Changing the way we talk about eating disorders: learning from four-time Obstacle Racing World Champion Amelia Boone

By Daniel Friedman @ddfriedman

Last year, Dr Osman Ahmed championed BJSM’s “Patient Voices”, a series for patients and athletes to share their stories with the sport and exercise medicine community. We aim to provide a platform for patients and athletes to feel empowered and tell their story in the way that they want.

For our 400th podcast episode (yes, 400!), four-time Obstacle Racing World Champion, ultrarunner and attorney Amelia Boone sits down to chat about her battle with anorexia for the past 20 years. In July 2019, Amelia wrote publicly on her blog about her eating disorder, shining a light on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), athlete mental health and her recovery process.

Amelia is one of the most decorated obstacle racers in history. Over her career, she has reached the podium more than 50 times and has had over 30 victories. Her obstacle racing career highlights include:

  • 3 x winner of the World’s Toughest Mudder (2012, 2014, 2015)
  • Spartan Race World Champion 2013
  • Spartan Race Points Series Champion (2013 & 2015)
  • 3 x Death Race Finisher (Winter 2012, Summer 2012, Summer 2013)

In this 20-minute podcast, Amelia discusses:

  • Her motivation for sharing her story
  • The impact of success on perception of food and body image
  • Common myths about athletes and eating disorders
  • What has (and hasn’t) worked well with different clinicians
  • How we should change the way we are talking about eating disorders

On behalf of the whole BJSM community, we would like to thank Amelia for her time, courage and bravery to speak so openly about her experiences.

To find out more about Amelia’s story or follow what she is up to, check out:

Twitter @ameliaboone/ Instagram @arboone11/ Blog

Further Reading

Female Athlete Health BJSM E-edition

Joy E, Kussman A, Nattiv A2016 update on eating disorders in athletes: A comprehensive narrative review with a focus on clinical assessment and management British Journal of Sports Medicine 2016;50:154-162

Reardon CL, Hainline B, Aron CM, et alMental health in elite athletes: International Olympic Committee consensus statement (2019) British Journal of Sports Medicine 2019;53:667-699.

Mountjoy M, Sundgot-Borgen JK, Burke LM, et al IOC consensus statement on relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S): 2018 updateBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:687-697.


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