"My mission is to empower people of all ages, races, and body sizes to embrace the body they have been given and learn to love themselves so they can live their dreams."
-Sarah Maria

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"Working with Sarah Maria has helped me to see that I am inherently loveable, beautiful, and valuable, no matter what. She has given me tools and techniques to break free from self-hatred and put love in its place. I am incredibly grateful for her and her incredible program. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to love her body and lover her life."

-Gabrielle Forleo, age twenty-six

Program Consultant,

Chopra Center for Wellbeing

 

"Sarah Maria's teachings are an amazing gift. It's an outstanding program that has changed my life! I highly recommend Sarah Maria's program to anyone who wants to experience living their most successful, beautiful life."

-Mary Schmidt, age forty-five

 

"Sarah Maria has shared many tools with me. But much more important to me, and what has been most meaningful, has been her quality of compassion. It is a gift and is like a gentle, deep awakening. Sarah Maria is a remarkable individual who works with the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual person. I cannot thank her in a way that seems adequate"

-Leigh Ann Jones, age fifty-four

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Body Image & You

Body Image and Athletes

It is no surprise that athletes are extremely conscious of their bodies, especially due to the intense training and focus that sports demand. The obsession with body type is particularly true of athletes who participate in gymnastics, wrestling, figure skating and dancing. While male athletes tend to be known for their strength and muscular physique, many female athletes gravitate toward thin, compact body types. Studies have shown female athletes are six times more likely to develop eating disorders than other women in the general population.

There are several ways to address this growing problem. Below are just a few tips and questions to ask when you are an athlete struggling with body image or a parent or coach of an athlete.

  • Training for coaches
    Coaches should to be trained to identify risky and unhealthy behaviors in their athletes, so that the issues can be immediately addressed at the onset. They need to be educated about referral sources in the community that can assist athletes with body image issues. The best coaches focus on the individual performance of the athlete rather than weight and measurements.
  • Body image and nutrition training for athletes
    Athletes in particular should have a basic understanding of proper nutrition and exercise. An athlete can not be expected to be in complete control of his or her body without knowing the cause and effect of nutrition and exercise. Tips on how to maintain a positive body image would increase their chances for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Strong role models
    In order to emulate positive behaviors in sports and lifestyles, strong role models are needed. Guest speakers and trainers can give their special insight into sports related issues and how to cope with the physical demands of being an athlete. Coaches themselves need to be positive role models and practice what they preach to those that they are coaching.
  • Open Communication
    Coaches should provide a safe, open environment for their athletes. Athletes need feel that they talk to their coaches without fear of being judged or punished. Coaches need to be understanding and open to discussion.

    Alternately, parents should also have regular discussions with the coach. Just as you have parent-teacher conferences about your student's school work, parents should receive regular updates on their student's athletic progress and any potential issues.
  • Learn responsibility and balance
    Athletes learn early to take responsibility. Help them learn how to take responsibility for their own bodies and needs. They can express their wants, needs and concerns to those that are working with them and learn to apply a positive self-image. Athletes also need to learn balance. Their sport and accomplishments are only a small part of who they are. It is critical not to neglect the other aspects of their life.

In athletics, the body and how it performs is often the primary focus. With proper training of coaches and athletes, a positive environment can be developed to help the athletes live healthy lifestyles that enhance their sport, instead of harming their health and body image.

Resources

Muscles vs. Aesthetics, Brown University

Building Positive Body Image Among College Athletes: A Socially Responsible Approach - The Ohio State University, Clothing and Textile Research Journal

 Body-Image Coaching
 




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