Introduction of a clear, consistent servings-based nutrition model and discussion of energy dynamics, weight change, and macronutrient roles in performance empowered this middle distance runner to understand and integrate her nutrition needs where plate models and calorie-counting apps had previously failed her. Uncontrolled weight loss is a sign of low energy availability and increases athlete risk for hormonal disturbances, overtraining, fractures, and more. Previous practitioner focus on “healthy, whole food” ideas within plate models as well as inconsistent food recommendations had confused her ability to understand and prioritize her nutrition needs and did not result in sustainably increased energy intake or weight. Following goal restoration of about half of initial weight lost and maintenance via performance-centric (vs. weight-centric) fueling strategies, this runner set a cascade of PRs and broke into the top 50 national rankings and qualified for championships in her first collegiate year. She reported that instead of worrying about eating the right things and being perfect like in the past (language introduced by previous practitioners), she was able to focus more on simply meeting her needs with a wide variety of available foods and was enjoying running with less stress.
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