44 | The Importance of a Healthy Mind with Ryan Duff

It’s more common than you think to find patterns of eating disorders in athletes.

When your main focus is on the performance of your body, you start finding flaws where other people probably wouldn’t.

You search for every single thing you can control about your performance, and it soon turns into unhealthy behavior.

On this week’s episode of The Body Confidence Podcast, I have my very best friend, Ryan Duff, here to talk about his struggle with binge eating.

He’s a medical student at The University of Minnesota, a multiple marathon finisher (qualified for the Boston marathon), and speaks fluent Italian.

So there’s no shortage of talent or ability in his life.

But how can someone so ambitious and driven struggle with negative body image?

It’s very common.

Body image issues effect people in all walks of life.

There’s no poster child for body shame and self criticism.

You never know who in your life is facing this internal struggle.

Ryan is one of my closest friends and I had no idea until he recently shared his experience on his blog, Unleash the Duff.

This episode explores the mindset practices you can use to develop a healthier relationship with food, your body, and your identity.

Signs of Eating Disorders in Athletes

  • Constantly thinking about your next meal.
  • Frequent “weigh ins” to track your progress.
  • Keeping track of your caloric intake to a point where you’re including things like gum, small snacks, or mints.
  • Avoiding spending time with good friends or family.
  • Comparing your body to Olympians, professional athletes, and other sports figures.
  • Always feeling hungry, even after you finish a meal.
  • Compulsively eating without being aware of how much you’re eating.


How to Practice Mindfulness & Gratitude

  • Separate yourself from your thoughts. You are not your compulsion to eat, it’s just a thought. Tell yourself, “this is an interesting thought I’m having, but it doesn’t define who I am.”
  • Slow down before you eat. Ask yourself, “why do I feel like I need this food right now?” or “what am I really trying to get by eating this?”
  • Use a meditation app to train yourself how to handle thoughts. Ryan and I both use Headspace to meditate. You can get a free trial and test it out.
  • Write down things you’re thankful for each day. Keep a running list of them and read through them when you’re feeling hopeless.
  • Write a body confidence affirmation using my Thoughts That Uplift guide. Practice saying it to yourself, out loud, a few times a day in the mirror.


May 22, 2018


Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.

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