Eating Disorders in Wrestling
Start writing a post
Sports

Eating Disorders in Wrestling

It's time to break the stereotypes and make more changes

1598
Eating Disorders in Wrestling
Lydia Bellows

If I say “bulimia” what is the image that comes to mind? Let me guess. A middle school or high school age white girl with blonde hair who is incredibly thin. But where did you get this image? Personally, I got this image from my middle school health book. But what I never remember our teacher saying males get this eating disorder almost as much as women. As I’ve grown up and experienced the world, I have heard horror stories about boys who put large strains on their body. And all of these boys have one thing in common: wrestling.

Imagine going for a morning run, but before you leave you have to be prepared. You grab one trash bag, cut holes for your arms and head and put it on. Next, goes a t-shirt. Then another trash bag. Then a hoodie. Then another trash bag. When I first heard about this practice, my first thought was “this is insane”. But to many high school and college wrestlers, this is completely normal.

Dangerous weight loss mainly revolves around weight classes. Weight classes are categories of competitors matched by weight and were established to ensure fairness. If wrestlers are at the bottom of the weight class, therefore supposed to wrestle people larger than themselves, they will be encouraged to lose weight in order to change weight classes and increase the chance for a win. This is where the dangers begin.

Wrestlers use saunas and trash bags in order to lose water weight, but they also change their diet drastically. Not only will some wrestlers not eat for several days, or only consume minimal amounts of food, but they are also expected to maintain a strict exercise schedule. First, the athletes will become dehydrated from sweating to lose water weight and not replenishing fluids. Even if they were to attempt to replenish these fluids before a match, it takes between 24 and 48 hours to fully replace body fluids. Then the athletes will also have a lower amount of muscle glycogen, which takes up to 72 hours to replace. This leads to an endless cycle all season of wrestlers losing valuable fluids and lean muscle which will not be replenished until the season ends.

In 1998, three collegiate wrestlers actually died while attempting to lose weight, which just shows the dangers of this weight loss system and the eating disorders that come with it. After these men died, the NCAA quickly changed several rules in regards to wrestling, then conducted a study several years later to gauge their success. They added six pounds to every weight class, had weighing closer to the competition, required a minimum weight based on body fat composition at the beginning of the season, and gave wrestlers 3 months to meet competitive weight.

These changes made by the NCAA have made a small, but significant impact on the sport of wrestling. More coaches are being educated in the science of eating disorders and how to spot them. More athletes are realizing that a healthy body far outweighs winning a match. More people of the general public are becoming aware of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the people who the disease plagues. As a society, we must be prepared to break our stereotypes, such as mine about the skinny, bulimic white girl, in order to be aware of how we can help athletes of the future compete in a safer and more educated world.

From Your Site Articles
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Ford Cars That We Love

There's a good chance we've all driven a Ford or spent a lot of time at Ford, but what are some of the best cars they've ever made?

251
Ford Cars That We Love
Photo by Jessy Smith on Unsplash

There are arguably few bigger automakers than Ford. They are a company that shaped the auto industry as we know it today and with a solid reputation in the industry, our wide range of Ford leases has always been a popular choice among drivers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Prose: One Call

What if you had one call, but you could not say anything other than what you were told to say? In this short excerpt, Bethany finds herself at odds with her jailers and with the one she was told to call, the one she loves. What would you do when the conversation takes a turn off script?

1182
Prose: One Call
https://unsplash.com/s/photos/jail

With each incessant numbing ring of the phone call, I could feel the betrayal coiling around me like the phone line, squeezing me tighter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

62336
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

87906
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

82614
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments