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Told she gained weight

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Lucy's Mom

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Jul 19, 2012
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Let's say there's a gymnast. She has a healthy weight and has always had a healthy weight. She is not tiny and skinny like some, but she isn't overweight.

Her coach says she noticed they are gaining weight. She also points out a few who she noticed gained some weight.

We're talking a girl who eats salads for lunch, smoothies, lots of fruit, skips dessert, and has become obsessive at times and very self couscous about her body. She is one of the ones called out.

What would your reaction be?

This happened to Lucy, aka DD.
 

krisnkids

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Personally I think if a coach was to talk to anyone about a child gaining weight they should approach the parent. And even then I don't think a coach should say "suzy is gaining weight" it should be a discussion of nutrition.

If a coach told my child that she was gaining weight (in a bad way, because my skinny minny has been told a few times, "wow you are finally gaining some weight") I would have a serious discussion with the coach with the mind of if I didn't like the coach's response and reasoning my daughter would not be attending that gym any longer.
 
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MaryA

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Not OK. One of my best friends just yesterday admitted her daughter (not a gymnast) to a hospital for anorexia treatment. Her daughter will probably never fully recover from this and it's possible that she may not even survive. This disease has totally ruled their family for over a year now. This is not something to be fooled around with. We have joked about how much sway the coaches have over our kids... how we wish the coaches would tell the girls to go home and clean their rooms because they would do it in a heart beat (rather than whine about it like when we ask them to do it). This "power" can be used for good or for ill. Talking to the girls about the importance of healthy eating is one thing. Warning them that they're gaining weight is another issue all together. I would be very concerned about this.
 

coachmolly

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I would ask to speak with the coach immediately. Unless the weight gain is presenting a significant risk to the gymnast's health and safety (and that does not sound like the case), weight should not be something brought up by the coach. They can preach about healthy eating habits and eating to fuel their bodies for a difficult sport and long hours in the gym, but I feel as though weight is a no-go area in almost all circumstances. Especially the weight of other athletes. There are too many issues that can affect weight, ones that the coach will not necessarily know about, and so many implications of a child hearing they are gaining weight from a person they respect and want to please.
If the coach is not receptive of your conversation, I would advise really thinking about getting your DD away from that coach. The potential long-term impact is just not worth it.
 

Bajanswife

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I can't imagine our coaches saying stuff like that. I look around the gym and see all sorts of sizes and shapes on the team. Extra weight only matters when it is negatively impacting the girl's performance, and even then, it depends on how much. If a girl gets stuck at a level because they are losing fitness, then the conversation with the parents will eventually be about how the coach thinks her progression has slowed and the parents need to think about if they still want to keep up with this expensive sport. If it is getting bad enough that injury is more likely, that would be part of the conversation. But just commenting on weight .... nope.
 

wallinbl

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We're talking a girl who eats salads for lunch, smoothies, lots of fruit, skips dessert, and has become obsessive at times and very self couscous about her body. She is one of the ones called out.
It sounds like she's already got a bug in her head about body image and weight. I'm of the opinion that you should change gyms now, even if that's a little harsh over a "first time" comment from a coach. I wouldn't take this situation lightly or brush it off given her existing signs of being concerned about it. I've watched my wife and other family members over the years and seen how much comments and culture eat into them on body image. A lot of it comes back to them having had someone who bugged them about it when they were growing up. That stuff sticks and doesn't easily go away. Adults - teachers, coaches, parents, family members, etc have more of an impact than other kids. I've had to tell adult family members (including in-laws, so you know how well that went) to stop talking about the weight/body shape of family members, random strangers, etc, because I want my girls to think nothing of it, and not to glean from their older relatives' incessant discussions of it that it must be important somehow.

And, look at college gymnasts - most of them are not the tiny little things that gymnasts are imagined to be, and they do quite well, and I'm sure they're very healthy.
 
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twisting007bigflip

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Ummm. Yikes.

It only takes ONE comment like that to scar someone for the rest of their life. A good friend of mine had a raging eating disorder. There were lots of contributors from family life, I'm sure...but a comment from our junior high track coach seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back. She started heavily restricting (and otherwise) when we were 14, and continued her "behaviors" through high school. Her mom had her in therapy at one point but their insurance wouldn't cover a hospitalization. 10 years ago when we were 24 she admitted herself to an inpatient program. She thought she would be there for a couple of weeks but ended up inpatient for 24 weeks and then in day program for 12. For the next 7 years she was in and out of every well known treatment center in the US (several weeks to months at a time). We are now 34. She still struggles.

Some coaches really need to learn their place...
 

SurpriseGymMom

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NOT ok at all! Our girls get bombarder with unhealthy body images as it is, they certainly do not need a trusted authority in their life telling them they need to lose weight.
Talking about healthy eating habits, yes, definitely ok, but pointing out individuals like that?? Absolutely disgusting coming from a coach. If there is a legitimate concern about a single athlete, that should be brought up in private preferably with the parent (assuming it's a minor).
I'm sorry this happened to your dd and I would have a chat with the gym owner immediately. I'm all for letting the coaches do their job while I do mine, but this is not ok. Not even close.
 
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LizzieLac

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Our coaches would never tell the girls something like that and they don't go there anyway. These girls so many calories and work so hard that there should be no reason to focus on their weight. I would not be happy at all...
 
F

Fliptwisttumble

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You need to speak with that coach immediately. They need to understand the harm they are doing. Maybe they don't realize, hopefully they care and are appalled at the reaction, but it is almost irrelevant, as the harm is done. But hopefully it will make them realize the issue as it relates to others.

I struggled with weight issues my whole life. While this doesn't seem to be a problem for your daughter, it is how those issues were addressed by my parents, family and friends have stuck with me forever (and not always in a good way). No kid needs that, whether the issue is real or perceived. You need to ensure she is removed from those situations as much as you can control.

Absolute best of luck to you and your daughter in this.
 
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Dahlia

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I would NOT be ok with that at all. Any weight issues should be brought to the parents and NEVER discussed within hearing of a child.

I've noticed my kids look "bulkier" right before a growth spurt. It's like their body pads itself for growing and then they grow and thin back out. It does not matter what they eat, it happens. I'm sure this happens with a lot of kids and coaches need to be aware of it as well. Growing bodies change. It does not mean the child is unhealthy.
 
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drjosh

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Devastating.

This occurs often in the gym and it's very sad. At Gymnast Care, we give a ton of nutrition seminars and write a ton about it. Here's my thoughts...

Optimal Nutrition is eating for performance, giving your all during athletics, and this will allow our genes (our DNA) to express themselves to their utmost potential. We (I have a gymnast too) are raising beautiful young athletes that are governed by a society that is not obsessed with health, but is obsessed with making women and girls objects.

We need to reinforce to our athletes daily that they do things others only dream about doing! They are gymnasts: strong, daring, courageous, and beautiful.

On a training note, gymnasts are very prone to hypertrophy (their muscles getting bigger, but not necessarily stronger) because of the reps they do in the gym. If your athlete is experiencing this phenomenon, it's most like due to the coach's training tactics and we can take it right back to her and ask her why she's encouraging hypertrophy in our gymnasts. I point everyone back to Dr. Bill Sands article on this subject here: http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0003/was.html
 

drjosh

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It sounds like she's already got a bug in her head about body image and weight. I'm of the opinion that you should change gyms now, even if that's a little harsh over a "first time" comment from a coach. I wouldn't take this situation lightly or brush it off given her existing signs of being concerned about it. I've watched my wife and other family members over the years and seen how much comments and culture eat into them on body image. A lot of it comes back to them having had someone who bugged them about it when they were growing up. That stuff sticks and doesn't easily go away. Adults - teachers, coaches, parents, family members, etc have more of an impact than other kids. I've had to tell adult family members (including in-laws, so you know how well that went) to stop talking about the weight/body shape of family members, random strangers, etc, because I want my girls to think nothing of it, and not to glean from their older relatives' incessant discussions of it that it must be important somehow.

And, look at college gymnasts - most of them are not the tiny little things that gymnasts are imagined to be, and they do quite well, and I'm sure they're very healthy.
@wallinbl I agree with your advice...well said!
 
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mariposa

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Not okay, I would be taking my daughter elsewhere, not sure I would even give the coach an opportunity to explain them self. It already sounds like weight has been brought up before and not in a good way.
 

Jen H.

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My reaction would be a very strong one.
In our position, I don't know that switching gyms would be a better option. I would ask for a for a formal pow wow with coach and possibly head coach, and give the coach an opportunity to say their piece,and then express my concerns...ok I would really probably punch them in the throat first, then ask.:mad:
 
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Lucy's Mom

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Wow! Very strong opinions about this being wrong. I thought at least one person would be on the other side. I'm not sure how to feel. Does the fact that the girls are 15-17 in age, change anything?
 

JBS

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What would your reaction be?
We very rarely have to have this talk with the parents. Most of the time weight gain that we notice is just a short term thing as a child develops.

In ALL of the cases where we have approached the parents of ongoing weight gain and unhealthy nutritional choices...the parents have been oblivious as they have been the ones leading their child into the these eating choices and behaviors.

We try to talk to the kids about healthy eating and nutrition...but it is ultimately the parents feeding them.
 
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