Part 2 of a 3 part series: “Creating Social Change in the Sport World”  Episode 2:  Power of Writing– Diet culture messages pervade all media- from advertisements, to magazines, to Instagram and TikTok. It’s no exception in the sport world- harmful, antiquated messages pop up everywhere that perpetuate disordered eating and body image distress. These harmful messages promote a particular athlete body ideal, overemphasizing the connection between weight and performance. Elizabeth Carey, author, writer and running coach, is determined to change the narrative in media and is taking meaningful action. As a journalist and author, she uses her experience in the sport of distance running, along with her talent and opportunities, to boldly combat the destructive myths that public forums of media serve us. Listen in as Kara Bazzi, Opal co-founder and Clinical Director, talks with Elizabeth about the power of writing to create necessary change. You will leave feeling inspired by hope in the “turning of the needle” that is happening in media, along with considering a personal invitation to use writing as a tool for individual change and healing.

To learn more about Elizabeth Carey’s work:

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Thank you to our team…

Editing by David Bazzi

Music by Aaron Davidson:

Episode Transcript:

Kara 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the appetite, a podcast brought to you by Opel food and body wisdom. The appetite is about all things food, body movement and mental health. I’m Kara Bazi, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co founder and clinical director of Opal, and also the head of the Exercise and Sport program. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Elizabeth Currie, who is an author, a running coach and a speaker. And I met Elizabeth back in about 2017, at the female athlete conference in Boston. And since then, I’ve had the pleasure of having our paths crossed numerous times as we’re similarly passionate about the sport world. I’m especially struck by Elizabeth’s fortitude and standing up to the status quo again and again, and looking for opportunities to make change. So Elizabeth, I’d love to just start with having you share a bit with our listeners about your story and kind of how you got yourself to where you are today, where you’re writing about things such as red s and periods, and mental health issues. So yeah, I’d love a little bit about your background.

Elizabeth 1:12
Yeah. So I think my journey as a writer specifically started when I was really young, writing and running, both have these like parallel themes and presence in my life where they started back in the day and elementary and middle and high school, but then have just run through my life. And they’ve been there as practices been there as tools, been there as fun things as competitive things. And they’ve both evolved as those tools and practices in my life, but they have now converged in become my career. And I think there’s lots of different things that led me to where I am right now. And I can look back at each intersection in my life to see kind of what pointed me into this direction to being right here right now. And I’m so grateful for that, because it’s not something I could have planned out or would have answered in a job interview as my five or 10 year plan. And so I think it’s really exciting to, to not really understand how I got here to look back and see that but I started running as a high school athlete competitively, and I ran division one cross country and track at Columbia University. And all throughout that time, I really started to get practice in coaching, running as well. I was super passionate. As an athlete, I loved the sport so much, but realized there were things that didn’t feel right about it. There were things that other mentors and role models in my life like melody, Fairchild, who I wrote, girls running the book with, we were all intuiting, that there is something amiss in the world of sport, specifically long distance running. But then when you looked outside of our niche, there were there were things going on that were symptomatic of broader issues, and it just didn’t sit right with me. And so luckily, I’ve been able to combine those three practices of coaching, writing and running. And they all serve each other and help balance each other and inform what I do. But at this moment in my life, I feel incredibly lucky. and privileged to be in a position where I am choosing what I want to write about, especially publicly. And I feel like I’m not writing about anything that might not move the needle. Right? I think when you have a career or are trying to become a professional in something like writing, you often have to take assignments when you’re starting, that are just going to help you pay the bills. And I’ve done my fate fair share of that work, some stories that I totally regret, right, that are feeding into diet culture, feeding into the thin ideal, but I’m at a place now where I can’t afford to do that. And so it feels like each each story that I write the book that I wrote with Melody, each column is very purposeful, because I want to help move the needle and change sport for the better.

Kara 4:19
Well, and that’s, for me, that’s very evident in reading the stuff that you’ve written the articles your book, that stood out to me as something that you are dogged about of continuing to work against ICT culture to not say maybe the more comfortable content and I just felt more curious about that, as you’re mentioning, you have the privilege now to do that. And so what did that take? What did what does that mean that you have the privilege now to do that? What did what did that entail to get to the place that you are where you can speak from the heart and, and and speak according to your values?

Elizabeth 4:55
I think there’s a lot of factors. The biggest one is luck and just medics white, which is a considerable privilege, able bodied sis and a hetero relationship, like the deck was stacked in my favor in so many different ways. And I’m lucky right now, my partner, his job is the one that pays our mortgage. And so we’ve had lots of conversations about what exactly I could be doing with my time. And I’m so grateful that he supports me in this mission to try and make a difference, or try and only choose things say yes to things that are perhaps uncomfortable or are perhaps needing to be said. And so you know, there’s a lot of factors, but I attribute that like, just luck and gifts that I was given, like, that’s a considerable reason that I have this privilege and freedom to be able to choose my work like that. Because writing is a hard profession. And it’s like, there’s a lot of gatekeeping around writing. Same with coaching. And if you want to be a full time coach and have it be something that pays your bills, and same with writing, it’s a grind. And I’ve put in a lot of work, yes, but I’ve also been extremely lucky had the right connections been in the right place at the right time. And one example of that is that I was at a coaching conference in 2019. And Doug binder, the editor at DICE stat was there. And I remember him being a sports writer and writing about running when I was in high school at Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon, in the early 2000s. And he was there and he heard what I was talking about. And he’s like, we want to cover this, what if you cover these issues, and we basically decided that I would have this column called running issues where I would specifically choose out the hard stuff, the taboo topics. And so he helped open this door for me there. So I have this bimonthly or monthly column there, where I have this platform where we get to choose that. So that’s just one example of of someone going to bat for me and me being in the right place at the right time, and being able to try and seize that opportunity. But I think also, especially when you’re talking about things that make other people uncomfortable, or make you uncomfortable, make me uncomfortable. That took a lot of work. And it was really instrumental in my recovery from eating disorder issues. And so I’ve journaled my whole life. And so there’s this public sphere of writing, and there’s also the private sphere. And that private sphere can be incredibly healing, it’s an incredibly safe space can shred it, you can burn it, you can hide it, you can recycle it, I save all my journals, I was able to do that, because I’m an only child. But I think that was a safe space for me to explore some of the hardest, darkest, most uncomfortable things that that I’ve dealt with in my life. And then a while ago, I went to Lauren Fleshman running and writing retreat, Wilder running. And my goal there was just trying to find my voice again, because I knew that I had all these scribbles and these thoughts, but I didn’t really know what to do with them. And at that point, I wasn’t necessarily writing the way that I am now, publicly. And then that retreat, I mean, it was like, I think three or four days, but that time and space to really listen and think and just sit with the words helped me find my voice again, and helped me just feel like I could tell more of my story. And that started with talking about disordered eating and compulsive exercise and body image issues. And that helped me kind of kickstart this, this phase of my profession, I suppose.

Kara 8:49
That’s really that’s really cool to hear. And really, I think, a relatable process around how much do we expose ourselves to others, right for all of the suffering that we we might experience as individuals, then what do we do with that? And what how do we put that out into the world through our relationships? And then even you what you’ve done, where there’s this public forum of writing to? How do you like, I guess I feel curious about that process of making those decisions of when your writing goes from private to public.

Elizabeth 9:22
That’s a great topic. And I think there’s something inexplicable where I just feel the urge to maybe it’s like, you know, writers have talked or artists and creators have talked about music. Sometimes I just can’t stop it. It’s like a wave or a tide and it just feels like I need to say it. And again, I have the privilege of being able to find space and just saying it because I know a lot of people don’t feel welcome in public spheres to talk about those things or feel dismissed just just feel marginalized. And the ridiculous irony is that I felt like at first that my story or my struggles didn’t matter, because it didn’t meet the dominant narrative of the quote unquote, starving long distance runner. Right. And we know that there’s so many misconceptions about those narratives about those stories about body size and shape and sickness and illness. But that narrative that had been told up until that point, I think it’s changing, obviously. But that prevented me from feeling comfortable telling my story, or even feeling like entitled to my own story, like, I felt like it was wrong, I felt like it wasn’t valid, because I didn’t have like a distinct diagnosis code that fit, you know, the criteria. So but then there comes a point in my life where I just can’t hold it in anymore. And oftentimes, I don’t know what’s coming next in my public writing, I just keep producing words, and then sometimes something stands out. And I’m just gonna say it. Luckily, I have the platform and space and privilege where I can just put it out there. But it’s something I’m trying to be more thoughtful of. Because with my current position in life, I feel like everything doesn’t need to be out there. So you know, for example, like on Instagram, I think in 2021, I posted like six times, because I was watching and listening. And I didn’t, I didn’t feel then that urge to put something out there.

Kara 11:39
Yeah, I actually, that’s funny, because I didn’t post hardly anything into 2021, either. A lot of taking it and listening. And I think similarly, when I did, it was coming from like a heart racing or I felt like it was coming out. And you know, when you mentioned that, Elizabeth, I also think about something that struck me about you is your boldness, and talking about these topics in your life experience without sort of having you know, the degree in dietetics, or having your education in mental health therapy. And yet, each time I hear you speak or see your writing, there’s, there’s so much that you there’s so much good things that you have to put out into the world. And I don’t know, I’ve been curious about that of what your internal process has been around that as well of feeling like you can speak on these topics and take up space in the writing world and in prison to in presentations. Without having those educational experiences. I think that’s really significant.

Elizabeth 12:41
I think it’s a slippery slope that people can go down. And every time I give a presentation, I say, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a dietitian, I’m not an endocrinologist. And I give that disclaimer, but those are the folks like you and others in this space that I’ve interviewed and gleaned information from. And so I’ve done a lot of research and learned a lot in my own personal journey. And so I feel like thanks to those interviews, thanks to the studies, thanks to the female athlete conference, chats with coaches, I’ve been able to glean this information that then can be shared. And I think that’s a very important and serious role that a writer or a reporter has when you’re retelling and re sharing information that people gave to you. But I think I don’t try to be the expert, I’m acutely aware that I am not the expert. And so I kind of see myself as like a co leader or collaborator or sharer of information. Because we know that we all have our own niches all have our own blind spots. And there are people who specialize in these things. And I don’t need to specialize in that to sit down and have an interview and share their information. Or to even like, especially in my column, my editor often pushes me to because a column is a piece of opinion, right? And so there’s so many different types of public writing. And I went to journalism school. So like I have you mentioned, you know, I don’t have an RD I don’t have all of that Well, like I majored in Urban Studies and Political Science at Columbia. And then I took several years off and then got my Master’s in journalism at Syracuse University. And so, you know, like you said, those are not those distinct letters behind my name that make me an expert in the fields that I’m talking about. But I think as like in the world of journalism, you have that risk, that responsibility of reflecting those facts back of verifying a fact checking, and then in my column And I think this is an interesting point that, I think, in the public sphere, sometimes media literacy is lacking. It’s we don’t oftentimes as writers explain exactly what is what. And so like the column, that’s a space where I share my opinion and my perspective. And so it might not always be, it can be dangerous, because it’s not necessarily apparent that I have done the research, I’m summing up, I am coming to a conclusion based on the things that I’ve heard. And so it’s a special type of writing because I can have a distinct perspective and take a stance, which is different than say, like reporting a news article. And there’s so many, so much powerful, investigative journalism that’s happening right now, that’s helping to uncover the ills of the sporting world, in the safe sport realm, in abusive and emotional coaching in so many different spaces. And so I feel so grateful that I can kind of lean on or point to the reporters that are doing that work, and use that body of evidence to kind of form this distinct POV that I have and share my column.

Kara 16:06
So as a layperson, I don’t know a lot of this stuff that you’re talking about is so interesting to me. But as a layperson, how do you how do you encourage people to navigate that world of what, what they are taking the media that they’re consuming? And recognizing what is, you know, what’s been done is due diligence in terms of the investigative aspect of it, especially with opinion piece, pieces, huge,

Elizabeth 16:28
and I think there’s the responsibility of journalistic outlets to explain that, and they don’t always do that. So on my column, we just call it the running issues column. And I think we kind of assume that people know what a column is, but I’m seeing maybe we should label it. We could all I think news outlets could do a way better job of explaining the difference between a straight up news piece report IV piece, and the opinion. Another example of that is I wrote a piece about melody, Fairchild and just the ills of cross country and track in the New York Times, and that’s in there, it was there, like op ed department. But an op ed sometimes is Miss confused with just an opinion piece. So that’s another example of a straight like, opinion piece. But good. And this is where I’m putting my own value judgment on it, good opinion writers. Ethical opinion writers will share facts and report out those pieces. But you can’t always count on on that. And I think when it comes to where we’re getting our information, it’s important to look at the about us page, right? What is k UOW? Okay, it’s an independent nonprofit that has journalists on its on its staff. Okay, that’s our local radio station here in Seattle for people elsewhere. But you can tell that they are adhering to journalistic ethics, do they have a code of conduct on their site? Are they clearly labeling what their content is? And I think if you’re reading a story, and people are citing the sources of information, that’s a great sign. I was reading a piece the other day, and someone said, one study says, and that’s all mentioned. And I said, So what study is that. And sometimes, like, for example, my editor, my editors, like at women’s running or other places that I write for, because I’m a freelancer, and I write in different running outlets, they might take out the link or the citation that I put in, but most of the time, we’re trying to point back to the specific source of information. And so that’s something to watch for, as well. But in our book girls running, I was really fighting for having more citations and fighting for including the source of information, but we just ran out of space. And so sometimes you have to truncate it. And so I think, as varied as writers are, it’s our duty to kind of explain to our audience, like, what this is where the information came from. And there’s lots of different news literacy and media literacy sites out there with some resources that can help people discern that but I think, in this era, specifically, there’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation. And it’s overwhelming. You see a post on Instagram, and you’re like, Wait, where did that come from?

Kara 19:30
And when you were talking about the topics that you care about, and that you write about often, what do you see particularly within the subjects where you’re seeing misinformation or good information? How would you Yeah, say more about that? So I think and you tell the listeners what you write if you could expand on what you write about. Yeah,

Elizabeth 19:49
so some of my main topics I write about include hormones for female athletes, including talking about periods and puberty. I talk about mental health for Athletes, food and body issues, including eating disorders and sport specific ideals and cultural ideals around those topics. And the most frustrating thing as someone who’s trying to help evolve the narrative about those topics, is seeing other stories, where writers or sources, repeat age old information just because they’ve heard it before. And I hear that when I’m talking to coaches, I hear that when I’m talking to parents, I hear that almost everywhere, whether these assumptions that we make that thinner is faster, that losing a period is a good sign for someone who demonstrates and is an athlete competing, that once someone hits puberty, they are running career is going down the tubes, I still hear these things, and they’re blatantly false. And just repeating them doesn’t make them true. And the most important work that we’re seeing, like in the world of research and talking to the sources that I’m talking to, is that we have evidence that these ideas, these antiquated myths about bodies in sport, are mistaken or wrong, or harmful. And yet people hold on to them because they still believe it. They’re not ready to change. And so when coaches, just this summer, there was a prominent coach that was saying, Well, I don’t think girls can run fast without losing their periods. And it’s like, well, just because you think it doesn’t make it true. We have lots of evidence to the contrary. Now we know about relative energy deficiency in sport, we know about low energy availability, we understand that we have been training specifically girls under a method that doesn’t serve them. And it’s time we change that, but people just need to open their minds and need to stop repeating these things that are patently false.

Kara 22:12
Yeah, yes, yes. And yes, it’s, we’re recording this just march 1. And February was National Eating Disorders Awareness Month. And so in my inbox, I was getting kind of the articles, I get the articles around eating disorder and sport, and noticed an uptick because of National Eating Disorders Awareness Month, and appreciative of some of the articles coming through that I thought were putting out the, you know, good information, accurate information. But even within those articles, the advertisements embedded in every single one of those articles had a weight loss advertisement, or something in complete opposition to the article, which I don’t understand the world of advertisement. I did the irony of each of these articles, again, in an attempt to actually communicate accurate information about red S, about these things we know that are that are based in science and research were felt, you know, sprinkled with all these, these terrible advertisements.

Elizabeth 23:14
It’s a, it’s a landmine, and it’s just like the spiral. It’s so frustrating. You put out a piece, like I wrote a piece for women’s running about what eating disorder recovery looks like for athletes and runners. And I had been pitching that piece for years. And I finally got to write it. And it was great. But then yes, like you see it pop up on Twitter. And next to it is an ad for some giant diet company. And it just breaks my heart because oftentimes, you feel like you’re sticking your finger in a dam and trying to stop this tide. But the good news is that there’s people putting helpful information out there in every niche and area of the world. And I think we’re finding each other more. And pushing back against those narratives. I’m like, extremely excited and hopeful about the world of collegiate athletics. I’ve been interviewing a lot of collegiate athletes about their negative experiences, but they’re not standing for it anymore. And so and they’ve been using, you know, who’s been doing a great job of covering these issues as student newspapers, they are crushing it in talking about abusive coaching tactics, and calling out people in powerful positions that otherwise aren’t held to account. And that gives me so much hope so even though I see the diet culture everywhere, even though especially in running that whole weight loss theme is so deeply embedded. I’m seeing little pieces of hope around

Kara 24:51
sure i I was gonna say to for let’s see, I graduated in 2001 from U DUB in my running career there. And I was say so 20 years and this 20 years, I’ve seen such an increase in media and articles and books and information about red s about it lots of articles in that thread of changing the culture probably in the last two or three years is where the uptake I’ve really seen. And it has given me a lot of hope that there is just more and more information getting pushed out. I also just feel curious. I’m not huge on on Instagram and social media. But is that something that you pay attention to as well, but I’m curious what differences you’ve seen in that regard of, of athletes speaking up, and, and people just like you’re saying they’re not there. They’re not they’re taking stands in ways that they haven’t before?

Elizabeth 25:45
Yeah, social media, especially Twitter, and Instagram, is providing a lever for collegiate athletes to pull that I didn’t have, I think we got Facebook. At Columbia, we were like one of the first schools because I graduated in 2006. And so we didn’t have that. And so if the traditional recourses of trying to make change, like going to administration or having a conversation, sitting down with your coach talking to the trainer, talking to your ad, or your title nine coordinator, if that’s not going anywhere, these athletes are going online. And a lot of that news has really broken on social media, which is powerful, and helps get the word out. And I feel like they’re finding ways to, to call out things that are wrong or harmful using social media. But social media is such a double edged sword. There’s a lot of research that has come out recently that on Tiktok, on Instagram, the algorithm is feeding such dangerous content to young people. And adults, let’s be real, I have had to take multiple breaks off of social media because of the crap that’s on there. Even Strava. I’m not, I’m not updating anything on Strava anymore.

Kara 27:08
Can you tell the listeners what Strava is? In case they don’t?

Elizabeth 27:10
Yeah, so Strava is basically a social network for athletes. And you can upload your exercise and activities on there. So it’s big with runners, ultra runners, cyclists and whatnot. You can update pretty much like any sort of exercise that you’ve done and post pictures and data, you share your GPS data. And when I got on there, specifically in during the pandemic, I was just feeling I just noticed these feelings of comparison of FOMO of judgment to out there because there’s some times when the trails were closed, but people were on them. And I was simultaneously jealous and pissed off. And I was like, this is not helping me in any way, shape, or form. Like, I’m so grateful that GPS watches weren’t around or lightweight and comfortable when I was in high school in college, because I think that would have completely changed my experience. And I’m an assistant coach at Garfield high school, and I want to take the kids phones away, I want to take their GPS is away because I want them to have freedom from that crap. Their times are everywhere online. They’re looking they know about all their competitors with their competitors pace was for a tempo run. And I just made me it makes me super old school and old. But how does that serve us? You know, sometimes it’s helpful. As a coach, I find the encouragement can be nice, but we have to pay attention to and I try and have the athletes pay attention to how it makes them feel. And if it’s not serving them, you gotta get off of it. But the trouble with the tricky algorithms on Tiktok and Instagram Multiple studies have shown recently is that it’s targeting susceptible users, and just pulling them further down the cesspool of bad information because there’s a lot of it out there, whether it’s like pro anorexic accounts. It’s just disgusting and heartbreaking. And even though I think it’s technically illegal, there have been some pushes to try and get the social media sites to clean it up. They’re not and so that’s just a big trap.

Kara 29:12
Would you have any like advice in that for for listeners around their use of social media?

Elizabeth 29:19
I say limited Melody and I include some tips in our book about it and one especially for specifically high school athletes, and I think this has helped me to setting time limits. And then Maria del Zott rd and professional mountain runner has such a great idea. She’s like you want to detox something, detox your social media feed. Go through and unfollow people that don’t make you feel good. Make you start to compare your body or yourself to others and diversify your feed like scroll through your feed and see is it all the same types of humans? Like add some animals, add some comedian Add some nature, add some comics, whatever try and find ways to get out of that cesspool spiral that it can take you down.

Kara 30:10
I was also noticing, not I don’t know who I was talking about this the other day with, but we were looking at somebody’s a couple of different different different accounts and just noticing a lot of the pattern around people posting pictures about what they’re eating. And that, again, I don’t use Instagram or Facebook that much. So I don’t have a lot of personal experience with it. But I noticed myself just who I imagine that those kinds of accounts are, like a lot of people are following them. But again, I just think it’s such a challenging information to interact with, because you’re getting this little snapshot into somebody’s life, you’re not getting a real picture of how they’re eating throughout the day, and then just how it’s just fraught with comparison, and just all sorts of thoughts and feelings about it.

Elizabeth 31:01
Yeah, and it’s, I think it’s, it’s dangerous, specifically, like you said, just because it’s a snapshot, it’s not the whole picture. But it’s also addictive, like, I will find myself even still, it’s been better than last year at clicking on those flipping articles that say what so and so eats in a day, I have zero interest that doesn’t serve me at all. And yet, it’s so tantalizing to just click it. And by clicking it, I’m feeding into that feedback loop of making it more popular. And that’s why that content continues to exist and be put out there is because it gets a lot of clicks and eyeballs. It’s addictive, especially for people that struggle with with eating or body image. So it’s a trap. And that’s kind of like I was saying before, it’s some of the stuff that I’ve written in the past wasn’t helpful. But it’s popular. Like we know that the weight loss industry and diet culture is a multibillion dollar industry, and people are profiting off of our insecurities profiting off of us feeling crappy, in so many different realms.

Kara 32:13
Yeah, Elizabeth, I also feel it curious if of what you would say to what you think is not being written about enough. I know, you mentioned the hopefulness of the recent changes, but what would you like to see more writers writing about or more promoted on social media sites?

Elizabeth 32:32
It’s a great question. And unfortunately, I feel like a lot of what we’re talking about still needs to keep being written. So we need to continue to keep the pressure up on about talking about eating disorders, talking about red s talking about low energy availability, just to keep awareness and education up. Because we know that there still are, I’m guessing anecdotally, from my conversations with coaches and looking around and even some studies that show awareness is still lacking tremendously. So we need more of the same. But what I really want to see is more solutions based journalism, I want to hear about the next steps. And that’s why I was pitching the story to women’s running about eating disorder recovery. Because until I that one day, I interviewed you for my book, I didn’t really believe that full recovery was possible. No one had told me that wasn’t talked about. It was all about there’s this bad thing that happens. There’s this bad thing that trends among say, distance runners, which is still a narrow piece of the narrative, but let’s just look at that little slice. And then you should get help, or else and there was nothing else. There’s no hope. And it was like, Do you like that was kind of sold to me as one in in treatment at Columbia. That was one impetus or like motivation, that the providers in that space were using to try and prod me to take care of myself was, don’t you want to be able to run when you’re older, or this threat of if you don’t take care of your body, you’re gonna have broken bones, if you don’t take care of your body, you’re not going to be able to have kids. And those are scare tactics, which are valid, but also not helpful in showing folks specifically what next step looks like, and showing people what recovery looks like. And so I want to see more of that solutions based journalism of what are the next steps what happens after a coach is called out in a program is remade what happens after someone transfers. And I’m hoping to work on some of this with some of these athletes who have left toxic quote unquote, loaded word, toxic culture and toxic programs in the collegiate space. They go to another program and they are supported. They are healthy. And they’re PRN. And so I want to talk on here and read more about that the positive side, the Positive Coaching, if we just get bogged down in the negative stuff that’s happening, which is so important to talk about, but then we get stuck. And I feel like we’re stuck there. So I want to hear what’s next for folks. And it’s messy, it’s not clear. Often, it’s not like a there’s not a clear delineation between that like, before times, and the after times, and the bad times and the good times, right. So I think it’s, it’s less convenient writing, it’s less convenient things to share, but it’s sharing the process, and hopefully inviting and encouraging other people into that fold. And then simultaneously, I’ve been doing some work with a running industry diversity Coalition, which is an awesome nonprofit group, Alison decir. And a couple other folks are on the board there. And we have formed a media subgroup within our IDC. And so we’ve been talking about how media and content in the running space really has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to equity inclusion, and and telling stories of folks who’ve been historically marginalized and excluded from those stories. So I want to see more stories about people that aren’t than white females, I want to see more stories and hear more voices. Latoya Snell had a post on Instagram recently during the Eating Disorder Awareness Month. And she was talking about how she felt historically excluded from talking about her eating disorder, because she didn’t fit the mold. And, you know, I think I want to hear more stories like that, of course, that puts burden on on folks, I don’t want to ask people that are already doing a lot of work to do more work. But I think the gatekeepers in writing, the gatekeepers in running media could do a lot more to open up the doors and, and make the content more inclusive, and honestly, more valuable. And interestingly,

Kara 37:08
I couldn’t agree more. I also think that one of the projects that both Elizabeth and I have been involved in is with wildewood running. And what I like about what they’re doing is that they are to Elizabeth’s point and about kind of focusing on the problem and not giving enough solutions. I just appreciate them as seeing a gap that they had discovered in their, you know, in their coaching circles, and then doing something about that and taking action and creating this amazing community that they have to educate and empower young athletes and their coaches. And so I think, you know, I don’t again, I’m naive when it comes to journalism and writing. But it seems like a lot of the stories are still there’s still a lot of interest in again, that sensationalism are really talking about the problem, because people are curious about the problem. And so that gets maybe a lot of interest. But that doesn’t help us. You know, that’s not the only step and helping for further along in changing the way that we we do things.

Elizabeth 38:11
Yeah, I think there are a lot of people that are doing this work, but we maybe we’re just not hearing about it. So like I think of, you know, the work that melody Fairchild has been doing with young runners for decades, she’s just was quiet about it before we wrote our book, you know, she had her own camp, and she has her own coaching groups. But there are so many athletes that she’s mentored and helped them through these really tough times. So it’s not that those stories don’t exist, right. And with running into industry diversity coalition, we’re finding the stories that ought to be told there are so many different people that should be on the cover of these magazines that have yet to be, there’s no shortage of inspiration. There’s no shortage of material. We just need to find it and the gatekeepers, and other folks need to be more receptive to to that.

Kara 39:03
And I also wonder what advice you’d give people that outside of kind of the external barriers or the gatekeeping? What about advice for somebody who is struggling to think that they can put that information out there doesn’t have the confidence or it feels like their story’s not worthwhile? Do you have anything you’d say to that person?

Elizabeth 39:24
Your story is valid. I’ve never interviewed someone or talk to someone who’s storied, and it moved me in some way. We all have valuable experiences to share. And so I hope that you can just practice putting it out there and find people who will amplify or listen to what you have to say, because literally every person’s story is valuable.

Kara 39:54
Thank you. That’s I think that’s really important to hear. Is there anything else that we’re missing that you want to share? Are with the listeners before we wrap this up,

Elizabeth 40:03
I appreciate that question. And I think I appreciate this time to be able to talk about these things. And I think I would just encourage folks to share their voice and explore their own stories. However, they feel comfortable doing that, whether that’s in a journal that they burn, or on a blog, or by pitching me a story. And if folks want to reach out to me, I’m always available and love to hear stories that need to be told. And anytime I can help with that I like to, so they can reach out to me on my website, which is Elizabeth W. There’s a contact form there. And I’m also on social media at Elizabeth W. Carey, as well. So anytime I can help amplify or explore something that needs to be talked about, I’m happy to.

Kara 40:55
I also just love the highlight of the medium of writing. You know, I think there’s so many ways to heal in our journey, so many ways to move through these struggles. And you know, it’s not just a one size fits all, in terms of receiving treatment even I mean, I think I’ve seen it at through the context of Opal, the power of art, the power of movement, the power of writing as a way to make change. And so if if something is even stirring within you and listening to this episode around around writing and getting your voice out there through that medium, I would, I would just encourage you to listen to that and maybe take one small step that feels realistic and listen to that, that voice but then, so thank you, Elizabeth, for being here today. And I just again, I’m so grateful to know you and to support the work that you’re doing as well and I just I love being in community with you.

Elizabeth 41:53
Thank you likewise.

Kara 41:56
For more information about Opal please visit us at people food and thank you to Aaron Davidson for the appetites original music and to David Bazi editing. See you next time.

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