“I think first of all, it is so easy to dismiss this diagnosis and think there must be something else the matter, because the symptoms are so extreme and it is hard to believe that it can be something as simple and as basic as an energy imbalance. But it really can. And until I was brave enough to get really honest with myself and almost reach a point where I had to admit that there was an energy imbalance there, it was hard to buy into it.'”
British runner Pippa Woolven was 19 and running collegiately when her once-promising athletic career took a turn. She began developing a wide range of symptoms—small injuries, frequent colds, dark moods. And after a brief period of time when she was running faster, her training and racing began to suffer, too.
As she explains on this week’s episode, it took some time, some bravery, and a blog post by another athlete that echoed Pippa’s experiences before she got to the bottom of the issue. She had relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S), a condition in which her caloric intake wasn’t sufficient to support both her training and her body’s other essential functions.
Eventually, Pippa recovered. Now, she’s the founder and director of Project RED-S, an organization that aims to provide the resources she didn’t have when she was solving her own puzzle. “Thankfully, this is an issue we can prevent and we can recover from,” she says. “I think not enough people are sharing those messages.”
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