Question of the Day

Hello! I’m a collegiate rower currently at a D3 school. Recently I’ve noticed that my team’s top coxswain has seemed to have lost a lot of weight in the past few months. By this, I mean she seems to have lost 10 to 15lbs, which is a lot considering she’s 5’4″ and wasn’t over the 110lb minimum by more than 7 or 8lbs last season. I don’t believe she eats very often but when I do see her eat she doesn’t seem to have an eating disorder. I’m not sure whether or not I should be concerned about her weight loss and if I should bring it up with someone?

I’ve gone back and forth on this numerous times but I’m sticking with my initial response, which is “no”. From your vantage point I can see why it might be concerning to see her losing weight when it seems like she doesn’t need to but without knowing her motives all you’re doing is speculating, which isn’t fair even though it’s coming from a good place.

Assuming “a few months” is something like three or four, losing 10lbs in that timeframe isn’t unhealthy by conventional standards. Losing 10lbs in two months isn’t usually considered unhealthy. 5’4″ and 105ish (give or take) describes a lot, if not the majority, of the female coxswains (who are coxing women) that I personally know. One of my friends in college was around that height (I think she’s 5’3″) and weighed 118lbs our freshman year. She made some pretty basic changes to her diet that summer and came back the fall of our sophomore year weighing 106 having put the most minimal amount of effort into losing weight before leveling off around 109ish over the next few months. I know all that is anecdotal and not applicable to everyone but my point is that I wouldn’t immediately jump to her losing weight as being a negative thing.

Unless you have actual cause for concern beyond it just “seeming” like she’s lost weight, I don’t think it’d be appropriate to say anything (to her or anyone else). I’m not trying to be dismissive of what you’re saying but having been on the receiving end of numerous comments and conversations (both to my face and behind my back) about my weight, my exercise habits, what I eat, when I eat, how much I eat, etc., it just feels like an invasion of privacy whenever it gets brought up, especially since I’ve never given anyone a reason to think I’m doing something unhealthy. It also gets exhausting having to constantly defend yourself against people who think you should weigh more, eat more, or whatever else despite you being at a healthy weight. Bottom line, it’s none of your business.

This is a really slippery slope, as most weight-related situations are, and there’s no clear cut way for how to approach it. If it gets to a point where the situation is clearly unhealthy by all common sense standards (not just your own personal ones but actual medical standards) then yea, bring it up with your coach and let them approach it with her. I think you’re a good friend for asking this question in the first place but ultimately I think your concern might just be coming from the fact that seeing her 10lbs lighter is new vs. it being an actual issue.

Anyone else – thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “Question of the Day

  1. Megan says:

    Over a few months, I wouldn’t be too concerned with 10 or 15 lbs of weight loss. That’s really not extreme, even for someone her size. Someone that size can lose 1 to 2 lbs a week and still be fine, if they’re doing it right.

    You should also trust your coaches. I think most coaches are concerned about their coxswains weight and how they’re losing it. If it seems like it’s becoming an actual issue, the coaches should step in to see what’s happening.

    I lost 13 lbs in the span of 4 months. It looked like a lot because I went down from 115 lbs to 102 lbs, but the only concern for anyone was now I had to be sandbagged. I ate with the rowers for most of my meals so they knew I was eating and it’s not like I wore heavy sweats while running. I just made a shift in my life style, eating a little less (unless it was pasta, then it was game over) and getting heavily into running.

    You can’t simply look at weight loss and determine if it’s good or bad. You have to take in outside factors as well, such as how they are losing weight, what’s going on in their life, what’s their mental state.

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