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- Characteristic of Ruby Schleicher, body image issues, Collingwood Magpies star, AFL Women’s, women’s sport
Characteristic of Ruby Schleicher, body image issues, Collingwood Magpies star, AFL Women’s, women’s sport
Dual All Australian and Collingwood defensive stalwart Ruby Schleicher spoke to Fox Sports about her personal battle with body image and how it inspired her to mentor teammates and young girls inside and out. outside of the AFLW system.
The 24-year-old has revealed that it wasn’t until she became a professional athlete that she started having a bad relationship with food and began purging herself to speed up weight loss .
“I was too heavy when I started playing football…I hated the way I looked because I didn’t look like any of the other girls around me and that’s when I started having problems with my body. body image,” she said.
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“For me to lose weight I started counting calories and it’s a deep black hole to go down. I was eating 1700 calories a day which is ridiculous for someone who works out every day, but I lost five pounds really fast…and I thought it was working for me…and then I got hurt.
According to the 2017 Mission Australia Youth Survey report, Ruby is not alone. Body image ranks among the top three concerns of young Australians, alongside stress and school problems.
Coping with these pressures can cause even the fittest athletes to develop negative perceptions of their bodies and emotional distress in the form of anxiety and depression.
This leaves athletes at higher risk for developing eating disorders and other problems, such as compulsive exercise and training. This in turn can lead to burnout and injury.
“Even though it was the skinniest I’ve ever seen, in my head I was fighting demons…and I started hurting myself. It took me a long time to learn that strength is female” , she said.
“I’m surrounded by very small women – my best friend, my sisters… even my mother is this beautiful little unit with an eight-pack where I’m built like my father and brother.
“I had to learn not to compare myself to anyone and realize that athletes can be strong, fit and feminine.”
Psychologist Sarah McMahon, director of the NSW BodyMatters Australasia body image clinic, said this shift in mindset from wanting the body to look good to wanting the body to do good is significant.
She said: “The quintessential difference in sportswomen is that their bodies don’t exist just to look good. We see bodies as capable of more than just being looked at.
Here are some of the messages Ruby has embraced.
“I’ve been in the AFLW system since Pies’ inaugural season in 2017 – and I’ve seen what the pressures of social media and trolling can do. also made me feel like a terrible person,” she said.
“From the outside, you see strong, confident women, but there’s so much perceived pressure, partly from social media and partly from societal expectations of what an attractive woman looks like.
“There are young girls in our team and in the league…and I worry about them too. Some habits are unhealthy and I like to check in and be open about my story so they can learn that it shouldn’t be that way.
“I’ve seen with my own eyes some of the struggles when it was really bad…and I’m lucky I didn’t get to this place because I had support.
“But I think it’s a conversation we all need to have and I don’t think enough people are talking about it.”
Coverage of this year’s AFLW season is part of Kayo’s commitment to women’s sports which features a record number of broadcast hours in September and October.
AFLW ROUND 6 (All hours AEST)
Hawthorn vs West Coast, Friday 6:10 p.m., Skybus Stadium
The West Coast is improving and the Hawks finally got their first win in Round 5. However, their average losing margin through the first four weeks of the season was 36 points. The Eagles will be too good for the young Hawks.
Port Adelaide vs Adelaide, Friday 8.00pm, Adelaide Oval
The first ever AFLW showdown at Adelaide Oval as Erin Phillips takes on her former side the Crows.
Carlton vs. GWS, Saturday 12:10 p.m., Henson Park
Two teams desperate to bounce back from being crushed last week, with the Blues losing by 42 points and the Giants by 96 points.
Western Bulldogs vs Geelong, Saturday 2.10pm, Mars Stadium
Fifth-placed Western Bulldogs take on sixth-placed Geelong with both teams looking to move into the top four.
St Kilda vs Collingwood, Saturday 4.10pm, Moorabbin Oval
Collingwood travel to Moorabbin for the first time on Sunday afternoon, looking to pick up five wins from six games in Season 7.
Richmond vs Gold Coast, Saturday 6:10 p.m., Punt Road
Richmond pulled off the upset of the season by knocking out the undefeated Lions, while the Suns didn’t win an away game all year.
Brisbane vs Essendon, Sunday 1.10pm, Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex
Brisbane will be in turmoil after losing to Richmond last week – and the Bombers are in for a sore afternoon.
Fremantle vs Melbourne, Sunday 3:10 p.m., Fremantle Oval
Fremantle are finally on the board after a three-point victory over the Eagles in the Western Derby, but a reality check for the Demons arrives.
North Melbourne vs Sydney, Sunday 5:10 p.m., Punt Road
The Swans have averaged a 43-point margin of loss in the first four games of the season, with three of those four losses to teams outside the eight – North galloping.