VIDEO: LIGHT - Eating Disorders in Professional Climbing

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 UKC News 02 Feb 2021

LIGHT is a powerful new documentary directed by Caroline Treadway that explores the little-discussed subject of eating disorders among professional climbers. Top US athletes Angie Payne, Emily Harrington, Andrea Szekely and Kai Lightnerand British climber Naomi Guy share their experiences of struggling with eating disorders and the pressure they felt to attain and maintain an ideal (light) weight and body shape for climbing. 


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 John Kettle 02 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Superb. This needs sharing widely.

In reply to UKC News:

Really interesting, although felt along way away from my experiences of climbing. I remember reading about competitive dieting between Sheffield sport climbers in the early 90s, and people saying it really wasn't safe in retrospect, and I guess that was mainly men. Wasn't it Paul Pritchard who said that lots of people took dance drugs both to have fun but also keep their weight down back in those times?

In reply to UKC News:

I think it would be great to have a follow up video to this that explains the performance benefits of eating more (or eating well?) with a load of really convincing data to back it up.  If the main goal of those that don't eat enough is improved performance, then do we need to highlight why they'll perform better with a better diet?  I would assume (but I'm not dietitian or sports scientist) that it would go something along the lines of: better eating habits = better quality training and faster recovery, leading to more quality training sooner, leading to better performance. 

I guess those with eating disorders may choose to add onto the end of that equation a massive crash diet to reach peak performance which is mentally hard to want to put weight back on from.  One of the other issues is perhaps a need to continuously climb at your peak to satisfy sponsors (or your own drive) leading to constantly being underweight.  Presumably, competition climbers periodise their weight so that they are 'heavy and healthy' when training then drop it for comps?  I guess the temptation to always be at your peak means you wouldn't want to go back up to a healthy weight after the event.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this ramble really.  Just empathising that its hard not to always think 'if i was a bit lighter I could pull a bit harder'.  When I was 22 I was around 9 stone and didn't eat enough - I felt 'light' and it felt good.  I'm now 36 and 10.5 stone.  I climb harder than I ever have but its still tempting to try and diet to feel light again.  I still often find myself thinking 'How unhealthy is it really to drop weight quickly for a goal as long as you've got the discipline to put it back on?'

In reply to UKC News:

Well worth watching. Very informative.

 C Witter 05 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Important and insightful. Thanks!

 Offwidth 05 Feb 2021
In reply to TobyA:

It was women as well. I remember overhearing a conversation about the comparative merits of various amphetamines in the early years of the Foundry.

In reply to Offwidth:

> It was women as well. I remember overhearing a conversation about the comparative merits of various amphetamines in the early years of the Foundry.

Oh! :-0 That doesn't sound good, although wasn't speed used as a diet drug for American housewives in the 1950s? (Not saying that makes it any better, but I guess it is known as an appetite suppressant).  

In reply to UKC News:

Really really good. Perfect tone and really put over. 

 Ian Parsons 18 Feb 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Interview with Caroline Treadway in the most recent Runout Podcast [Feb 16]:

https://runoutpodcast.com/


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