did you know that if you don’t provide your body with the sufficient nutrients that it needs, the immune system weakens, thereby making you more susceptible to sickness? Food, especially carbs, give us energy. Carbs are NOT the enemy! They should be viewed an athletes best friend! Food allows our body to recover properly, keeping athletes injury-free and healthy. Staying hydrated is vital, as it affects our performance and overall health. All of these aspects are a part of our well-being… not only as athletes, but as human beings!
I was told that I was too big many times in my skating career. I remember the stress I felt getting my skating dresses made every year. Not because I didn’t want someone measuring my body. I was stressed knowing I had spent thousands of dollars I DIDN’T HAVE on dresses over the years only for coaches, judges and officials to tell me that it made me look too big and I needed a new one. I always tried to understand where people were coming from when they made these comments but it was difficult. All I could do was keep my focus on my training and goals. If I was a little bit bigger, but I could still do my run-throughs, my twist and land all my jumps and throws, I didn’t worry about a number on a scale or an opinion from someone else.
I don’t own a scale. I don’t have PhotoShop on my phone to edit photos “to look thinner”. I try to eat oats, chia seeds and fruits in the morning, and veggies and quinoa in the evening. Sometimes I eat cake or cookies, and that’s okay. I make sure I enjoy them, because they make me happy.
I wish people could celebrate their bodies! Be proud and take care of yourself. You have a life after sport and trust me when I say, it’s a lot more pleasant when you are healthy!
If you are wondering where to start, I suggest a couple of articles: