20| Stephanie Roth-Goldberg, endurance athlete and psychotherapist: What athletes need to know about intuitive eating

Like many endurance athletes, Stephanie Roth-Goldberg assumed her weight played a big role in her performance. As a marathoner and an Ironman triathlete, she didn’t think there was anything wrong with chronically missing her period. It took a cycle of multiple injuries for her to realize there was, in fact, something seriously wrong with the picture. 

Today Stephanie is a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, and specialist in eating disorders. She’s also the founder of Intuitive Psychotherapy NYC, a small group practice that specializes in working with folks with eating disorders from an anti-diet, Health At Every Size approach. Stephanie is passionate about working with athletes at all levels and people looking to heal their relationships with exercise.

Connect with Stephanie
Website: https://www.intuitivepsychotherapynyc.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/intuitivepsychotherapynyc
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/embodiedpsychotherapist/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-l-roth-goldberg-lcsw-r-20023419/

In this episode, we talked about…

  • The messages Stephanie got from her family on the size your body plays in whether you have “permission” to eat certain foods.
  • Being part of the NYC running community in grad school 
  • How a running injury led her to discover swimming…. Which led to her first triathlon, a sprint-distance event. and ultimately an Ironman.    
  • How undereating led to chronic injuries. 
  • Letting go of the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon
  • The mental health resources that were missing when Stephanie needed them
  • The impostor syndrome that arise when she opened her private practice and how she coped (and why anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) 
  • Finding a happy medium between fueling for performance and eating for pleasure. 
  • Why athletes often struggle with the taper period and how to make it easier. 
  • How athletes who thrive on structure can start to experiment with intuitive eating 
  • What she’s doing to raise kids with healthy body image and a good relationship with food 
  • Setting boundaries around diet talk 
  • What intuitive movement is 
  • The problem with the before and after photo trend — including photos where the “after” photo is larger. 
  • Why Stephanie doesn’t post photos of herself on her professional Instagram feed. 

I had about four stress fractures on my left foot. And my bones just would not heal. I saw a bone specialist and learned all about bone density. And even I knew these things but learning and digesting things are different. and I had to do a year of treatment for my bones.

The goal became keeping my period understanding how much of a role that plays in bone health and longevity in sport.

It was really confusing but there weren’t any therapists available to help me sort through my challenges with being an athlete, wanting to be healthy. 

No one really has everything figured out.

Not only do I perform better, but I really am just easier to be around whether that means easier by myself to be around or easier for others to be around. Life is more fun when you eat in a more free way, you can go out spontaneously with friends and not worry about looking at a menu ahead of time.

You just stop thinking about food and you can have so much more in your life when you are not obsessing about it. 

We have to continue breaking the stigma down of what someone looks like to be an athlete.  I think oftentimes people are so afraid of gaining weight and how it will affect their performance,  that is where the hyper control over food happens.

If we could let go of the idea of gaining weight, your body will adjust to what you’re eating and be able to perform.

 Your body knows what it’s doing.

We have to connect with our bodies to trust our bodies.

You don’t question if you are thirsty. For the most part, we don’t question when we have to urinate. So why is it that we think being hungry is some kind of malfunction?

So the idea of just go and eat whatever your body feels like is awesome. But it’s really unrealistic for a lot of people. So allowing there to be structure within an experiment is helpful.

With intuitive movement, with intuitive eating too, you do really have to do a lot of work on letting go of what the body ideal is. You really have to disentangle what your body looks like from what exercise you choose to do in order to truly have intuitive movement.

People don’t actually have to move or exercise. No one owes anyone their health.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 
Ellyn Satter – The Division of Responsibility 
Bodies Are Cool  
I Like Me! Nancy Carlson 
The Lily article re: before/after photo trend
Intuitive Eating

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