The Cross Country Canada Women’s Committee hosted a workshop for coaches and female athletes this year at the Ski Nationals. The Committee presented a seminar in Canmore on March 23, 2016, delivered by Dr. Natasha Kutlesa, an expert in managing female athletes at risk for disordered eating. Following in the footsteps of past years’ events, the seminar was presented in the evening, with food to encourage a social, sharing environment. The one-hour event was very successful, attracting 40 coaches and about 40 female athletes.
Dr. Natasha Kutlesa is a Registered Psychologist and a Sport Psychology Consultant. She works in Calgary with athletes, including Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and consults with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. She also teaches graduate psychology courses at the University of Calgary and Athabasca University and offers a variety of workshops and presentations to help individual athletes and teams achieve their sport, professional, and personal goals. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Calgary, her Master’s degree from University of Western Ontario, and her B.Sc. from the University of Toronto. Natasha has expertise in sport psychology, eating disorders, weight-related issues, and other personal and mental health concerns that can interfere with the athletic performance. She conducted research on perfectionism and procrastination, presented her findings at many conferences, and is currently assisting athletes, coaches, trainers, and other sport professionals with the tools for effective and supportive communication about body image, body shape, and weight.
The session discussed key symptoms of, and risk factors for, disordered eating in female athletes, and provided specific prevention strategies to develop and maintain the health of female athletes. Throughout the session, Dr. Kutlesa encouraged coaches and female athletes to participate with anonymous questions or comments. In this way, the workshop became a kind of conversation between coaches and athletes, and was tailored to our sport-specific context. Dr. Kutlesa encouraged coaches and athletes to examine their own practices and biases critically and advised everyone to try to talk about energy, rather than weight or diet, in order to have positive, open conversations about weight and body image going forward.
Dr. Kutlesa also provided athletes and coaches with a diagnostic tool to help them understand where they may fall on the spectrum of disordered eating, and when they should seek outside help.
This resource is available here (link also posted, along with other resources, on the CCC website):
Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) Clinical Assessment Tool (CAT)
National Eating Disorders Association Coach Toolkit
Relative Energy Deficiency In Sport
Talking to Female Athletes about Weight